The Most Uplifting Poem I Know

There is no poem that I find fresher, more uplifting and inspirational than this one from Ireland’s Brendan Kennelly whose poetry, voice and smile are legendary.


Begin again to the summoning birds

to the sight at the light at the window,

begin to the roar of morning traffic

all along Pembroke Road.

Every beginning is a promise

born in light and dying in dark

determination and exhaltation of springtime

flowering the way to work.

Begin to the pageant of queuing girls

the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal

bridges linking the past and future

old friends passing through with us still.

Begin to the loneliness that cannot end

since it perhaps is what makes us begin,

begin to wonder at unknown faces

at crying birds in the sudden rain

at branches stark in the willing sunlight

at seagulls foraging for bread

at couples sharing a sunny secret

alone together while making good.

Though we live in a world that dreams of ending

that always seems about to give in

something that will not acknowledge conclusion

insists that we forever begin. 

From: The Essential Brendan Kennelly: Selected Poems (2011) edited by Terence Brown and Michael Longley ( Bloodaxe Books)

What’s your choice for ‘most uplifting poem?’