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35 Poems About Survival To Will Yourself Through

by | Dec 7, 2023 | Inspirational | 0 comments

Life has a way of testing us through a myriad of challenges, setbacks, and the harsh reality of coping with death, but it’s in the face of overcoming adversity and through the solace of poems about survival, that we discover our true resilience and strength.

Poetry, with its power to express complex emotions and experiences, can be a steadfast companion on this journey, providing comfort, guidance, and even hope.

We have curated a collection of 35 poems about survival to help you find excerpts that resonate deeply with the human experience, mirroring struggles, yet ultimately inspiring determination and courage.

These selected poems about survival, spanning various eras and styles, serve as a reminder of our inherent capacity to endure, evolve, and even flourish during hard times.

Remember being a survivalist isn’t only about prepping the physical items you need to survive, but having the mental strength and fortitude to push on and thrive during difficult times.

Read on to discover powerful words that will help ignite the survival spirit within us.

An uplifting photo of a group of deer grazing in a field during sunrise.

In This Article

Photo inspiring us to climb to the top and persevere. A man standing at the top of a mountain holding up 1 finger.

35 Poems About Survival

Let’s get inspired and check out these 35 poems about survival to encourage and give you strength during difficult times.

1. Keep Going by Edgar Guest

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

And the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns.

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems

To a faint and faltering man.

Often the struggler has given up when he

Might have captured the victor’s cup,

And he learned too late when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are.

It may be near when it seems afar.

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.

It’s when things seem worst that

You musn’t quit.

Photo of some plants next to a motivational sign that reads, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

2. The Survival by Rudyard Kipling

Securely, after days

Unnumbered, I behold

Kings mourn that promised praise

Their cheating bards foretold.

Of earth-constructing Wars,

Of Princes passed in chains,

Of deeds out-shining stars,

No word or voice remains.

Yet furthest times receive,

And to fresh praise restore,

Mere breath of flutes at eve,

Mere seaweed on the shore.

A smoke of sacrifice;

A chosen myrtle-wreath;

An harlot’s altered eyes;

A rage ‘gainst love or death;

Glazed snow beneath the moon —

The surge of storm-bowed trees–

The Caesars perished soon,

And Rome Herself: But these

Endure while Empires fall

And Gods for Gods make room…

Which greater God than all

Imposed the amazing doom?

A breathtaking photo of trees, lake and mountains instilling a sense of peace.

3. Border Boy by Alberto Rios

I grew up on the border and though I left

I have brought it with me wherever I’ve gone.

Its line guides me, this long, winding thread of memory.

The border wasn’t as big as they say—

It fit neatly behind my eyes and between my ears—

It guides me still, I know, but it is not a compass.

It is not a place out there but a place in here.

I catch on its barbed wire in both places.

It is a line I step over and a ledge I duck under.

I have looked underneath its skirts, and it has caught me—

Many times. We’re old friends and we play the game well.

When someone says border, now, or frontera, or the line.

La línea, or the fence, or whatever else

We name the edge and the end of things—

I hear something missing in the words,

The what it all used to be. Its name does not include its childhood.

I grew up liking the border and its great scar,

Its drama always good for a story the way scars always are.

A scar is the place where the hurting used to be.

A scar the heroic signature of the healed.

The border is not a scar. Instead, it is something we keep picking at,

Something that has no name.

The border I knew was something with a history.

But this thing now, it is a stranger even to itself.

4. Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud;

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

Photo of a woman jogging up steps inspiring us we can do anything.

5. Keep Going by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Is the goal distant, and troubled the road,

And the way long?

And heavy your load?

Then gird up your courage, and say ‘I am strong,’

And keep going.

Is the work weary, and endless the grind

And petty the pay?

Then brace up your mind

And say ‘Something better is coming my way,’

And keep doing.

Is the drink bitter life pours in your cup 

Is the taste gall?

Then smile and look up

And say ‘God is with me whatever befall,’

And keep trusting.

Is the heart heavy with hope long deferred,

And with prayers that seem vain?

Keep saying the word 

And that which you strive for you yet shall attain.

Keep praying.

6. Resolution by Ruby Archer

The waves oppose the cliffs with daily force,

And fall resisted back along their course.

