17 Exquisite Poems About Change That Will Transform You

Life is a transformative journey, whether or not you welcome the changes along the way.

Nothing remains the same, and you shouldn’t want it to – even when change is painful or frightening.

Beautiful poetry about change reminds us that even as the seasons change and those we love become different or leave us behind, we evolve and grow into new versions of ourselves. 

The poems about change and growth in our collection reveal how change is exhilarating and bittersweet.

As you read them, open your heart and mind, and embrace change as a welcome friend.

17 Exquisite Poems About Change That Will Transform You

We suggest you first read each poem to yourself and then read them out loud.

You’ll be surprised how profoundly they touch you as you hear the flow of words and absorb their meaning.

Not only are you reading poetry about changes in life – but also you’ll find these are life-changing poems that speak to the deepest parts of your psyche.

man and child walking by lake poems about change

So give them the time they deserve and savor each one like a treasured gift. 

1. There is a life-force within your soul, by Rumi

There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life.
There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that
O traveler, if you are in search of That
Don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek That.

There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life.
There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine.
O traveler, if you are in search of That
Don't look outside, look inside yourself and seek That.

2. Change, by Mary Love

Count me among 
the weird, the odd, the unruly.
Stare if you must
then kindly step out of the way. 
I am here to change the world
and I have a lot to do.

3. When I Rise Up, by Georgia Douglas Johnson

When I rise up above the earth,
And look down on the things that fetter me,
I beat my wings upon the air,
Or tranquil lie,
Surge after surge of potent strength
Like incense comes to me
When I rise up above the earth
And look down upon the things that fetter me.

4. Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

5. Change, by Wendy Videlock

Change is the new,
word for god,
lovely enough
to raise a song
or implicate
a sea of wrongs,
mighty enough,
like other gods,
to shelter,
bring together,
and estrange us.
Please, god,
we seem to say,
change us.

you people standing on ledge poems about change

6. For A New Beginning, by John O’Donahue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

7. Love’s Change, by Robert Bridges

So sweet love seemed that April morn.
When first we kissed beside the thorn,
So strangely sweet, it was not strange
We thought that love could never change.
But I can tell — let truth be told —
That love will change in growing old;
Though day by day is naught to see,
So delicate his motions be.
And in the end 'twill come to pass
Quite to forget what once he was,
Nor even in fancy to recall
The pleasure that was all in all.
His little spring, that sweet we found.
So deep in summer floods is drowned,
I wonder, bathed in joy complete.
How love so young could be so sweet.

8. Change, by Kathleen Jessie Raine

Said the sun to the moon,
You cannot stay.
Says the moon to the waters,
All is flowing.
Says the fields to the grass,
Seed-time and harvest,
Chaff and grain.
You must change said,
Said the worm to the bud,
Though not to a rose,
Petals fade
That wings may rise
Borne on the wind.
You are changing
said death to the maiden, your wan face
To memory, to beauty.
Are you ready to change?
Says the thought to the heart, to let her pass
All your life long
For the unknown, the unborn
In the alchemy
Of the world's dream?
You will change,
says the stars to the sun,
Says the night to the stars.

9. The Song of the Potter, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Turn, turn, my wheel! Turn round and round,
Without a pause, without a sound:
So spins the flying world away!
This clay, well mixed with marl and sand,
Follows the motion of my hand;
For some must follow, and some command,
Though all are made of clay!
Turn, turn, my wheel! All things must change
To something new, to something strange;
Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
To-morrow be to-day.

10. The Struggle, by Edgar A. Guest

Life is a struggle for peace,
A longing for rest,
A hope for the battles to cease,
A dream for the best;
And he is not living who stays
Contented with things,
Unconcerned with the work of the days
And all that it brings.
He is dead who sees nothing to change,
No wrong to make right;
Who travels no new way or strange
In search of the light;
Who never sets out for a goal
That he sees from afar
But contents his indifferent soul
With things as they are.
Life isn't rest — it is toil;
It is building a dream;
It is tilling a parcel of soil
Or bridging a stream;
It's pursuing the light of a star
That but dimly we see,
And in wresting from things as they are
The joy that should be.

11. Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII, by Rainer Maria Rilke

Want the change.  Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.
What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.
Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.
Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive.  And Daphne, becoming
a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

More Related Articles

25 Exquisitely Beautiful Poems About Life

19 Profound Heartbreak Poems You Will So Relate To

21 Poems About Love And Pain

12. Before I, by Insiya K. Patanwala

Before I became strong, I knew what it was like
To be weak,
How difficult it is to love yourself,
To find the wholeness that you seek.
Before I knew the light,
I have had my fair share of darkness, too,
Where my world fell into a hopelessness
And I didn’t know how to get through.
For I have known the tears it takes,
The courage to stand up again,
When you are broken down and bruised
And you know nothing but the pain.
You forget to appreciate love,
If you haven’t seen the hate,
Till you forget the meaning of smile and laughter,
And your heart is left abate.
I have known the strength and courage
It requires to get it right,
To face the things that hold you down
And hold your head up and fight.
Before I was who I am now,

I was someone I didn’t want to be.
I was lost, battered, and defeated,
Before I knew how to be me!

woman sitting by lake poems about change

13. A Little Bird Am I, by Hanna Heath

I ask but this one small thing.
Give me the worldly skies
For I cannot stay trapped here
A little bird am I….
Let me leave this here land.
Don’t keep me in a cage.
Let me fly to the highest heights.
Let me come of age.
Let me soar among the clouds.
Let my wings spread into flight.
I need to be free; I need to see
The world without a fright.
I have spent my life so grounded,
But my instincts pull me up.
They tell me to go, to see the new,

To finger each buttercup.
I need to witness greatness,
need the sorrow of poverty.
I need to show the world my wings
And shed this gravity.
I want a life of freedom,
And I want to know what’s real.
I want to step to the edge of earth
And watch the sea reveal.
I want to take the longest ride,
And I want to feel the wind
I want to share this life with you,
So, forgive me, for I have sinned.
For I know I’m leaving you behind
To shadow in my wake,
But I cannot stay in these four walls
Simply for your sake.
I will keep you in my mirror.
With me you’ll always be.
I will share with you my tales,
And I will return to thee.
So I ask but this one small thing
Give me the worldly skies
For I cannot stay trapped here
A little bird am I….

14. Proverbios y Cantares XXIX, by Antonio Machado

Wayfarer, the only way
is your footsteps, there is no other.
Wayfarer, there is no way,
you make the way by walking.
As you go, you make the way
and stopping to look behind,
you see the path that your feet
will never travel again.
Wayfarer, there is no way –
Only foam trails to the sea.

15. The Change Has Come, by Paul Laurence Dunbar

The change has come, and Helen sleeps–
Not sleeps; but wakes to greater deeps
Of wisdom, glory, truth, and light,
Than ever blessed her seeking sight,
In this low, long, lethargic night,
Worn out with strife
Which men call life.
The change has come, and who would say
“I would it were not come to-day”?
What were the respite till to-morrow?
Postponement of a certain sorrow,
From which each passing day would borrow!
Let grief be dumb,
The change has come.

16. Time Changes Everything, by Oscar Dhonesquil Esquilona

Life is a series of joy and sorrow,
Of gladness and pain,
Or of loss and gain.
There are times of hatred,
There are also times of love,
There is a time to quarrel
And a time to reconcile.
There can be reasons to cry
And reasons to smile, too!
No feeling remains the same forever
No moment that it can never change!
As moment passes by,
As time keeps on going on and on,
It changes everything!
Time changes everything.

17. On the Pulse of the Morning, by Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doo
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.

The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.

Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.

The river sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.

They hear.
They all hear
The speaking of the tree.

Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind.
 Come to me, here beside the river.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.

Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers--
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot.
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.

I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours--your passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need.
Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.

Lift up your hearts.

Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.

Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
Into your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

What changes are you experiencing in your life right now? Or how is life presenting you with a moment for transformation and growth?

Hopefully, you found a change poem in our curation that speaks to your experiences and emotions.