Language in poems can serve as a powerful tool in translating our inner worlds into physical reality.
But spiritual poetry uses language to peer into a different kind of realm.
The words, patterns, and imagery in a spiritual poem can open the doorway into the non-physical, spiritual world.
When you read poetry, there will be poems that deeply resonate with you, for no apparent reason.
Your inner being understands the message shared in that poem without the need for any conscious effort.
Usually, it’s because the symbolism of the words within the poem connects to a deeper part of you. Your spirit.
So, what makes a poem spiritual?
Spiritual poetry dives deep into understanding abstract concepts. Such as the transience of being, purpose of suffering, and the unexpected causality of events.
Spiritual poems can often talk to, and about, God but they also go beyond religion.
There are endless collections of poems in Persian poetry that spend time understanding the true nature of reality.
Answering questions of the meaning of existence, the nature of space and time, and what happens after death.
MORE>> Before writing a spiritual poem, participate in a spiritual cleanse
No poetry has one single purpose.
Spiritual poems provide the space to explore the most difficult questions central to human life.
Who am I? What happens after death? Am I on the right path? What is the purpose of the misery, loneliness, and suffering in this life?
Spiritual poetry can help to look for answers, and even discover solutions.
One of the special aspects of spiritual poetry is that we can explore ideas outside of the traditional scope of language.
In a spiritual poem, words are not always what they mean.
Instead, words carry messages, each with its particular symbolism (as we will see later with examples from Persian poetry, Japanese poetry, and English/American poetry).
As a reader or a writer, a spiritual poem allows you to achieve many things:
But most of all, spiritual poetry is a vehicle for insights to travel to us from the past, the future, and from across the globe.
Spiritual poetry does not speak to our rational minds. The central topics of spiritual poems cannot be understood with the means of logical thought.
The images and metaphors are directed specifically to help your soul awaken.
That’s why spiritual poetry is often a guiding force for people dealing with the dark night of the soul.
As you undergo the difficult process of ‘ego death’ and search for a deeper meaning of life and your place in it, you can find support in spiritual poems of the past.
Through writing, reading, and visualizing the metaphors used in spiritual poetry, you can witness the interconnectedness of everything in the world.
You begin to understand your existence through a previously unseen paradigm.
This fresh approach helps you explore your feelings towards challenges, gives you strength to keep going, and brings you into alignment with all that is.
The spirit is the non-physical part of any being.
Often, poets dedicate entire collections of poetry to express and get to know their spirit self.
When poets divulge their personal experiences and unique visions of the world, they also share universal messages that bring people together. At least, temporarily.
As a result, spiritual poetry allows that non-physical part of us to take on a form, to make us whole again, and to transform our knowledge of what it is to be human.
Just like those that came before us, let’s elevate and overcome life’s hurdles by looking within.
And if the going gets tough, these 7 spiritual poems are here to remind you of the eternal truths your soul already knows.
But remember, spiritual poems are not something you read with your mind, they are something you read with your soul.
“The Props assist the House
Until the House is built
And then the Props withdraw
And adequate, erect,
The House support itself
And cease to recollect
The Augur and the Carpenter
Just such a retrospect
Hath the perfected Life
A Past of Plank and Nail
And slowness – then the scaffolds drop
Affirming it a Soul”
As many spiritual poems aim to do, Emily Dickinson’s poem symbolizes the evolution of the soul into maturity.
It also suggests for the reader not to look outside themselves for answers. To connect with your spiritual self, look inward.
Levels of meaning are often braided into spiritual poetry. As the reader, you will uncover the messages through the lens of your own experiences.
When you read spiritual poems -- take only what you need, and don’t fixate on things yet out of your reach.
“On a branch
a cricket, singing”
In this haiku, by the Japanese poet Issa, symbolism is bursting past the limits of linguistic expression.
The unpredictable nature of life is summarized all in the space of three short lines.
Expressing for us to choose the path of least resistance on this life’s journey with, at times, turbulent currents but remain happy, singing, despite.
“Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an ax to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You are covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you have died.
Your old life was a frantic running
The speechless full moon
comes out now.”
Persian poetry is riddled with both meaning and mysticism alike.
The interpretation of such poems is not always easy because there is a hidden meaning that logical thought simply cannot access.
In many Eastern cultures, the moon represents the process of spiritual awakening because of its cycles. And the full moon indicates the completion of a particular process.
Whereas, the ax is the power of spiritual inquiry that goes beyond the boundaries of physical existence -- prison.
Like this, we can begin to uncover the hidden wisdom within.
“And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling cooped we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help--for It
As impotently moves as you or I.”
In much of Omar Kahayyam’s Persian poetry the running theme remains -- seize the day.
The sky is an emblem of the order in the universe. In many societies, people also turn to the sky for answers, guidance, and help.
In this way, the poem encourages you to make use of the precious time you have in this world, as the universe moves to a natural flow, without any control over circumstances in human life.
No matter what things are happening, enjoy the life you have while you can. Everything is as it should be.
“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”
John Donne explores a feeling shared by many -- the powerless in the face of death.
But instead of a fearful outlook into the unknown, Donne’s position is to say that death is not a permanent condition.
In fact, death is a form of liberation of the soul from the physical body, and a beginning of an eternal journey.
He encourages you to view death as an inferior opponent and nothing to be afraid of. You don’t need to fear death because all it is, is a “short sleep”.
“Although I try
to hold the single thought
of Buddha's teaching in my heart,
I cannot help but hear
the many crickets' voices calling as well”
In Japanese cultures, crickets are used as a symbol of good luck but they also have a more somber meaning attached to them.
Crickets represent the feelings of loneliness and sadness that arise in times of transition.
When you read this poem, Izumi Shikibu reminds you that it’s ok to feel and be affected by negative emotions.
Even when you know and understand the truth of being, these emotions can still arise. Don’t punish yourself for having the knowledge but still experiencing negativity.
“Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.”
This particular poem was written as a consequence of the passing of a friend’s mother. It said the author wrote down the words in an almost channeled way.
The words just flew out of her in a pure stream of consciousness. She grabbed whatever was near her to write down the verses.
Frey’s first poem ended up residing on the surface of a brown paper bag.
And it brings peace in the knowledge that people continue to live on. Since humans and the universe are not separate things.
We will always and forever remain one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adventurous by nature, Valery has been a world wanderer for many years.
Her journey started in Russia, transitioned to the UK, and now she discovers a sense of home in nations all around the world.
She moves beyond borders - learning, participating, finding inspiration and familiarity in diverse cultures she’s had the joy of living in.
When not chasing adventures and out-of-the-comfort zone experiences, she explores the wonders of language and its impact on the self, the world, and interpersonal communication.
She never ceases to seek opportunities for self-development and to contribute to a brighter future for the world around her.
You can discover some of her experiences on https://medium.com/@valeryvoyager