Five Beloved Poems That Will Open the Doors of Perception

We crank it up and belt it out in our cars when we think no one is listening. Some of us retreat to a place of peace to let skeletons out of the closet. Or, we share it with the world in hopes to reach out and connect. Poetry is powerful! It is the lifeblood pumping through writers and creatives from all walks of life. You probably don’t even realize how much you adore poetry because it’s so pervasive and universal. I want to share the five poems that continue to influence and inspire me today.

Gif of Jay-Z saying rap is poetry.

Poetry that is…So Choice!

  • Cicadas by Aldous Huxley
  • The Potter by Pablo Neruda
  • Fog by Carl Sandburg
  • A Dream within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
  • You’re by Sylvia Plath

Poetry hands us the keys to unlock the doors of perception. It allows us to have the ultimate creative flow, discover our voice and how to use it, and it opens awareness and empathy channels. These are the 5 most influential poems of my life as well a few of my own.

Gif of young boy saying poems don't have to rhyme, ya know.

Cicadas by Aldous Huxley

Huxley, known for his novels, was an amazing poet too! He dives deep into our inner workings. Talk about existential rumination! He demands we question and challenge ourselves to see the world from a perception foreign to our comfort zone. He pulls back the curtain of complacency and assaults us with truth. I love him so.

…And there is silence underneath the trees—
The living silence of continuous sound.

For like inveterate remorse, like shrill
Delirium throbbing in the fevered brain,
An unseen people of cicadas fill
Night with their one harsh note, again, again…

…Life is their madness, life that all night long
Bids them sing and sing, they know not why;
Mad cause and senseless burden of their song;
For life commands, and Life! Is all their cry…

…Clueless we go; but I have heard thy voice,
Divine Unreason! Harping in the leaves,
And grieve no more; for wisdom never grieves,
And thou hast taught me wisdom; I rejoice.

Cicada with wings outstretched.

The Potter by Pablo Neruda

Neruda warms my heart with romantic sentiments that go light years beyond the bounds of physical love. I first discovered Neruda when I was in high school. I was the nerd who learned to write/translate poetry in Spanish. I’ll never forget how The Potter revealed an intensity and appreciation of deeper human connection. I actually still use my hand thrown ceramic tea mug with this poem painted on it. All the feels!

…Your knees, your breasts,
your waist
are missing parts of me like the hollow
of a thirsty earth…

Fog by Carl Sandburg

When I was in middle school, Carl Sandburg’s “Fog” was burned into my memory. Such a simple little collection of words incited such strong imagery and emotion in me. Even though cats make me itch and are too entitled for my taste, the imagery was so evocative, yet comforting. It was the perfect juxtaposition  to create an air of mystery and conjure curiosity.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Fog circling a cityscape.

A Dream within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

If Poe were alive today, we’d be thick as thieves! That man’s tragic life has made some of the most thought provoking and heart wrenching writings. I’m both jealous and sad for him. He shows his audience that through suffering we cannot deny its bittersweet truth. You have to truly enjoy the little moments in life because they are quite fleeting.

“…While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?”

You’re by Slyvia Plath

Last, but never least is the beloved Sylvia Plath. She was a post-war poet, a warrior of words, and unashamed to reveal her despair. I love the rawness and complexity of her work. She IS “Lady Lazarus”. Even though she ended her life at 30, she resurrects herself every single time we read her words.

Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense…

My poetry love runs deep and is heavily guarded by my barbs of sensibility. You gotta get over that hump of anxiety and judgment to connect and reach someone else. I’m eternally grateful for Huxley, Plath, and Silverstein for sharing their worlds and letting us step inside from time to time.

As a dorky little girl at the ripe age of 11, I wrote my first poem called “Ocean of hope”. Oh the melodrama! I was a very quite, sensitive kid. Still am. Dealing with my parents divorce, a new step dad, and puberty was overwhelming to say the least. Oh the woes of being “just a girl” (90’s Shout out! Love me some No Doubt!) wading through the seas of middle school and all its glory. “Ocean of hope” was my preteen soapbox wailing. Wish I had a copy to share. However, I do have some more recent selections to share with you.

1/27/17 by Samantha Sierra

Little resistance. No certainty or set path.
Mind reeling with hearts bleeding in the aftermath.
Locked from the inside out. Words won’t come.
Sunken treasures, never again to meet the sun.
Darkness settle with a whisper of warning.
Accept the past or live in mourning.

Girl holding her hands to her throat in emotional moment.

My passion for storytelling has only grown as the years tick by. Thankfully, my writing style has evolved into something I feel is pretty unique. It’s never been easy to share something so personal. After rereading, having a good cry about how much I both love and hate my writing, and biting off all my nails, I finally break down and share. Once you decide to get over yourself, and realize you learn and grow from others’ opinions or input, it becomes more comfortable to open up and share your craft.

Untitled by Samantha Sierra

Words with wings
Crash into the sun
Like hearts on strings
Cocked the gun
For truth + love
Pipe dreams from above

Robin Williams from the Dead Poets Society

As often as you can, I encourage you to slam it, sing it or pour your heart out all over the page! Have your own poem to share? Tag THD on Social media and use your voice. #poetrylove

Samantha Sierra

Writer, designer, dreamer, and overall creative, Samantha enjoys ruffling a few feathers with the unexpected. She is committed to seeking inspiration in unlikely places to bring about engaging design, generate conversation, and spark new ideas.