Poems About Hope

Poems About Hope – Prose That Brings Light to Dark Places

Hope can be a very powerful thing, and it’s generally seen as a positive when we have a sense of hope in our lives. This is one of the reasons why there are so many poems about hope in the world. However, a poem about hope does not mean that it’s about something positive. Hope can often follow on from something terrible. And so, this list of 10 hope poems below will explore hope in different ways, but it’s worth paying attention to why they have clung to hope in their own particular ways. Have a look while we get through each of these poems in turn!



A Few Poems About Hope

Back during my time as an English and literature teacher, I often found that the kinds of texts that really resonated with students were the kinds that were more universal in their tone. For instance, a poem about something that we can all relate to, and hope is one of those things. We all generally have hope for something. We have hope for the future and that things will be good, we have hope that we will remain healthy (or become healthy), and so on. Hope is something most of us can just understand. So, with that in mind, let’s chat about poems about hope in the list below.

Best Poems About Hope


To Hope (1815) by John Keats

Date Published1815
Type of PoemOde
Rhyme SchemeABABCC
MeterMostly iambic pentameter
TopicHope from god

To Hope is the first of the poems about hope on this list, and it is one that makes use of an appeal to the divine with regard to hope. It perceives hope as a thing that has been sent by God, and this sense of hope can aid us in becoming better and improving ourselves and everything around us. Hope can be a benefit in the darkest of places, which will be a recurring theme in many of the poems about hope below in this list.

The world is a harsh and difficult place for many of us, and hope allows us to expect and even strive to make it better than it has been before.

Famous Hope Poem John Keats (1822) by William Hilton; William Hilton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Work without Hope (1825) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Date Published1825
Type of PoemNon-standard sonnet
MeterIambic pentameter
TopicGoals to strive toward

Work without Hope is a poem that is more about a lack of hope than hope itself. However, it examines hopelessness as a means of producing a certain level of desire and adoration for the very notion of hopefulness itself. It wants us to make use of hope because it can aid us in providing our own goals and desires for the future, and through this desire for something in the future, we can better become the kind of people that we may wish to become.

We need goals and plans for our lives, and hope can be a powerful force in getting us to embrace this kind of reality.

Inspirational Hope Poem Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1814) by Washington Allston; Washington Allston, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Song Of Hope (1825) by Thomas Hardy

Date Published1825
Type of PoemLyric poem
TopicOptimism about the future

Song Of Hope is a positive expression of hope that examines how hope can exist as a thing that provides us with a sense of optimism for the future that has yet to come. Hope allows us to have a positive feeling with regard to our future, and this is a powerful way in which poems about hope can be used. They can aid us in seeing that hope can help us to expect something better for ourselves. Does this necessarily mean that hope is always correct and that we will achieve a more optimistic future?

Not necessarily, but a sense of hope can aid us in striving for something that might allow us to reach that point.

Best Hope Poem Thomas Hardy (1923) by Reginald Grenville Eves; Reginald Grenville Eves, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 


Hope (1846) by Emily Brontë

Date Published1846
Type of PoemLyric poem
Rhyme SchemeABAB
TopicThe negatives of hope

Hope is a poem by one of the most famous writers in the English language, and one that personifies hope as a kind of friend who lives within us. This friend is not always particularly upfront and often remains timid. They do not engage with us all that often, and the speaker expresses that hope is actually a cruel thing. We may occasionally look upon it, but it often averts our gaze. This poem about hope has a far less positive message than basically everything else on this list because it does not see hope as something universally positive.

Hope is just sitting there, and it alone does not do anything to help us.

Famous Poems About Weight The Brontë Sisters (1834) by Branwell Brontë; Branwell Brontë, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 


“Hope” is the thing with feathers (1891) by Emily Dickinson

Date Published1891
Type of PoemNon-standard poem
Rhyme SchemeABCB
MeterIambic trimeter and tetrameter
TopicThe nature of hope

“Hope” is the thing with feathers is probably one of the most famous poems about hope. The poem makes use of a metaphor to call hope a kind of powerful bird that exists within us. It is a beast that never falters within us, and it provides us with this sense of untamable hope. One of the central ideas is that it does not require all that much from us to foster it, because the bird that is hope wants to live and breathe. It is a thing that is difficult to break within the human soul and, as a result, it will not easily die.

