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Forgiveness is a complex and deeply personal theme, often explored through poetry.
Forgiveness is believed (by some) to lead to inner peace. It’s one of the pillars of human love so they say.
In poetic language, vain past feuds are put to rest through the act of forgiveness. Some of my very own poems related to the theme of forgiveness are included in this post – never before released – so read on!
The Flow Of Peace
As a poet delves into the intricacies of forgiveness, they shed light on the transformative power of forgiving.
Yet this introspective journey can be cathartic, noble work and is a powerful tool for healing.
I, for one, know several people who are so adamant they’ll never forgive those who wronged them that they are, in fact, acting like the exact people who did the hurt in the first place.
My relationship with forgiveness has inspired many poetic verses over the past several years as I attempt to unravel the tangles of resentment and find my own joy of forgiveness, as it were.
I encourage you to read the poems in this post and tune in, seeing what comes up for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop them in the comments if you get a moment.
Thoughts On Forgiveness
- Forgiveness poetry explores the personal and transformative aspects of forgiving in practice.
- Famous poems use various structures to underscore the emotions involved in the act of forgiveness.
- These poems can resonate widely, prompting reflection and investigation into the nature of forgiveness.
Themes of Forgiveness in Poetry
Forgiveness is a recurring theme in poetry, often serving as a powerful conduit for expressing emotions and experiences.
Forgiving someone or something is a long journey, several years in the making sometimes, depending on the hurt caused – and it’s not an easy thing to do for the most part.
Which of the elements of forgiveness do you resonate with below, I wonder?
Personal Growth: When I read poems that deal with forgiveness, I see they frequently connect the act of forgiving to personal growth and self-growth (or self-awareness).
Release of pain: Poems may depict forgiveness as a form of release. I often see lines suggesting that letting go of grudges frees the soul from the weight of past mistakes or a wounded self.
Reconciliation: Some poems focus on the restorative aspects of forgiveness, highlighting the mending of strained relationships or negative emotions.
Emotion as a journey: I’ve observed that poetry captures forgiveness as an emotional journey, with a start and end that often leads to peace, reflection, and a better person.
This is a cycle I see often in poems themed around forgiveness (my own included!)
- Pain: The poets describe the initial pain or betrayal that happened.
- Contemplation: There is contemplation on the act of forgiveness. Will it be done or won’t it?
- Transformation: Finally, there’s the transformative power of forgiving, impacting both the forgiver and the forgiven. Fresh days and warm words abound!
By crafting words that echo the essence of forgiveness, poets enable readers to reflect and empathize with themselves.
This is often what’s needed in the profound human experience of letting go and moving forward, yet it’s unique in each individual life.
Influential Poems About Forgiveness
Poetry has long been a vessel for expressing the sheer complexity of forgiveness.
Why, as a species (aka the entire humanity at large), we hold onto resentment so much, I’ll never know. But we do, and that’s all there is to it.
Yet poetic works often provide profound insights into the human experience of granting and receiving forgiveness and vivid imagery to help the process along.
Historically, poems about forgiveness often reflect their time’s cultural and moral values and/or the nature of the hurt. One notable example is Alexander Pope’s “An Essay on Criticism,” which famously contains the line:
“To err is human; to forgive divine.” This couplet encapsulates that forgiveness is a noble and elevated human act.
Yet another historical poem that speaks to the theme of forgiveness is William Blake’s “A Poison Tree,” which warns against the dangers of harboring anger (and the new hope that forgiveness can bring.)
What do you think about this poem below? Does it resonate with you?
In contemporary poetry, forgiveness is a topic that perhaps offers a lighter mood of wellness.
Maya Angelou’s poem “Human Family” subtly delves into forgiveness by emphasizing our shared imperfections and the importance of understanding each other where we can. (Side note: I highly recommend reading any of her books. They’re incredible.)
Perhaps this verse: “We are more alike, my friends than we are unalike,” is apt for deeper thinking.
It invites readers to see forgiveness as a pathway to acknowledging our collective humanity, embracing all cultures and the various forms of our beautiful, shared world.
Additionally, Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” reminds us of the importance of self-forgiveness in the healing process, encouraging readers to let go of their past mishaps.
Notes to muse over
I’ve read a lot of poetry over the years, but somehow, this poem (which admittedly I wrote) is the best I’ve come across – not necessarily answering any questions but simply allowing room for the pain to be expressed and released.
Who are some of the best poets?
Of course, this is my list, so it’s subjective, but I recommend checking out some of these names out if you do some research:
- Emily Dickinson
- John Greenleaf Whittier
- William Carlos Williams
- David Whyte
- William Butler Yeats
- William Shakespeare
- The Psalms of the bible
- George William Russell
A Different Light
I enjoy poetry simply for its ability to take you away from the senseless noise of your mind – and also away from a screen in that sense.
Whether poetry is THE path of forgiveness – well, that’s not for me to say. After all, forgiveness is a deeply personal theme and is different for everybody.
I truly believe, however, from a mental health and physical health point of view, that poetry offers something special. Something unique. Something cold hands can grab onto when the emotions of darkness try and take their time away.
A close friend
A good wish I have for all people is to tap into thy wisdom (as good ole’ Shakespeare would say) and simply sit with a poetry page and read.
Not be distracted by pings and whistles and bells! Instead, allow the fragrance of feeling something wash over you – which can happen if you read a simulating piece of poetry.
And with that, I’ll end with a poem of mine: