Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes published by Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage. Copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Some people presume to be hopeful
when there is no evidence for hope,
to be happy when there is no cause.
Let me say now, I’m with them.

In deep darkness on a cold twig
in a dangerous world, one first
little fluff lets out a peep, a warble,
a song—and in a little while, behold:

the first glimmer comes, then a glow
filters through the misty trees,
then the bold sun rises, then
everyone starts bustling about.

And that first crazy optimist, can we
forgive her for thinking, dawn by dawn,
“Hey, I made that happen!
And oh, life is so fine.”

Copyright © 2022 by Kim Stafford. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 27, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

The spring is not so beautiful there,—
   But dream ships sail away
To where the spring is wondrous rare
   And life is gay.

The spring is not so beautiful there,—
   But lads put out to sea
Who carry beauties in their hearts
   And dreams, like me.

From The Weary Blues (Alfred A. Knopf, 1926) by Langston Hughes. This poem is in the public domain. 

Listen. The wind is still,
And far away in the night—
See!  The uplands fill 
With a running light. 

Open the doors.  It is warm;
And where the sky was clear —
Look!  The head of a storm
That marches here!

Come under the trembling hedge—
Fast, although you fumble. . . . 
There!  Did you hear the edge
Of winter crumble?

This poem is in the public domain. 

The saddest day will have an eve,
     The darkest night, a morn;
Think not, when clouds are thick and dark,
     Thy way is too forlorn.

For ev’ry cloud that e’er did rise,
     To shade thy life’s bright way,
And ev’ry restless night of pain,
     And ev’ry weary day,

Will bring thee gifts, thou’lt value more,
     Because they cost so dear;
The soul that faints not in the storm,
     Emerges bright and clear.

The credit line is as follows: Songs from the Wayside (Self published, 1908) by Clara Ann Thompson. Copyright © 1908 by Clara Ann Thompson. This poem is in the public domain. 

If every bomb 
Appeared in the sky a dove
Shrapnel into rain

If vengeance vanquished 
From the cursed lips of weak men
An idea never taking root

If every tank vanished
If by chance a miracle
Peace reclaims the land

If laughter broke out
Like wars fought with satire’s
Pugilist punning 

What room would there be
For anger what bitter root
Not allowed to stretch

Its tentacles 
Through the hearts of men hardened
By indifference 

What will we bequeath 
Our children if not a world
Evermore human

Copyright © 2024 by Tony Medina. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 19, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

‘Twas the new moon! 
Since then I waited—
And lo! to-night!
[I have my reward!]

 

 

 

                                              —Translation by William George Aston

’Tis the first snow—
Just enough to bend
The gladiolus leaves!

 

 

 

                                              —Translation by William George Aston

This poem is in the public domain.