Ready To Start Fresh With Life? Read These 23 Poems About New Beginnings

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, is quoted as saying, “Change is the only constant in life.”

We may think we’re hunkered down and settled in, only for life to throw us an unexpected curveball.

Change can happen to you, but often it’s beneficial to make it happen.

Start over.

Begin again.

Seek new opportunities.

Creating a life of adventure and transformation is the best way to live it to the fullest.

If you’re teetering on the edge of change or tinkering with the idea of shaking up your life, these hand-selected poems about change and growth may give you the nudge you need.

23 Stirring Poems About New Beginnings

Who knows what life has in store for you. You might be in the midst of a life challenge and wonder what’s on the other side.  

Or you could be considering starting over somehow, but you’re trapped by fear and uncertainty. These inspirational poems on new beginnings can speak to you in ways that unlock confusion and spark hope. 

1. 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.

2. New Life, New Love by Henry Lawson

The breezes blow on the river below,
And the fleecy clouds float high,
And I mark how the dark green gum trees match
The bright blue dome of the sky.
The rain has been, and the grass is green
Where the slopes were bare and brown,
And I see the things that I used to see
In the days ere my head went down.
I have found a light in my long dark night,
Brighter than stars or moon;
I have lost the fear of the sunset drear,
And the sadness of afternoon.
Here let us stand while I hold your hand,
Where the light’s on your golden head —
Oh! I feel the thrill that I used to feel
In the days ere my heart was dead.
The storm’s gone by, but my lips are dry
And the old wrong rankles yet —
Sweetheart or wife, I must take new life
From your red lips warm and wet!
So let it be, you may cling to me,
There is nothing on earth to dread,
For I’ll be the man that I used to be
In the days ere my heart was dead!

3. Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,   
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.
So much of any year is flammable,   
lists of vegetables, partial poems.   
Orange swirling flame of days,   
so little is a stone.
Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,   
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.   
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,   
only the things I didn’t do   
crackle after the blazing dies.

4. Starting Over by David Harris

Within every life there comes a time
when you need to take a break,
to start something new.
A point at when your life seems stale
and starting over is the only thing to do.
Not everyone wants to do it,
in fact most refuse to try.
They idle away each day,
not realising they need to do something new.
The world passes by them
as they stand at the garden gate
and before they know it
starting over for them is too late.
Therefore, if you need to get out of a rut
before it is too late,
start looking for something new
to enhance your life with beauty,
which you have forgotten what it was like.
Starting over can make you a new person,
sometimes even better than before.

5. Morning on Shinnecock by Olivia Ward Bush-Banks

The rising sun had crowned the hills,
And added beauty to the plain;
O grand and wondrous spectacle!
That only nature could explain.
I stood within a leafy grove,
And gazed around in blissful awe;
The sky appeared one mass of blue,
That seemed to spread from sea to shore.
Far as the human eye could see,
Were stretched the fields of waving corn.
Soft on my ear the warbling birds
Were heralding the birth of morn.
While here and there a cottage quaint
Seemed to repose in quiet ease
Amid the trees, whose leaflets waved
And fluttered in the passing breeze.
O morning hour! so dear thy joy,
And how I longed for thee to last;
But e’en thy fading into day
Brought me an echo of the past.
‘Twas this,—how fair my life began;
How pleasant was its hour of dawn;
But, merging into sorrow’s day,
Then beauty faded with the morn.

6. The New Love by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I thought my heart was death chilled,
I thought its fires were cold;
But the new love, the new love,
It warmeth like the old.
I thought its rooms were shadowed
With the gloom of endless night;
But the new love, the new love,
It fills them full of light.
I thought the chambers empty,
And proclaimed it unto men;
But the new love, the new love,
It peoples them again.
I thought its halls were silent,
And hushed the whole day long;
But the new love, the new love,
It fills them full of song.
Then here is to the new love,
Let who will sing the old;
The new love, the new love,
‘Tis more than fame or gold.
For it gives us joy for sorrow,
And it gives us warmth for cold;
Oh! the new love, the new love,
‘Tis better than the old.

