‘Do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few’ PYTHAGORAS

Our ‘POEMS’ section highlights selected verse with themes chosen to inspire reflection on leadership, teamwork (and life in general!) that we hope you enjoy. Some are included as PDF attachments, whilst others, because of copyright restrictions, can be accessed via links to specialist websites.

Poems are listed in alphabetical order of poet’s surname. Do get in touch if you have any suggestions for additions you think our site visitors would appreciate.

ALONE’ by Maya Angelou
A poem by author, poet, historian, songwriter and civil rights activist Maya Angelou that reminds us of the importance of including others in our lives – chosen because its message also relates to teams and teamwork. For a link to the poem: Click here

ITHACA by Constantine Cavafy
A poem reflecting on pleasure, joy and learning & & & along an unhurried journey of life.
For a link to the poem: Click here
For information on Cavafy: Click here

‘DESIDERATA’ by Max Ehrmann
‘Desiderata’, (Latin for ‘desired things’) – a calming, thought provoking and inspirational prose poem about attaining happiness in life. For a link to the poem, Click here

‘WINDOW ONTO THE WORLD’ by Martin Firrell
Originally part of a commission for Curzon Cinemas 1934-2004, a thought provoking composition by Martin Firrell asserting the ‘privilege rather than the predicament of age’. Please note that the title has not been defined by its author, but has been taken from the first line of the composition. For a link to the poem, Click Here

A poignant selection of verse translated from the original 11th & 12th century Persian with a theme reminiscent of the brevity of worldly existence and the value of enjoying life while you can. For Edward Fitzgerald’s translation:  Click Here
And for the on-line encyclopaedia Wikipedia entry: Click Here

‘THE DECISIVE ELEMENT’ by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
A brief and thought provoking poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe about the power and responsibility of personal influence:  Click Here

‘INVICTUS’ by William Ernest Henley
A poem about strong and fearless character, ending with the memorable lines ‘ I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul’ . For a PDF of the poem: Click here.  
For information on William Ernest Henley:  Click here

‘AN ARUNDEL TOMB’ by Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin’ s classic poem, whose mesmerising last line reflecting on the legacy we leave as human beings – ‘What will survive of us is love’ relates to an actual stone monument located in Chichester Cathedral.
For a link to the poem itself: Click here
For notes on the poem: Click here
For a biography of the poet: Click here

‘HIGH FLIGHT’ by John Gillespie Magee
High Flight was composed by Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force who was tragically killed in a mid air collision in 1941. An evocative poem of just 14 lines of that will resonate with both flyers and those who relate to the emotions involved. For the poem and further details on John Gillespie Magee:Click here

‘THE TIME IS NOW’ by Robert Paul Moreno
‘Love me now while I am living – Do not wait until I am gone.’ A brief poem to touch the heart of anyone who has not expressed their feelings to the people they love. For a PDF of the poem, Click here

‘A BAG OF TOOLS’ by R L Sharpe
A poem that resonates with its potent message of questioning the legacies of leaving  ‘stumbling blocks’ or ‘stepping stones’ on our journey through life. For a PDF of the poem:  Click here

‘OZYMANDIAS’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The futility of leadership ego is encapsulated in Percy Bysshe Shelley’ s sonnet, ‘Ozymandias’ – which paraphrases the inscription on the statue which inspired it: ‘ King of Kings am I, Ozymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works’ . (Poem introduced by one of our military clients to whom we are grateful). The poem can be accessed via a PDF file:
Click here
Or for a link to the poem on our web source plus more information on the poet, including an image of the fallen colossus of Ramesses II which is understood to have inspired it:
Click here

Lyrics from the song written and originally recorded by Joe South, which effectively reflect the EQ attribute of seeking understanding of others rather than condemnation.  For a PDF of the poem including a web-link to its source: Click here

‘I THINK CONTINUALLY’ by Stephen Spender
Stephen Spender’s thought provoking poem’ I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great’ , written about those who ‘ left the vivid air signed with their honour’ .
For a link to the poem: Click here
For information on Stephen Spender: Click here

‘SUCCESS’ by Bessie Anderson Stanley
Written in 1904, an inspiring poem which encapsulates the ‘Live well, love much, laugh often’ message. For a PDF of the poem: Click here

An acclaimed poem by the Canadian born poet, Mark Strand, from his 1964 publication: ‘With One Eye Open.’  For a PDF of the poem:  Click here

Dylan Thomas’s poem is a reminder of a favourite quote ‘The challenge in life is to die young as late as possible’ by Manfred Kets de Vries (listed in our ‘Quotes’ section under ‘Learning and Achievement’ . The following comment is taken from the web-link provided: ‘Although Dylan meant it to be about not just accepting death; one can put the two lines into a more personal context. It doesn’t have to be about fighting death, per se. What it means to me, is don’t accept the inevitable. Don’t just accept it, and let it creep upon you. Fight for what you believe in, fight against the inevitable. Do not accept what is put in front of you, if you do, you’re already lost.’ (JC from United Kingdom)
For a link to the poem:Click here
For a biography of Dylan Thomas:Click here
For a link to the comments section of the above website:Click here

An intense and thought provoking poem on the relationship between the self and the world, ‘ Working Together’ is from The House of Belonging by David Whyte. For a link to the poem:Click here
For information on David Whyte:Click here

A ‘being comfortable in your own skin’ sort of poem, written by Sir Henry Wotton, a foreign diplomat as well as writer, famed for his quote ‘An Ambassador is an honest man, sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.’ For a PDF of the poem: Click here
Websites with more information on Sir Henry Wotton:

  1. Click here

‘THIS LIFE MATTERED’  author unknown
A profoundly moving and thought provoking poem about the legacy we leave – and how we want to be remembered.  For a PDF of the poem: Click Here
‘WHEN THINGS GO WRONG’  author unknown
A poem that may be familiar to many of us entitled: ‘When things go wrong’ suggesting that ‘Success is failure turned inside out’ – and cajoles us not to quit.  For a PDF link to the poem:  Click Here