It can remain alive in the worst of situations.

Top Poems About Hope Emily Dickinson (1840) by Otis Bullard; Otis Allen Bullard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


September 1, 1939 (1939) by W.H. Auden

Date Published1939
Type of PoemNarrative poem
Rhyme SchemeNone
MeterMostly iambic trimeter
TopicThe outbreak of World War II

September 1, 1939 is a text that is explicitly tied to the very obvious date after whom the poem is named. It was published that same year but not on that same day. For those with some education in history, this day may be familiar as the one on which the Second World War broke out. The poem is about the outbreak of that way, and while the outbreak of a major and global war is obviously something incredibly terrible, the poem also expresses hope for what may come out of that misery, that people may rise up against the kind of authoritarianism that arose during the 1920s and 1930s.

Even though it may not seem it at first, is a fantastic example of poems about hope from the 20th century.

Top Hope Poem W. H. Auden (1939) by Carl Van Vechten; Carl Van Vechten, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 


Still I Rise (1978) by Maya Angelou

Date Published1978
Type of PoemProtest poem
Rhyme SchemeVariable
MeterMostly trochaic tetrameter

Still I Rise is probably one of the best-known poems about hope to have been written. The poem is about more than hope alone, but hope does play a major role. The poem is concerned with the resilience that the speaker possesses despite having been oppressed for her entire life. It is a poem that features a strong-willed speaker who refuses to bow down to the oppressors that have maintained a power over her and her people for centuries. It encourages self-love, hopefulness, and strength in the face of harsh odds that may seem too difficult for many to overcome.

Hope and resilience can often be found standing hand-in-hand in many examples of poems about hope because they often come from the same place.

Inspirational Poems About Hope Cover of And Still I Rise (1978) by Maya Angelou; Janet Halverson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


I look at the world (2009) by Langston Hughes

Date Published2009
Type of PoemFree verse poem
Rhyme SchemeNone
TopicRefusal to remain passive

I look at the world is one of the many poems by Langston Hughes that is directly concerned with the plight of African American people in a pre-Civil Rights era United States, but unlike many of the darker and more unpleasant poems that follow this general theme, this poem wants the reader to feel that sense of hope about how change can occur. The poem looks through the eyes of a black speaker, and they refuse to remain passive in the face of oppression and have hope for a world that can be changed and improved.

Hope for the future can often take place within the darkest of places, and the throes of systemic oppression is one of the darkest places one can be in this world.

Explore Hope Poem Langston Hughes (1936) by Carl Van Vechten; Carl Van Vechten, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


A Center (2018) by Ha Jin

Date Published2018
Type of PoemLyric poem
Rhyme SchemeNone
TopicPersonal resilience

A Center can be seen as a poem that is not explicitly about hope. However, there is a certain sense of hopefulness that can be found within it. The poem tells us about achieving a kind of inner peace. It wants us to find this center of ourselves. Within that center of ourselves we can be more who we truly are, and when it comes to an understanding of hopefulness, this center can aid us in remaining resilient and strong in the face of everything around us. So, while this may not be seen in quite the same way as the other poems about hope on this list, it certainly does have similar ideas and goals in mind. This is a means of interpreting hope and how to achieve a sense of hopefulness that many of us may not necessarily consider.

And that is a strong aspect of hope poems that should be remembered, they can show us some of how we might feel hope within ourselves.

