Selected Poems

13 Never Give Up Poems that will Lift Your Spirit Up

Last Updated: December 31, 2022
never give up

Life is not easy. There will be many times that you’ll be discouraged and don’t want to continue on your path. We’ve all been there. People will tell us to “never give up” and that all this shall pass. But most of the time, it just feels like some cliché people say. 

That’s when an art medium such as poetry can help. It might still be that same message, but it hits differently if we listen to it through a poem. So in this article, I’ve collected some of the best never give up poems. Hopefully, at least one of them will aid you through the rough patches in life. 

1. Roll the Dice by Charles Bukowski

if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
otherwise, don’t even start.

Bukowski’s Roll the Dice is a call to action, urging the reader to “go all the way” in whatever pursuit they may be engaged in. The author suggests that these challenges are all a test of one’s endurance and determination, encouraging the reader to embrace risk and challenge and to embrace the possibility of failure as a means of achieving greatness.

Lex Fridman and many other highly accomplished persons take the phrase “Roll the Dice” as their motto and work to promote its meaning and message in order to inspire others to go above and beyond what they anticipate of themselves.

2. Don’t Quit by Edgar A. Guest

And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Don’t Quit by Edgar A. Guest is a motivational message encouraging the reader to persevere in the face of adversity. The author encourages the reader to “stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit” and to remember that “it may be near when it seems afar.”, sometimes all we need is a little bit more perseverance and determination in the face of challenges and setbacks

The poem is written in the form of a conversation between the speaker and an inner voice that tries to discourage the speaker from continuing on their journey. The speaker responds to this inner voice, urging it to keep going and not give up. Overall, the poem is meant to inspire the reader to keep going even when things seem difficult and to remember that success may be just around the corner.

3. Don’t give up by Mario Benedetti

Because every day is a new beginning,
Because this is the hour and the best moment.
Because you are not alone, because I love you.

Don’t give up by Mario Benedetti reminds us to keep pushing through difficult times and never lose sight of our goals and dreams. The poem is structured around the refrain “Don’t give up,” which is repeated multiple times throughout the poem. This repetition serves to emphasize the importance of the message and to remind the reader of the importance of perseverance. It speaks to the idea that, no matter how difficult a situation may seem, we should never give up and should always keep fighting.

On the other hand, it’s also necessary to remember that it’s okay to take breaks and rest when needed but to always come back with renewed energy and determination. Life can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that we are all capable of overcoming obstacles and achieving our dreams.

4. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken describes the speaker’s decision to take a path less traveled through a wood, and the impact this choice has had on their life. The poem explores the theme of individual choice and its consequences. It suggests that sometimes, taking the road less traveled can lead to new and exciting experiences, but it also implies that this choice may come with some level of uncertainty or risk.

Robert Frost’s message can be understood as an encouragement to never give up and to follow your own path, even if it is not the most popular or conventional choice. The speaker in the poem chose the road less traveled, and this choice ultimately made all the difference in his life. This can be seen as a metaphor for the importance of following one’s own passions and dreams, rather than conforming to the expectations of others.

5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas is a villanelle, a type of poetry that consists of nineteen lines, with the first and third lines repeating alternately in the following four tercets, and ending with a final quatrain that includes both repeated lines.

The poem is about the inevitability of death, and the speaker’s urging to fight against it. The repetition of the phrase “do not go gentle into that good night” serves as a refrain, emphasizing the speaker’s message to not simply accept death, but to rage against it. It encourages the reader to confront death with determination and not give up without a struggle. The final lines of the poem, in which the speaker addresses his father, suggest that this message is personal and emotional for the speaker.

6. Mind and Heart by Charles Bukowski

unaccountably we are alone
forever alone
and it was meant to be
that way,

Charles Bukowski has come to a place of acceptance and peace with the idea of being alone and the impermanence of life. It is natural to feel a sense of loss when we contemplate our own mortality, but it is also important to find ways to appreciate and make the most of the time we have.

Despite our mortality, the author of Mind and Heart encourages us to focus on the positive aspects of life, such as the relationships and experiences that bring us joy and fulfillment. It is also important to take care of ourselves and find ways to find meaning and purpose in life. Remember that it is okay to seek support and connection with others when we need it, and that it is possible to find fulfillment and happiness even in the face of challenges and loss.