7. The World That Awaits by Julie Hebert

The sun is shining,
On this amazing day,
Of new beginnings,
And farewells to say.
Our new road is paved,
With a new path in sight.
It's time to take it,
It feels quite right.
We will say farewell,
To all we've known.
The knowledge we will take with us
And no longer be attending class.
It's time to explore,
The world that awaits.
Allow yourself to,
Embrace your fate.

8. A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water’d shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me …

9. May Night by Sarah Teasdale

The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.
Here in the moving shadows
I catch my breath and sing,
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring.

10. 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.

11. Your Mission by G.M Grannis

If you cannot on the ocean
Sail among the swiftest fleet,
Rocking on the highest billows,
Laughing at the storms you meet;
You can stand among the sailors
Anchored yet within the bay;
You can lend a hand to help them
As they launch their boat away.
If you are too weak to journey
Up the mountain steep and high,
You can stand within the valley
While the multitudes go by;
You can chant in happy measure
As they slowly pass along;
Though they may forget the singer
They will not forget the song.
If you have not gold and silver
Ever ready to command;
If you cannot toward the needy,
Reach an ever-open hand;
You can visit the afflicted,
O'er the erring you can weep;
You can be a true disciple
Sitting at the Saviour's feet.
If you cannot in the harvest
Garner up the richest sheaves,
Many a grain both ripe and golden
Will the careless reapers leave;
Go and glean among the briers
Growing rank against the wall,
For it may be that their shadow
Hides the heaviest wheat of all.
If you cannot in the conflict
Prove yourself a soldier true,
If where fire and smoke are thickest
There's no work for you to do;
When the battle-field is silent
You can go with careful tread:
You can bear away the wounded,
You can cover up the dead.
If you cannot be the watchman,
Standing high on Zion's wall,
Pointing out the path to heaven,
Offering life and peace to all;
With your prayers and with your bounties
You can do what Heaven demands,
You can be like faithful Aaron,
Holding up the prophet's hands.
Do not, then, stand idly waiting
For some greater work to do;
Fortune is a lazy goddess–
She will never come to you.
Go and toil in any vineyard,
Do not fear to do or dare;
If you want a field of labor
You can find it anywhere.

12. The Beginning by Rupert Brooke

Some day I shall rise and leave my friends
And seek you again through the world's far ends,
You whom I found so fair
(Touch of your hands and smell of your hair!),
My only god in the days that were.
My eager feet shall find you again,
Though the sullen years and the mark of pain
Have changed you wholly; for I shall know
(How could I forget having loved you so?),
In the sad half-light of evening,
The face that was all my sunrising.
So then at the ends of the earth I'll stand
And hold you fiercely by either hand,
And seeing your age and ashen hair
I'll curse the thing that once you were,
Because it is changed and pale and old
(Lips that were scarlet, hair that was gold!),
And I loved you before you were old and wise,
When the flame of youth was strong in your eyes,
— And my heart is sick with memories.

13. Morning Song by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry   
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

14. The Journey Of Life by William Cullen Bryant

Beneath the waning moon I walk at night,
And muse on human life, for all around
Are dim uncertain shapes that cheat the sight,
And pitfalls lurk in shade along the ground,
And broken gleams of brightness, here and there,
Glance through, and leave unwarmed the death-like air.
The trampled earth returns a sound of fear,
A hollow sound, as if I walked on tombs!
And lights, that tell of cheerful homes, appear
Far off, and die like hope amid the glooms.
A mournful wind across the landscape flies,
And the wide atmosphere is full of sighs.
And I, with faltering footsteps, journey on,
Watching the stars that roll the hours away,
Till the faint light that guides me now is gone,
And, like another life, the glorious day
Shall open o’er me from the empyreal height,
With warmth, and certainty, and boundless light.

15. Lost Love – New Beginning by Andrea Szyhowski

The love of hope and dreams forgotten,
The scars of what was never meant to be remain,
The truth of this lost love turned into a lie,
The lost love last goodbye.
The pain that comes with love is bitter-sweet,
The joy and happiness is too,
The lost love never forgotten,
The feels though gone.
And now
A new window opens,
A new chance begins,
A new hope can bloom,
A new destiny starts.
A new life begins,
A new dream thought up,
A new….
I'm a new…
My life changes,
My destiny starts,
My hope begins,
My life a new
So am I still….
Still the girl I've always been?

