Out of the Box Coaching and
Breakthroughs with the Enneagram, Mary R. Bast, Ph.D. 
Copyright © 1999. All rights reserved. Revised: October 26, 2014





Poetry & Personality

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Poems That Illustrate Each Enneagram Personality Style:  

“Poetry is the natural ally of the Enneagram in the cultivation of compassion. It convinces us on a deep emotional level, with power and vividness, flying beneath our own radar and enabling us to experience the worldview of another as our own.” Clarence Thomson, Enneagram Central

Ones can be perfectionists and may preach at others who fall short of perfection. Their driving force is anger, which usually erupts when someone has failed to live up to their expectations. They can also have a "running amok" side that allows temporary escape from their own high standards.

Twos typically maintain a "helpful" self-image, giving help and advice whether others want it or not. They may use manipulation to influence people. If feeling betrayed, they can even become vindictive ("after all I've done for you!"). Their driving force is pride (it's difficult to admit they have needs, too).

Threes are self-promoting and can showcase themselves, sometimes at the expense of others. They tend to look outward for their reflection in the eyes of others, and their inner life may be lacking. Their driving force is vanity, which requires always trying to look good; consequently they tend to be self-deceiving, reframing failure as success.

Fours can easily focus on their own flaws and sink into moodiness; their conversation is typically ripe with sad stories. Their driving force is envy, which shows up in dissatisfaction with the ordinary, the mundane: the grass always seems greener somewhere else.

Fives like to think long and hard, and sometimes sound as if they're giving a dissertation. They may have deep and passionate feelings, but they tend to disdain the role of emotions in human interaction. Their driving force is hoarding, which shows up particularly as a detachment from feelings, a stinginess of affection.

Sixes are characterized by self-doubt, indecision, and procrastination. In interaction with others they may look for hidden agendas and can be accusing, especially of those they worry have power over them. To counter their driving force of fear, they may exhibit reckless courage, then worry they've shot themselves in the foot.

Sevens love to tell anecdotes and may forget to invite others to talk, sometimes perceived as oversimplifying or skating over the surface because they're so interested in a variety of attractions. Driven by gluttony in search of pleasure and variety, they're over-focused on enthusiasm and uneasy activity: life MUST be fun!

Eights have a "bull-in-the-china-shop" quality and the reputation of being controlling, because it's difficult to acknowledge vulnerability. Driven by 'lust' (in the sense of excess), they feel responsible to direct situations and may pursue power aggressively. They greatly value justice -- as self-defined!

Nines are "nice" people who tend to merge with others' preferences. Taking a strong position is difficult because they see all sides of an issue and are essentially non-aggressive. Their driving force is indolence - they're often out of touch with their own wishes, a kind of self-forgetting. They tend toward epic tales (it's hard for them to focus).

Mary's Enneagram Poems: "Winding Sheets"

About Poetry:
I Meet My Shadow in the Deepening Shade
Poetry as Healer
A Feast for the Soul

Alphabetical List of Published Poets (click on poem title)

