Marie Ponsot

Photo: Michael Lionstar

1. Late Spring as Usual

The green vine is moving.
The motion's too slow to be
visible but it is racing,
racing feeling for a way
across the wall of fence
it's scrawling on, inches added every day.
Forwarding, sunwarding, it claims
its place. Green states its claim. It writes
the lesson of the day: longing,
longing coming true while arcing
out and up according to the instruction
of desire. Sun-hungry its tip has tilted
toward sun-space. Already
it is speeding leaf-notes out of its root
all along the sprigless budless thread
still scribbling the deed of its location.
In two weeks or one or four
morning                    glory.

Marie Ponsot, poet

Excerpt from EASY. Copyright © 2009 by Marie Ponsot. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Knopf will give you a free poem every day
Forward

2.
"Whenever you're tempted to dwell in the past, repeat this single word: forward. Brainstorm one positive thought and action to use to keep you moving forward. When you're tempted to indulge in a negative, regressive behavior, swap it for one that will move you forward."

Karen Salmansohn
Oprah

3.
"I believe that when you stop renewing and are no longer open to change and the possibilities that continually unfold, you stop being alive and are just getting through the years. Transformation doesn't happen unless you're willing: It's your choice."

Oprah
Inquisitive woman

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4.
"Inner resilience and the ability to bounce back are personal qualities. ... Align yourself with someone who has this kind of resilience so that your own can be strengthened. Find another oak to weather the storm with you. Anyone who is in touch with his or her core self will always respond."

Deepak Chopra
Vera Pavlova

Photo: Aleksandr Dolgin

5. 8

A beast in winter,
a plant in spring,
an insect in summer,
a bird in autumn.
The rest of the time I am a woman.

Vera Pavlova, poet

Excerpt from If There Is Something to Desire.Translation copyright © 2010 Steven Seymour. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Knopf will give you a free poem every day
Businesswoman

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6.
"What if we lived our lives with a deeper and more conscious awareness of the fact that we get to create our experience of life at any moment? Imagine what our lives, our careers and our relationships would look like if we stopped blaming our experience on other people or on external circumstances. We would free up so much positive energy and take back so much of our personal power."

Mike Robbins, personal growth expert
Butterfly

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7.
"Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis."

Martha Beck, life coach
Ice cream parlor

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8.
Think of Life as a Gigantic Ice Cream Parlor with Infinite Flavors to Taste

Bounce Back Assignment: Tell yourself the goal of life is to taste as many flavors of experiences as you can.

Recognize: Every challenge offers the opportunity to think a new flavor of thought and feel a new flavor of emotion. The more varied the flavors of life you get to taste, the more interesting, layered, educated and world-experienced you'll be. Admittedly, you won't like every flavor. But hey, you don't need to go near that flavor ever again. Instead, indulge in flavors you know you're passionate about! And don't be afraid to taste something that might look funny—you never know!

Karen Salmansohn
Oprah

Photo: George Burns

9.
"I know for sure that I don't want to live a shut-down life—desensitized to feeling, seeing and the possibility of experiencing joy on every level. I want every day to be a fresh start on expanding what is possible."

Oprah
Woman painting nails

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10.
"Find time to reconnect with the woman you used to be—the one your partner fell in love with. Make time for old interests, forgotten girlfriends and grooming rituals. Take long walks through the woods or along the shore. ... Activities such as these recharge your independence and reconnect you to your femininity—things we often lose track of in the stress of day-to-day life."

Dr. Laura Berman
Woman looking out toward water

11.
"Build on past successes, be grateful for what you do have, and know that this, too, shall pass. It's only for the now. Whatever we're facing, it's not forever."

Dave Pelzer, author and self-help expert
Curves and Angles by Brad Leithauser

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12. A GOOD LIST

(Homage to Lorenz Hart)

Some nights, can't sleep, I draw up a list,
Of everything I've never done wrong.
To look at me now, you might insist
My list could hardly be long,
But I've stolen no gnomes from my neighbor's yard,
Or struck his dog, backing out my car.
Never ate my way up and down the Loire
On a stranger's credit card.
I've never given a cop the slip,
Stuffed stiffs in a gravel quarry,
Or silenced Cub Scouts on a first camping trip
With an unspeakable ghost story.
Never lifted a vase from a museum foyer,
Or rifled a Turkish tourist's backpack.
Never cheated at golf. Or slipped out a blackjack
And flattened a patent lawyer.
I never forged a lottery ticket,
Took three on a two-for-one pass,
Or, as a child, toasted a cricket
With a magnifying glass.
I never said "air" to mean "err," or obstructed
Justice, or defrauded a securities firm.
Never mulcted—so far as I understand the term.
Or unjustly usufructed.
I never swindled a widow of all her stuff
By means of a false deed and title
Or stood up and shouted, My God, that's enough!
At a nephew's piano recital.
Never practiced arson, even as a prank,
Brightened church-suppers with off-color jokes,
Concocted an archeological hoax—
Or dumped bleach in a goldfish tank.
Never smoked opium. Or smuggled gold
Across the Panamanian Isthmus.
Never hauled back and knocked a rival out cold,
Or missed a family Christmas.
My list, once started, continues to grow,
Which is all for the good, but just goes to show
It's the good who do not sleep.