7. If— by Rudyard Kipling

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;

If by Rudyard Kipling offers a set of challenges and suggestions for how to be a strong, resilient, and virtuous person. The poem encourages the reader to be confident and self-reliant, to treat success and failure with equanimity, to be modest and humble, and to be able to connect with and relate to people of all kinds, etc.

Overall, “If” is a thought-provoking and inspiring poem that encourages readers to cultivate self-discipline, courage, and resilience in the face of challenges and setbacks. It is a reminder that, if one can meet these challenges, one will have the strength and character to face the ups and downs of life and be a true “Man,” in the sense of being a fully-realized and respected human being.

8. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou is a powerful and inspiring work that celebrates resilience and the human spirit. The poem speaks to the struggles and oppression that many people, particularly people of color, have faced throughout history.

The poem suggests that even in the face of adversity, it is possible to rise up and overcome obstacles, to find hope and resilience, and to embrace and celebrate one’s own identity and culture. The poem speaks to the enduring power of the human spirit and the importance of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity.

9. Instructions on Not Giving Up by Ada Limón

the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Limón’s Instructions on Not Giving Up is a poem that celebrates the resilience and renewal of nature, specifically the greening of trees in the springtime. The speaker is struck by the beauty of the cherry blossoms and fuchsia flowers, but it is the return of the leaves that truly moves them.

The leaves represent the tree’s ability to endure and recover from the challenges of winter, and to embrace the new season with hope and optimism. The poem suggests that nature has a capacity for perseverance and renewal that is inspiring and uplifting and also touches on the idea that nature can serve as a source of solace and inspiration in the face of human struggles and difficulties.

10. nobody but you by Charles Bukowski

nobody can save you but
yourself.
you will be put again and again
into nearly impossible
situations.

nobody but you by Charles Bukowski is an important reminder that we are responsible for our own well-being and that we have the ability to save ourselves from difficult situations. It takes courage and determination to overcome challenges and to stay true to ourselves, but it is worth the effort.

It is necessary to remember that we are all worth saving and to take care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally. It is also important to surround ourselves with people who support and inspire us, as they can help to lift us up during difficult times.

11. Meditations in an Emergency by Cameron Awkward-Rich

There are no borders, only wind. Like you, I was born. Like you, I was raised in the institution of dreaming. Hand on my heart. Hand on my stupid heart.

Meditations in an Emergency by Cameron Awkward-Rich is a poem that expresses a sense of sadness and longing, as well as a sense of connection to the world and its suffering. The author is deeply moved by the beauty and pain of the world, and that they long to find a way to love and connect with it. The dream of loving the world suggests a desire to find a sense of unity and belonging, and to overcome the boundaries and divisions that divide us.

The poem speaks to the universal experience of feeling deeply connected to the world and its struggles, and to the longing to find a way to love and make a difference.

12. Invictus by ‎William Ernest Henley

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

Henley’s Invictus was written while the author was facing difficult circumstances, described as a “night” that covers them and a “fell clutch of circumstance.” Despite this, the speaker remains determined and unyielding, refusing to flinch or cry out.

The poem suggests that inside everyone has an “unconquerable soul” and a sense of inner strength and courage that allows them to face the challenges and horrors of the world with resilience and fortitude. The author asserts their autonomy and agency, declaring themselves to be the “master of my fate” and the “captain of my soul.” The poem speaks to the enduring power of the human spirit and the importance of resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

13. Life is Fine by Langston Hughes

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry–
I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

In Life is Fine, the speaker describes two situations in which they might have died, by drowning in a river and jumping off a building. In both cases, he is saved by the extreme conditions, the cold water of the river, and the height of the building. Despite these close calls, he remains determined to live on and enjoy life.

Langston Hughes suggests that even in the face of danger and adversity, it is possible to find a sense of humor and to embrace the joy and beauty of life. The final lines of the poem, “Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!” capture this sense of optimism and appreciation for the gift of life.

Final thoughts

So that’s all our poems about not giving up. Whatever difficulty that you’re dealing with right now, I wish you all the strength necessary to overcome it. This may come off as cliché, but don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need to. There’s no shame in that. Be self reliance, but knowing when to reach out for help is not a weakness. 

And if you have your own never give up poem, don’t hesitate to share it with us or on a poetry community. We all need some good poems in our lives to lift our spirits up.

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