My soul opposes fate with daily will,

And falls resisted back, defeated still,

With gathered strength returning, like the waves,

To wrest complete dominion that it craves.

The cliffs are stone, and stone will wear away.

Spirit shall rule, and fate itself obey.

7. I Will Be Worthy of It by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I may not reach the heights I seek,

My untried strength may fail me;

Or, half-way up the mountain peak,

Fierce tempests may assail me.

But though that place I never gain,

Herein lies comfort for my pain

I will be worthy of it.

I may not triumph in success,

Despite my earnest labor;

I may not grasp results that bless

The efforts of my neighbor;

But though my goal I never see

This thought shall always dwell with me

I will be worthy of it.

The golden glory of Love’s light

May never fall on my way;

My path may always lead through night,

Like some deserted by-way;

But though life’s dearest joy I miss

There lies a nameless strength in this

I will be worthy of it.

Photo of a lake in the valley of a mountainous area on a beautiful sunny day.

8. The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur

Did you hear about the rose that grew

from a crack in the concrete?

Proving nature’s law is wrong it

learned to walk without having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,

it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete

when no one else ever cared.

Photo of a rose growing in a crack in the cement encouraging us that beautiful things can happen in the least expected places.

9. Hope Is The Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson

‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

Inspirational photo of a beautiful; mountain landscape.

10. All You Who Sleep Tonight by Vikram Seth

All you who sleep tonight

Far from the ones you love,

No hand to left or right

And emptiness above –

Know that you aren’t alone

The whole world shares your tears,

Some for two nights or one,

And some for all their years.

11. Each Moment Is Precious by Pat A. Fleming

Live in the moment,

Just take it all in.

Pay attention to everything,

Right there and right then.

Don’t let your mind wander

To what’s coming next.

Cherish this moment

And give it your best.

Don’t let tomorrow

Make you rush through today,

Or too many great moments

Will just go to waste.

And the person you’re with,

In that moment you share,

Give them all of your focus;

Be totally there.

Laugh till it hurts,

Let the tears drop.

Fill up each moment

With all that you’ve got.

Don’t miss the details;

The lesson is there.

Don’t get complacent;

Stay sharp and aware.

It can take but a moment

To change your life’s path.

And once it ticks by,

There is no going back.

In just 60 seconds,

You may make a new friend.

Find your true love,

Or see a life start or end.

You become who you are

In those moments you live.

And the growth’s not in taking

But in how much you give.

Life is just moments,

So precious and few.

Whether valued or squandered,

It’s all up to you!

Photo of a child standing in front of a chalk drawn rocket ship. Dreaming can become reality and we should shoot for the stars.

12. If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Photo of a tree on the side of a mountain during sunrise.

13.  Secret Of Happiness by Navdeep Babbar

When sadness fills your heart,

When tears make you fall apart,

When it’s gloomy all around,

When you hear a silent killing sound,

When love loses its meaning,

When you always end up screaming

When hope is lost and faith is shattered,

When you have lost every battle that mattered,

That is gifted time in life

Because God is with you when you struggle and strife.

Don’t let it go, for there’s much you may learn

‘Cause happiness is gained only when you yearn.

This dark night will soon end in day.

We will laugh again and play.

Spring will come very soon.

Our fate will again shine like moon.

Hopes dashed to the ground will again be honored and crowned.

Desire left alone will never be drowned.

The dazzling light from above will fall on us.

It will begin the prcess of all sorrow minus and all joys plus.

He’ll say life is waiting for you.

Angels and love are in your crew.

Now don’t ever shed a single tear

‘Cause I’ll always be there.

14. Survive… by Joy A. Burki-Watson

A fireplace is just the place

To burn up logs and limbs,

It makes the heat that’s quite a treat

When life responds to whims.

The ashes left — best put to rest

While memories remain,

Get out the broom to clean that room

So you don’t go insane!

The woodpile’s stacked and still intact

And Winter’s coming soon,

Your hearth and home, a safety zone

And not a lover’s tomb.

So warm that chill, you’re living still

And love is still alive,

Perhaps the charms of broken arms,

Your token for survive!

Photo of a woman motivated to climb a mountain. She stand at the top arms wide open.

