12 Poems About Regret Plus Inspiration for Moving Forward

Every human being makes mistakes in life, it’s a different matter, some learn from them and some don’t. Instead of regretting past mistakes, one should try to avoid them in the future. Later times also delay us in taking some good decisions but we should never do the same thing in future. Instead of regretting them, we should move forward. These are all part of life. Here are some poems about regret that will motivate you to keep going.

The Other Fellow

Poems About Regret


There’s A Regret

by William Ernest Henley

There’s a regret
So grinding, so immitigably sad,
Remorse thereby feels tolerant, even glad . . .
Do you not know it yet?

For deeds undone
Rankle and snarl and hunger for their due,
Till there seems naught so despicable as you
In all the grin o’ the sun.

Like an old shoe
The sea spurns and the land abhors, you lie
About the beach of Time, till by and by
Death, that derides you too-

Death, as he goes
His ragman’s round, espies you, where you stray,
With half-an-eye, and kicks you out of his way;
And then-and then, who knows

But the kind Grave
Turns on you, and you feel the convict Worm,
In that black bridewell working out his term,
Hanker and grope and crave?

‘Poor fool that might-
That might, yet would not, dared not, let this be,
Think of it, here and thus made over to me
In the implacable night!’

And writhing, fain
And like a triumphing lover, he shall take
His fill where no high memory lives to make
His obscene victory vain.


To Wish

Poet: Catherine Pulsifer

To wish you hadn’t done a thing
Is not a good feeling
To be filled with remorse about this thing
Can hold you back from truly living

You can’t go back and change the past
By doing this you’re making mistakes last
Learn what you can and move on
Today is the breaking of a new dawn.

We all fall down at times
But regret should not be the chime
Start again this very day
Don’t let yesterday’s regret stay.


Weight Of Thought

Weight of Thought


Might Have Been

Poet: Grantland Rice

Here’s to “The days that might have been”;
Here’s to “The life I might have led”;
The fame I might have gathered in–
The glory ways I might have sped.
Great “Might Have Been,” I drink to you
Upon a throne where thousands hail–
And then–there looms another view–
I also “might have been” in jail.

O “Land of Might Have Been,” we turn
With aching hearts to where you wait;
Where crimson fires of glory burn,
And laurel crowns the guarding gate;
We may not see across your fields
The sightless skulls that knew their woe–
The broken spears–the shattered shields–
That “might have been” as truly so.

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen”–
So wails the poet in his pain–
The saddest are, “It might have been,”
And world-wide runs the dull refrain.
The saddest? Yes–but in the jar
This thought brings to me with its curse,
I sometimes think the gladdest are
“It might have been a blamed sight worse.”


Facing The Future

Poet: Anna Shipton

Is the road very dreary?
Patience yet.
Rest will be sweeter if thou art a-weary,
And after night cometh the morning cheery;
Then bide a wee and dinna fret.

The clouds have silver lining,
Don’t forget.
And though he’s hidden, still the sun is shining;
Courage! instead of tears and vain repining,
Just bide a wee and dinna fret.

With toil and cares unending
Art beset?
Bethink thee how the storms, from heaven descending,
Snap the stiff oak, but spare the willow bending,
And bide a wee and dinna fret.

Grief sharper sting doth borrow
From regret;
But yesterday is gone, and shall its sorrow
Unfit us for the present and the morrow?
Nay; bide a wee and dinna fret.

An over-anxious brooding
Doth beget
A host of fears and fantasies deluding;
Then, brother, lest these torments be intruding,
Just bide a wee and dinna fret.


May We So Live

by O. Howard Perkins

May we soon learn,
That if we would make the day happy and worthwhile,
We must not seek our own pleasure and good,
But that of our brethren.

May we so live that when
The night shadows are again upon us,
There shall be no cause
For shame or regret.



Poet: E. K. Linton

To thee, as to some silent forest stream,
I come, O night, to cleanse me from the day;
From all its restless hours, which neath the sway
Of savage sunlight quiver and dance and gleam
In strange delight; and yet, O night, I deem
Thy depth and darkness and the dim delay
Of thy slow waters sweeter far away
With quietude, than the strong day’s bright dream.

Close o’er my head with silence and the chill
Grasp of sweet waters, that no fear or fret
Of glamorous day may linger, or regret
Sully my soul ere it lies calm and still.
Enfold me. Darkness, that I may forget
All the sad toil of Life’s perpetual hill.


Do Not Wait

Poet: Lumilla Claire Clark

Are there duties left undone?
Are there laurels to be won?
While the new year has begun,
Do not wait.

Is there someone’s heart to cheer?
Have you made life’s road less drear?
You’ve a chance in this new year.
Do not wait.

Have you left life’s pages wet?
With the tears of some regret?
You’ve a few bright pages yet.
Do not wait.

Fill them full of life’s that true,
Scatter smiles when days look blue,
They’ll reflect more light to you.
Do not wait.

Are your records just as bright
As you wish they were to-night?
You can make them nearer right.
Do not wait.



Poet: Unknown

If only we had loved them more,
Our lost, whom love can never reach;
Who thrill not at our tenderest speech,
Nor answer, though our hearts implore!

If only for one little day, –
One day of days, – they could return,
How would our grateful spirits yearn
To lavish treasures on their way!

Our feet to serve them, ah, how swift!
Our hands how gentle! and our eyes
How clear to see, should shadows rise,
Or griefs their perfect gladness rift!

Too late! come back no vanished hours;
But, living and beloved, there still
Remain sweet friends. Be ours the will
To strew their paths with thornless flowers!


The Better Way

Poet: Samuel Henry Longley

Do you think you missed a step
In your walk of yesterday?
Do you think you failed to score
In the game you had to play?

Did you fail to speak a word
That would cheer a troubled soul?
Did you miss the chance to smile
When ‘twould make a bruised heart whole?

Let it make you strive the harder
In the work the morrow brings
Just to make your fellows brighter
With the song your own heart sings.

Let it make your hand more eager
To uplift the man who falls.
Let your heart o’erflow with courage
For the fainting one who calls.

Do not let the former failure
Check the loving help today,
Rather let it urge you onward
To a kinder, gentler way.


What We Might Have Been

Poet: Adelaide A. Procter

Have we not all, amid lifers petty strife,
Some pure ideal of a noble life
That once seemed possible? Did we not hear
The flutter of its wings and feel it near.
And just within our reach? It was. And yet
We lost it in this daily jar and fret.
But still our place is kept and it will wait,
Ready for us to fill it, soon or late.
No star is ever lost we once have seen:
We always may be what we might have been.


Read More: Poems About Overcoming Challenges

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