Modern Hope Poem Ha Jin (2021); Voice of America, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Never Let Go of Hope (Before 2022) by Jancarl Campi

Date Published2022
Type of PoemFree verse poem
Rhyme SchemeNone
TopicHolding onto hope

Never Let Go of Hope is a contemporary poem about hope and one that encourages us to never give up in the face of whatever may stand in our way. The poem takes a somewhat retrospective viewpoint to discuss all the things that we have gone through in our lives, and we have indeed gone through many difficult things in our lives. However, we managed to make our way through them. We have survived all the ordeals that have gotten us to this very point and so while we often look back at ourselves and think about how we managed to get through those tribulations at all, we did manage to get through them. For this reason, we should never give up on the new difficulties of life. If we got through the hardships once upon a time, we can do it again!


As the opening of this article stated, there are many different reasons that someone may wish to have a sense of hope, and hope does not necessarily radiate within us whenever everything is necessarily going particularly well. Hope is often there as a light in the darkness. It’s for when everything is terrible, and we need to try and see our way out of whatever that miserable situation happens to be. Hopefully, this series of poems about hope has provided some of that illumination. If the particular kind of hope you seek is not found within this list, you may need to search elsewhere. However, that does not mean such things are impossible to find, but they may take a little bit of effort.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Are Poems About Hope?

This is an incredibly broad question, which tends to happen when you’re looking at poems that are about certain topics or themes. And that’s exactly what hope is. A poem about hope only needs to discuss hope in some way for it to classify as a hope poem. This does not mean that they need to be positive or negative either. A poem could be about failed hope, where the terrible thing did happen and hope was, in that case, pointless, or we could have a poem in which hope saved someone’s life. There are so many ways that hope can be explored in a poem!


What Are the Characteristics of Hope Poems?

There are no real and firm characteristics of poems about hope. Instead, a poem about hope could be just about anything in terms of tone and characteristics. Should it rhyme? Does the poet want it to rhyme? Both yes or no are valid answers to that question. The list above should have shown that poems about hope can come in many different shapes and sizes, and those shapes and sizes are not necessarily easy to fit into any kind of category. However, we could say that a poem that takes a more positive stance with regard to hope will probably use more positive language, and vice versa. It’s however the poet chooses!


What Kinds of Poems Tend to Be Hope Poems?

The answer to this question is similar to the answer to the above question. When it comes to poems about hope, there are an infinite number of poetic formats that could be used. Can a hope poem be written as a sonnet? Yes. A villanelle? Yes. A limerick? Yes. All of the answers to these questions are in the affirmative, and there are no structures that are necessarily favored over any other kind. And if someone wants to think that one structure, like a sestina, is the best for poems about hope, well why do they think that? Are they just really big fans of sestinas?


What Are Some Famous Examples of Hope Poems?

In this article, we have checked out 10 different poems about hope, but for a quickly recapped distillation, we could say that certain poems are more famous than others. For instance, these poems are probably some of the best-known examples on the list: “Hope” is the thing with feathers (1891) by Emily Dickinson, Still I Rise (1978) by Maya Angelou, and I look at the world (2009) by Langston Hughes. This may be a statement on which are the most famous, but it doesn’t mean they’re the best. For the best, you’ll have to decide that on your own, and you may not even find which you personally consider to be the best in this article at all!


Which Famous Poets Wrote Hope Poems?

There are loads of famous poets who have written poems about hope. Some of the best-known writers to have written hope poems include Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, and Langston Hughes. This is a short list though, and seeing as hope is a concept that humans have on a rather universal level, there will be far more that will write about hope. For instance, there are probably many who have yet to even publish their works and will write some phenomenal poems about hope!


Cite this Article

Justin, van Huyssteen, “Poems About Hope – Prose That Brings Light to Dark Places.” Art in Context. January 24, 2024. URL: https://artincontext.org/poems-about-hope/

van Huyssteen, J. (2024, 24 January). Poems About Hope – Prose That Brings Light to Dark Places. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/poems-about-hope/

van Huyssteen, Justin. “Poems About Hope – Prose That Brings Light to Dark Places.” Art in Context, January 24, 2024. https://artincontext.org/poems-about-hope/.

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