Poems for Giving Toasts
“Found Letter” by Joshua Weiner
A quiet mind, a strong body, short hours
In the office; close friends who speak the truth;
Good food, cooked simply; a memory that’s rich
“A Toast for Men Yun-Ch’ing” by Tu Fu
We had better empty the wine-cups.
To-morrow, at bright dawn, the world’s business will entangle us.
“Jet” by Tony Hoagland
and it is good, a way of letting life
out of the box, uncapping the bottle
to let the effervescence gush
through the narrow, usually constricted neck.
“Song” by Muriel Rukeyser
To celebrate the waking, wake.
Burn in the daylong light;
“My Triumph” by John Greenleaf Whittier
I feel the earth move sunward,
I join the great march onward
“Cheer” by Stanley Plumly
Poems of Praise and Celebration
“Praise Song for the Day” by Elizabeth Alexander
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.
“won’t you celebrate with me” by Lucille Clifton
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
“Things to Do in New York (City)” by Ted Berrigan
celebrate your own
& everyone else’s birth:
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
“In Celebration of My Uterus” by Anne Sexton
in celebration of the woman I am
let me carry a ten-foot scarf,
let me drum for the nineteen-year-olds,
let me carry bowls for the offering
“In Celebration” by Mark Strand
the only celebration,
that by giving yourself over to nothing,
you shall be healed.
Odes to the Little Things
“In Praise of My Bed” by Meredith Holmes
I close my eyes, hear myself
moan, so grateful to be held this way.
“Hymn to the Comb-Over” by Wesley McNair
Let us praise them
in all of their varieties, some skinny
as the bands of headphones, some rising
“The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog” by Alicia Ostriker
to live and work
washes right through you
“More Than Enough” by Marge Piercy
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green,
“Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market” by Pablo Neruda
was the only shape left
with purpose or direction
“Green Tea” by Dale Ritterbusch
toes pointing, a smile steeped
in ceremony, a celebration,
Seize the Day
“Center” by Josephine Miles
Where we can ponder, celebrate, and reshape
Not only what we are, where we are from,
But what in the risk and moment of our day
We may become.
“Immortal Sails” by Alfred Noyes
Now, in a breath, before we, too, grow old,
We’ll mount and sing and spread immortal sails.
“Odes” by Ricardo Reis
In each thing, be all. Give all you are
In the least you ever do.
“The House of Life: 71. The Choice, I” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Eat thou and drink; to-morrow thou shalt die.
“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.