15. You Keep Surviving by  Francis Duggan

Your sort by many looked on as not good enough

But you does hang in there when the going is tough

Like all born of poor parents of the lesser gods

From babyhood you have been battling the odds

You are one who does not have a god on your side

But there are many like you homeless and often hungry and unemployed

And you never once mention the word of suicide

Though any opportunity in life of you has been denied

Condemned to fail by your birth circumstance

Of success in life robbed of any chance

Your parents at present serving prison time

To steal for to live has been their only crime

In a Human World where hunger and poverty and homelessness are no longer rare

Some of the wealth have far more than their fair share

Homeless and often hungry and sleeping rough

You keep surviving though life on you is tough

16. Surviving The Storm by Richard Waters

When full force of a storm has been experienced

You truly understand what it means to be alive!

Being here after such violent turmoil has occurred

Invigorates a battered soul, so grateful to survive!

The suns rays breaking through dispersing cloud

Symbolises the best this cherished life has to offer.

The warmth is never more appreciated and enjoyed.

It’s clear what extremes you sometimes are to suffer.

Fragility of our existence has been made apparent

With destruction showing how insignificant we are

Shock and awe are reactions to what nature sent,

As we reflect it is not mankind that wields real power.

Everyone comes together to repair damage done

Labouring to return everything to how we want it

Knowing one day another ferocious test will come

Again proving we shall not be masters of this planet.

Photo of outer space.

17. Mercy of Nature by Chara

Nature never apologizes

It simply unfolds

Its pattern is not right or wrong

Yet unpredictable and bold

Disasters are common

Contrast with nature’s beauty

Natures flow is our flow

Where within us

Is surviving cruelty

Uncertainty is the intolerance

Of humanity within

Survival our instinct

Life’s Prisms locked in.

Those prisms reflect

Different shades of light

Is Freedom its flight?

Nature never apologizes

Humanity does

We need certainty

Of a future

That rises above

Nature photo to inspire survival and overcoming obstacles.

18. Pain Ends by Katy A. Brown

Breathe in the fresh air,

Put your mind at ease.

Let down your hair,

Let it flow in the breeze.

Let your eyes wander

To all the beauty to be seen.

If those toxic thoughts you still do ponder,

Then let out a scream.

Scream until the pain is gone,

Until you no longer feel afraid.

Open your eyes to a new dawn,

Let the darkness fade.

No longer compare yourself

Or your flaws to others’ perfections.

Take the negativity off the shelf.

Focus on your direction.

Pick the sadness up off the floor,

Sweep it into the wind.

Close the door on self-hatred.

Never let it back in.

For the lies it would often tell you,

You will no longer agree.

Happiness and love are what you should hold onto.

They are whom you should give the key.

Pay no attention to the toxic thoughts,

Listen to those who adore everything you are.

Overthinking was what you once were taught,

But now those thoughts you put in a jar.

Focus on your goals,

Never lose your fight.

It’s time to open new scrolls.

Everything will be all right.

19. A Simple Plan by Irwin Mercer

Simple Sam was a simple man.

He lived each day by a simple plan.

Enjoy your life and live while you can.

Make each day count and take a stand.

Stand on the left or stand on the right,

Whichever one you think is right.

Live each day as if your last.

Life’s too short and gone too fast.

An uplifting photo of a sunset view overlooking a valley with a river running through it to inspire hope.

20. Never Let Go of Hope by Jancarl Campi

One day

you will see

that it all

has finally come together.

What you have

always wished for

has finally come to be.

You will look back

and laugh at what has passed

and you will ask yourself,

“How did I get through all of that?”

Just never let go of hope.

Just never quit dreaming.

And never let love depart from your life.

21. A Time To Believe by B.J. Morbitzer

To believe is to know that

every day is a new beginning.

Is to trust that miracles happen,

and dreams really do come true.

To believe is to see angels

dancing among the clouds,

To know the wonder of a stardust sky

and the wisdom of the man in the moon.

To believe is to know the value of a nurturing heart,

The innocence of a child’s eyes

and the beauty of an aging hand,

for it is through their teachings we learn to love.

To believe is to find the strength

and courage that lies within us

When it’s time to pick up

the pieces and begin again.

To believe is to know

we are not alone,

That life is a gift

and this is our time to cherish it.

To believe is to know

that wonderful surprises are just

waiting to happen,

And all our hopes and dreams are within reach.

