Poem Sampler

Toasts & Celebrations

Poems to celebrate successes, salute loved ones, and offer thanks for life’s blessings, big and small.

Toasts & Celebrations
Flikr photo by Sherri Hall

 

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

                                      Be of good-cheer,
 
my father says, lifting his glass to greet
a morning in which he's awake to be
with the birds: or up all night in the sleep
of the world, alive again, singing.

 

 

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
so hard
God’s love
washes right through you

More Than Enough” by Marge Piercy

                                              Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green,

Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market” by Pablo Neruda

yours 
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.

Originally Published: April 24, 2013

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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