Anthony Abbott: The Philosophers
Sherman Alexie: The Exaggeration of Despair
John Ashbery: The Problem of Anxiety
Margaret Atwood: Bored
W.H. Auden: I Have No Gun, But I Can Spit
Gregory Bateson: The Manuscript
Jeanne Marie Beaumont: Afraid So
Sheila Bender: For My Daughter...
Sheila Bender: My Mother was Here Today
Sheila Bender: Poem of Sustenance 
Wendell Berry: Warning to My Readers
John Berryman: The Animal Trainer (1)
Elizabeth Bishop: Manners
Elizabeth Bishop: One Art
Nina Bogin: Initiation II
Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno: Death Barged In
Emily Brontë: Stanzas
Cathleen Calbert: The Woman Who Loved Things
Billy Collins: Osso Buco
Billy Collins: Forgetfulness
Carolyn Creedon: first communion
Carolyn Creedon: Pub Poem
Carolyn Creedon: litany
e.e. cummings: Sonnets-Unrealities. III.
James Cummins: Freud
Philip Dacey: Prisms
Kate Daniels: Homage to Calvin Spotswood
James Dickey: Kudzu 
Emily Dickinson: I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed
Rita Dove: Three Days of Forest, a River, Free
Stephen Dunn: His Music
Louise Erdrich: The Glass and the Bowl
David Allan Evans: Bullfrogs
Alice Friman: Getting Serious
Carol Frost: To Kill a Deer
Robert Frost: Mending Wall
Mary Frye: Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Gary Gildner: First Practice
Allen Ginsberg: After Yeats
Louise Glück: Cottonmouth Country 
Louise Glück: Unwritten Law
Jessica Goodfellow: The Beach at Big Salt
Barbara Hamby: Ode to Airheads, Hairdos...
Seamus Heaney: Doubletake
Anthony Hecht: Lizards and Snakes
Jane Hirshfield: A Room 
Michael Hofmann: Fine Adjustments
Michael Hofmann:  Last Walk
Jonathan Holden: At a Low Mass For Two Hot-Rodders
John Hollander: Powers of Thirteen-6-Fancy-Pants
Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Windhover
A.E. Housman: To an Athlete Dying Young
Mary Karr: The Worm-Farmer's Lament
Mary Karr: Winter in the City of Friendship
Jane Kenyon: Depression in Winter
Galway Kinnell: Showing My Father through Freedom
Thomas Kinsella: Mirror in February
Paul Klee: Individuality
Maxine Kumin: After Love
Maxine Kumin: Nurture
Stanley Kunitz: The Portrait
Adrie Kusserow: Skull Trees, South Sudan
D.H. Lawrence: The Wild Common
Denise Levertov: Variation on a Theme by Rilke
Philip Levine: Of Love and Other Disasters
Don Marquis: the lesson of the moth
Jill McDonough: Accident, Mass. Ave.
Irene McKinney: Fame
Constance Menefee: If Only
Constance Menefee: Mosaic
W.S. Merwin: The Stranger
W.S. Merwin: Far Country
Jim Wayne Miller: Rechargeable Dry Cell Poem
Susan Mitchell: Ritual
N. Scott Momaday: Comparatives

Pablo Neruda: Summario
Naomi Shihab Nye: Kindness
Sharon Olds: Time of Passion
Mary Oliver: Blackwater Woods 
Mary Oliver: The House
Mary Oliver: The Journey
Mary Oliver: Wild Geese
Alicia Suskin Ostriker: The Blessing of the Old Woman...
Dorothy Parker: Résumé
Dorothy Parker: Comment
Dorothy Parker: A Portrait
Linda Pastan: The Book
Marge Piercy: For Strong Women
Sylvia Plath : Child
Marie Ponsot: One Is One  
Marie Ponsot: Old Mama Saturday
Naomi Replansky: Housing Shortage
Adrienne Rich: Stepping Backward
Rainer Maria Rilke: Presentiment
Teresa Noelle Roberts: Apotheosis of the Kitchen Goddess II
Luis J. Rodríguez: Cloth of Muscle and Hair
Theodore Roethke: In A Dark Time
Theodore Roethke: Root Cellar
Theodore Roethke: The Meadow Mouse
Kay Ryan: A Hundred Bolts of Satin
May Sarton: Now I Become Myself
Susan Fromberg Schaeffer: Confession in April
Susan Fromberg Schaeffer: Afterwards
Philip Schultz: I'm Not Complaining
Anne Sexton: The Bells
Karl Shapiro: How Do You Walk?
Karl Shapiro: The Sickness of Adam
Charles Simic: The Return of the Invisible Man
Charles Simic: Watermelons
Stevie Smith: Not Waving but Drowning
Stephen Spender: Dolphins
William Stafford: Bi-Focal
William Stafford: With Kit, Age Seven, At the Beach
William Stafford: A Story That Could Be True
Pamela Stewart: Pink Pantoum
Edna St. Vincent Millay:
Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry
May Swenson: Beast
May Swenson: The Lightning
Dylan Thomas: Fern Hill
Sharon Thomson: On The Flatlands
Sharon Thomson: Pigeons
John Updike: Dog's Death
Mona Van Duyn: The Delivery
David Wagoner: Lost 
Alice Walker: S M
Ronald Wallace: The Belly Dancer in the Nursing Home 
Lew Welch: He Thanks His Woodpile
Lew Welch: I Saw Myself
Walt Whitman: A noiseless patient spider
Walt Whitman: The World below the Brine
David Whyte: The Faces at Braga
David Whyte: Waking
Anna Wickham: The Marriage
Roger Woddis: Down With Fanatics!
William Wordsworth: Composed Upon Westminster Bridge
William Wordsworth: A slumber did my spirit seal
Charles Wright: The Minor Art of Self-Defense
Paul Zimmer: Zimmer Resisting Temperance
Paul Zimmer: The Great Bird of Love
Al Zolynas: A Nine Considers His Curses and Blessings
Al Zolynas: Postcard From Home