If only we believe.

Photo of a tree under dark skies and the sun is peeking out.

22. The Courage to Overcome by Catherine Pulsifer

Sometimes life can be tough,

And the road can be long,

But with the courage to overcome,

We can find our way back to where we belong.

It takes strength and determination,

To face each challenge head on,

And the resilience to keep going,

When it seems like the battle is never won.

So hold your head up high,

And don’t let fear hold you back,

With resilience and courage,

You can overcome any setback.

23. What Lay Ahead by Sarah K. Bolton

The smallest bark on life’s tempestuous ocean

Will leave a track behind for evermore;

The lightest wave of influence, set in motion,

Extends and widens to the eternal shore.

We should be wary, then, who go before

A myriad yet to be, and we should take

Our bearing carefully, where breakers roar

And fearful tempests gather; one mistake

May wreck unnumber’d barks that follow in our wake.

A glorious photo of a beach at sunset.

24. Life Is A Challenge by Edgar A. Guest

Life is a challenge to the bold,

It flings its gauntlet down

And bids us, if we seek for gold

And glory and renown,

To come and take them from its store,

It will not meekly hand them o’er.

Life is a challenge all must meet,

And nobly must we dare;

Its gold is tawdry when we cheat,

Its fame a bitter snare

If it be stolen from life’s clutch;

Men must be true to prosper much.

Life is a challenge and its laws

Are rigid ones and stern;

The splendid joy of real applause

Each man must nobly earn.

It makes us win its jewels rare,

But gives us paste, if we’re unfair.

Photo of a man taking a row boat out to the ocean inspiring us to take chances and the unknown is okay.

25. What Lay Ahead by Sarah K. Bolton

The smallest bark on life’s tempestuous ocean

Will leave a track behind for evermore;

The lightest wave of influence, set in motion,

Extends and widens to the eternal shore.

We should be wary, then, who go before

A myriad yet to be, and we should take

Our bearing carefully, where breakers roar

And fearful tempests gather; one mistake

May wreck unnumber’d barks that follow in our wake.

26. Finding Hope by Pat A. Fleming

I’ve always viewed life from the side lines,

Just watching it passing me by.

In the past, too afraid to just let go and live,

And lately too tired to try.

I’ve envied the people around me

So invested in living each day,

While I spent my time hiding out from the world

And searching for ways to escape.

For most of my life I truly believed

I was here to help somebody else,

But now it’s so clear it was just an excuse.

To avoid living life for myself.

It’s sad that our lives and the pain we endure

Can weaken our strength to move on,

But if we get lost in the scars of our past,

Without knowing our lives will be gone.

It’s true, people are disappointing,

They can turn in the blink of an eye,

But we can’t avoid hurting each other,

When we all want a chance at this life.

But there’s something I’ve learned through the wisdom of age,

A truth about all of our lives,

And that is no matter what path we each take,

In the end, we just want to survive.

So the time has now come to conquer my fears

And to stand up and face a new day.

Let the hurts of my past wash away with my tears

And stop letting my life slip away.

Photo of a sunsetting through a tree on a mountain side.

27. You Will Never See Me Fall by Joyce Alcantara

You may see me struggle,

but you won’t see me fall.

Regardless if I’m weak or not,

I’m going to stand tall.

Everyone says life is easy,

but truly living it is not.

Times get hard, people struggle

and constantly get put on the spot.

I’m going to wear the biggest smile,

even though I want to cry.

I’m going to fight to live,

even though I’m destined to die.

And even though it’s hard

and I may struggle through it all,

you may see me struggle…

but you will NEVER see me fall.

28. Journey of Life by Chitra Rao

Life is a long-distance journey

With ups and downs,

Twist and turns,

With sad and happy moments.

It begins with a single step.

Never become a coward in life;

Face the problems with strong determination,

With a smile on your lips.

Be brave and courageous in life.

Set your aim with a strong mindset.

Hope for the best and reach your goal.

Be an optimist and see the positive side of life.

Keep smiling.

Do not miss any opportunity.

Grab all those you get and move on the path of success,

As life is a long race that begins with a single step.

A black and white photo of a woman curled up on the floor in her night gown in need of some hope. She looks devastated.

29. The Layers by Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives, some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.

30. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Photo of a couple walking hand and hand into the sunset.
Photo of a couple walking hand and hand into the sunset.

31. A Litany for Survival by Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline

standing upon the constant edges of decision

crucial and alone

for those of us who cannot indulge

the passing dreams of choice

who love in doorways coming and going

in the hours between dawns

looking inward and outward

at once before and after

seeking a now that can breed


like bread in our children’s mouths

so their dreams will not reflect

the death of ours;

For those of us

who were imprinted with fear

like a faint line in the center of our foreheads

learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk

for by this weapon

this illusion of some safety to be found

the heavy-footed hoped to silence us

For all of us

this instant and this triumph

We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid

it might not remain

when the sun sets we are afraid

it might not rise in the morning

when our stomachs are full we are afraid

of indigestion

when our stomachs are empty we are afraid

we may never eat again

when we are loved we are afraid

love will vanish

when we are alone we are afraid

love will never return

and when we speak we are afraid

our words will not be heard

nor welcomed

but when we are silent

we are still afraid

So it is better to speak


we were never meant to survive.

32. Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath

Overnight, very

Whitely, discreetly,

Very quietly

Our toes, our noses

Take hold on the loam,

Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,

Stops us, betrays us;

The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on

Heaving the needles,

The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.

Our hammers, our rams,

Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,

Widen the crannies,

Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,

On crumbs of shadow,

Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.

So many of us!

So many of us!

We are shelves, we are

Tables, we are meek,

We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers

In spite of ourselves.

Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning

Inherit the earth.

Our foot’s in the door.

Photo of a kid riding in a small basket with rockets strapped to his back, wearing a helmet & glasses thinking about bigger ideas.

33. Survival Guide by Joy Ladin

No matter how old you are,

it helps to be young

when you’re coming to life,

to be unfinished, a mysterious statement,

a journey from star to star.

So break out a box of Crayolas

and draw your family

looking uncomfortably away

from the you you’ve exchanged

for the mannequin

they named. You should

help clean up, but you’re so busy being afraid

to love or not

you’re missing the fun of clothing yourself

in the embarrassment of life.

Frost your lids with midnight;

lid your heart with frost;

rub them all over, the hormones that regulate

the production of love

from karmic garbage dumps.

Turn yourself into

the real you

you can only discover

by being other.

Voila! You’re free.

Learn to love the awkward silence

you are going to be.

34. Still Here by Langston Hughes

I been scarred and battered.

My hopes the wind done scattered.

   Snow has friz me,

   Sun has baked me,

Looks like between ’em they done

   Tried to make me

Stop laughin’, stop lovin’, stop livin’–

   But I don’t care!

   I’m still here!

Black and white photo of a child walking on a beach with footprints in the sand motivation to keep going.

35. A Litany For Survival by Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline

standing upon the constant edges of decision

crucial and alone

for those of us who cannot indulge

the passing dreams of choice

who love in doorways coming and going

in the hours between dawns

looking inward and outward

at once before and after

seeking a now that can breed


like bread in our children’s mouths

so their dreams will not reflect

the death of ours;

For those of us

who were imprinted with fear

like a faint line in the center of our foreheads

learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk

for by this weapon

this illusion of some safety to be found

the heavy-footed hoped to silence us

For all of us

this instant and this triumph

We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid

it might not remain

when the sun sets we are afraid

it might not rise in the morning

when our stomachs are full we are afraid

of indigestion

when our stomachs are empty we are afraid

we may never eat again

when we are loved we are afraid

love will vanish

when we are alone we are afraid

love will never return

and when we speak we are afraid

our words will not be heard

nor welcomed

but when we are silent

we are still afraid

So it is better to speak


we were never meant to survive.

Photo of a beautiful purple, pink, orange and yellow sunset overlooking a farmhouse to give you a sense of peace when reading poems about survival.

Poems About Survival: Books You Need To Check Out

If you want to bring poems about survival with you wherever you go, check out these poetry books. Each offers a unique perspective on survival through poetry.

Whether you’re a long-time lover of verse or just starting to explore the world of poetry, these selections will enrich your understanding of the power and potential of poems about survival to serve as a lifeline during life’s toughest challenges.

Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry: Volume 2

Dive into the rich tapestry of the American poetic landscape with this anthology. Cary Nelson has curated a selection that spans different eras, styles, and themes in American poetry.