Brad Leithauser,  poet


Excerpt from Curves and Angles. Translation copyright ©2006 by Brad Leithauser. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Knopf will give you a free poem every day
Woman starting journey

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13.
"When it comes to exploring your creative side, it's very easy to think of all the reasons you can't do it—you don't have the time, you don't have the money, etc.—but if you are truly passionate about expressing yourself, you can find a way. When you feel as though you can't do something, the simple antidote is action: Begin doing it. Start the process, even if it's just a simple step, and don't stop at the beginning. Take the next step and the next until what you've dreamed about begins to become reality."

Marcus Buckingham, career expert
Oprah

14.
"What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder."

Oprah
Ed and Deb Shapiro

15.
"This is a day to separate what does work for you from what is no longer needed. Time to toss out old regrets, useless feelings or past resentments."

Ed and Deb Shapiro, spiritual teachers
People smiling in a store

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16.
Play Interpersonal Pingpong

If you serve up a smile to people, they usually bounce it back. Hit them with a snarl and watch them scowl instead.

You can use the infectious effects of a grin to jump-start an optimistic outlook in yourself by sending others what you want them to lob back at you. A kind word to the man behind the deli counter can get your day bouncing in the right direction.

Lise Funderburg, O, The Oprah Magazine contributor
Sad woman with candle

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17.
"What was one of the easiest, yet most powerful, strategies for bouncing back buoyantly from adversity? Remembering the mantra, 'I must watch the words I use—because they create the world I see!'"

Karen Salmansohn
Woman waking up

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18.
"No self-judgment, no self-criticism and no self-dislike allowed today! None of it! You are who you are, and who you are is perfect, just as it is."

Ed and Deb Shapiro, spiritual teachers
Vera Pavlova

Photo: Aleksandr Dolgin

19. 17

Why is the word yes so brief?
It should be
the longest,
the hardest,
so that you could not decide in an instant to say it,
so that upon reflection you could stop
in the middle of saying it.

Vera Pavlova, poet

Excerpt from If There Is Something to Desire. Translation copyright © 2010 Steven Seymour. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Knopf will give you a free poem every day
Woman writing in journal

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20.
"Write down the area of your life that most needs your attention right now, and then write out the details of your soul's vision for this part of your life. What does it look like? How will achieving your goal change your life? How will it change the lives of those around you? When you reach your goal, when you fulfill that desire, what will you make room for? Take a few minutes to write it all down."

Debbie Ford
Couple holding a picture frame

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21.
"The stuff is like an anchor—you have to hold on to those memories because they are what has made you who you are—but you have to start putting those things in perspective so you can move into life as an adult."

Peter Walsh, organizational expert
Strong woman

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22.
"In every moment, no matter what is going on, you have the power within you to transform both yourself and your life.'"

Ed and Deb Shapiro, spiritual teachers
Daniel Mendelsohn

Photo: Courtesy of Knopf

23. VOICES

Imagined voices, and beloved, too,
of those who died, or of those who are
lost unto us like the dead.
Sometimes in our dreams they speak to us;
sometimes in its thought the mind will hear them.
And with their sound for a moment there return
sounds from the first poetry of our life—
like music, in the night, far off, that fades away.

Daniel Mendelsohn, poet

Excerpt from C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems. Translation copyright © 2009 by Daniel Mendelsohn. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Knopf will give you a free poem every day
Woman starting over

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24.
"You can have a do-over starting today. But you have to get over the feeling that it's too late."

Jean Chatzky, financial expert
Deepak Chopra

25.
"The first thing to realize is that you are in control of your own energy. ... You can begin to use basic energy—the kind that comes from food, air, loving relationships, nature's beauty and the flow of creativity—for your own good. All these sources of energy are available to you all the time. They are part of your birthright; they connect you to the flow of life, which is constantly renewing itself."

Deepak Chopra
Vera Pavlova

Photo: Aleksandr Dolgin

26. 91

dropped
and falling
from such
heights
for so
long
that
maybe
I will have
enough time
to learn
flying

Vera Pavlova, poet


Excerpt from If There Is Something to Desire. Translation copyright © 2010 Steven Seymour. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Knopf will give you a free poem every day
People walking on bridge

Photo: Comstock/Thinkstock

27.
"Every day is an opportunity to learn something or discover something or someplace. Be curious, play, go out on a limb, walk a different way to work, try a new food at dinner and keep learning and growing."

Sandra Magsamen
Woman reflecting outside

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28.
"Don't take it or yourself too seriously—it's just life. You're allowed to make mistakes, screw things up and fall down (which everyone does and always will). Be kind to yourself in this process. Remember your intentions (those states of being and authentic desires) are what you're truly after, not the specific outcomes or actions."

Mike Robbins, personal growth expert
Woman making no excuses

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29.
"Talk to yourself from the perspective of truly being willing to do whatever it takes rather than relying on the same old excuses that keep you from making those changes. You'll be thrilled with yourself when you adopt an 'I'm willing' attitude."

Dr. Wayne Dyer
Woman meditating outside

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30.
"When you correct your mind, everything else will fall into place."

Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher

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