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16. New Birch Leaf by Sarah Chansakar

New leaf
On my birch
A fresh start of

17. The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.
Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.
The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

18. 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.

19. Begin Something by Paul Thomas Berkey

Begin something today –
that carries with
great depth,
feelings of meaning 
and love
to echo throughout
your life –
until the end of time.

20. Travel On by Unknown

Put the past behind you
Ride brave into the wind
Seize a new adventure
Seek a new life to begin
Hit the road full throttle
Travel where you’ve never been
Don’t focus on the rear-view
Those miles won’t come again
Choose a destination
Where your weary soul can mend
The happiness you seek
May be just around the bend

21. Wild Dreams of a New Beginning by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

There's a breathless hush on the freeway tonight
Beyond the ledges of concrete
restaurants fall into dreams
with candlelight couples
Lost Alexandria still burns
in a billion lightbulbs
Lives cross lives
idling at stoplights
Beyond the cloverleaf turnoffs
‘Souls eat souls in the general emptiness'
A piano concerto comes out a kitchen window
A yogi speaks at Ojai
‘It's all taking pace in one mind'
On the lawn among the trees
lovers are listening
for the master to tell them they are one
with the universe
Eyes smell flowers and become them
There's a deathless hush
on the freeway tonight
as a Pacific tidal wave a mile high
sweeps in
Los Angeles breathes its last gas
and sinks into the sea like the Titanic all lights lit
Nine minutes later Willa Cather's Nebraska
sinks with it
The sea comes over in Utah
Mormon tabernacles washed away like barnacles
Coyotes are confounded & swim nowhere
An orchestra onstage in Omaha
keeps on playing Handel's Water Music
Horns fill with water
and bass players float away on their instruments
clutching them like lovers horizontal
Chicago's Loop becomes a rollercoaster
Skyscrapers filled like water glasses
Great Lakes mixed with Buddhist brine
Great Books watered down in Evanston
Milwaukee beer topped with sea foam
Beau Fleuve of Buffalo suddenly become salt
Manhatten Island swept clean in sixteen seconds
buried masts of Amsterdam arise
as the great wave sweeps on Eastward
to wash away over-age Camembert Europe
manhattan steaming in sea-vines
the washed land awakes again to wilderness
the only sound a vast thrumming of crickets
a cry of seabirds high over
in empty eternity
as the Hudson retakes its thickets
and Indians reclaim their canoes

22. New Beginnings by Hamsa Elfarash

It's only the beginning now,
A pathway yet unknown,
At times the sound of other steps,
Sometimes we walk alone.
The best beginnings of our lives,
May sometimes end in sorrow,
But even on our darkest days,
The sun will shine tomorrow
So we must do our very best,
Whatever life may bring,
And look to the winter as a guest,
To smell the breath of spring.
Into each life will always come,
A time to start a new,
A new beginning in each heart,
As fresh as morning dew.
The past has its secrets, but the present does too,
In order to establish the future, we must do what we do,
In time we will find it and make happiness flow,
We just need patience in the beginning and in time we'll grow.
The years will never take away,
Our chance to start a new,
It's only the beginning now,
So dreams can still come true.

23. The Land of Beginning Again by Louisa Fletcher

I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door,
And never put on again.
I wish we could come on it all unaware,
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail;
And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be at the gates like an old friend that waits
For the comrade he’s gladdest to hail.
We would find all the things we intended to do
But forgot, and remembered too late,
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken,
And all of the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
The day for one less fortunate.
It wouldn’t be possible not to be kind
In the land of Beginning Again;
And the ones we misjudged and the ones
Whom we grudged
The moments of victory here
Would find in the grasp of our loving handclasp
More than penitent lips could explain
For what had been hardest we’d know had been best
And what had seemed loss would be gain;
For there isn’t a sting that will not take wing
When we’ve faced it and laughed it away;
And I think that the laughter is most what we’re after
In the land of Beginning Again.
So I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door,
And never be put on again.

We hope you found the perfect poem about new beginnings to address the changes in your life. Sometimes, you need to read poetry more than once to capture the deeper message for you and your life.

It can be helpful to write a poem down or even read it aloud to yourself. Or choose lines from a poem as journal prompts to unlock your feelings and hopes about the new start ahead. 

This poetry about changes in life and starting over reminds you that change is something to embrace, not fear.