This second volume showcases the breadth of the genre, exhibiting works from established figures and fresh voices alike.

We Will Be Shelter: Poems for Survival

Renowned spoken-word poet and activist Andrea Gibson presents a poignant collection of poems that pivot around themes of struggle, resilience, and survival.

Gibson's poetry is steeped in raw emotion and acute observations, with a strong sense of urgency and compassion.

This book is a rallying cry and a comforting embrace, a testament to the human spirit's ability to weather life's harshest storms.

Poetry as Survival (The Life of Poetry: Poets on Their Art and Craft Ser.)

Exploring the therapeutic and transformative power of writing poems, Gregory Orr's "Poetry as Survival" is more than a book — it's an emotional journey.

Orr offers a unique perspective on how the personal lyric, born out of individual suffering and struggle, can have a vital role in personal healing and growth.

By sharing his own experiences and insights, Orr guides readers to find their inner resilience through the art of writing.

Poems About Survival: FAQs

What are poems about survival?

Poems about survival are pieces of literature that tackle themes related to overcoming adversity, enduring hardship, and persisting through difficult times.

They often depict the human capacity for resilience, hope, and the will to keep going.

How can reading poems about survival help me?

Reading poems about survival can serve as a therapeutic activity for anyone going through a difficult time. These poems can provide comfort, foster resilience, and remind you that you are not alone in your struggles.

They can also help you process complex emotions, soothe anxiety, and instill a sense of hope and optimism.

Where can I find poems about survival?

You can find poems about survival in literature anthologies, poetry collections, and on various online platforms dedicated to poetry, such as the Poetry Foundation,, and AllPoetry.

Libraries and bookstores also have sections dedicated to poetry where you can find works on survival.

Can I write my own survival poem?

Absolutely! You can write your own poems about survival. Poetry is a highly personal and therapeutic form of expression. Writing your own survival poem can help you process your feelings, express your thoughts, and find clarity.

It can be a cathartic experience that aids in personal growth and resilience.

Photo of a gorgeous fall sunset overlooking a homestead.

Poems About Survival To Will Yourself Through: Key Takeaways

There’s no denying that poems about survival have the ability to ignite resilience and spark strength within us.

These verses provide more than a glimpse into the myriad hues of human experience. They remind us that no struggle is too immense or an obstacle too towering.

All these poems about survival hold a powerful lesson about resilience offering words to guide you through darker times. They’re more than just words—they are survival stories, a testament to strength in adversity.

Let them be your courage and inspiration, affirming your own power to overcome. After all, we each have a will to survive, awaiting ignition by heart-touching words.

We hope these poems encourage you to meet life’s trials with renewed strength.

Photo of a beautiful lake in the mountains on a sunny day.

My Experience: I’d like to share my personal experience of how an unexpected quotes or poems about survival can give you hope during your darkest moments.

The year was 2015, and my mom had recently passed away, with her funeral scheduled for the following day. My siblings and I had just finished the final arrangements at the funeral home and felt the need for a brief break. We decided on a quaint, little mom & pop restaurant close by, a place none of us had visited before.

As we sat there, reminiscing about our mom and shedding tears over our loss, I went to the restroom to regain my composure. Inside, I noticed a wall in the restroom was covered with dozens of index cards with assorted quotes, poems and heartfelt notes, all written by anonymous patrons and staff. There was a small sign suggesting to take any cards that resonated with you and encouraged you to leave your own contribution.

In that moment as I read the cards, it felt like my mom was sending us a message. She seemed to be reassuring us that everything would eventually be alright and she was watching over us. I selected a few of those cards from the wall that day, and they now occupy a special place on my desk, serving as a constant reminder for those times when I find myself in low spirits or lost.

This experience of how a seemingly insignificant chance encounter with a note from a stranger can serve as a source of inspiration, providing that extra nudge required to persevere.

Photo of uplifting sayings written on index cards that I came across in a random restaurant after my mom passed away.
Angie Montgomery
Angie Montgomery


Angie Montgomery is the co-founder of Monday Day Prepping. She and her husband Bill have been “prepper’s” since 2008. When she’s not helping manage the homestead, she enjoys teaching her two boys how to cook and make natural alternatives to cleaners and other household items.


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