The poems on this list approach God and religion in twelve different, inspiring ways.
God and religion are two of the most commonly used themes in any language. The poems on this list are addressed to God, consider religion in a new way, or question the nature of faith. They are written by a variety of poets, from Maya Angelou to John Milton, and take different approaches to the theme of God. In Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ readers can hear from Satan himself while in ‘The Dream of the Rood,’ the speaker addresses the cross on which Christ was crucified.
Best Poems About God
- 1 God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
- 2 Paradise Lost by John Milton
- 3 The Dream of the Rood by Anonymous
- 4 Some keep the Sabbath going to Church by Emily Dickinson
- 5 A Hymn to God the Father by John Donne
- 6 God’s World by Edna St. Vincent Millay
- 7 To Find God by Robert Herrick
- 8 Ash Wednesday by T.S. Eliot
- 9 I Give You Thanks to My God by Bernard Dadié
- 10 The Creation by James Weldon Johnson
- 11 The Tyger by William Blake
- 12 Savior by Maya Angelou
- 13 Sunday Morning by Wallace Stevens
‘God’s Grandeur’ reflects on the physical world as a book written by God. The speaker describes the natural world, as created by God, and in which his presence runs. He goes on to speak about human life, and the state it’s in now. Here are the first four lines:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Paradise Lost by John Milton
‘Paradise Lost’ is John Milton’s epic poem, written in blank verse, and published in 1667. It is ten books long, stretching for over ten thousand lines. It is concerned with the biblical story of the Fall of Man. Here are a few lines in which Satan is calling his troops and reminding them of their goal:
Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable, Doing or suffering: but of this be sure, To do augh good never will be our task; But ever to do ill our sole delight: As being contrary to his high will Whom we resist.
The Dream of the Rood by Anonymous
‘The Dream of the Rood’ is an Old English dream poem. It depicts how the cross felt during the crucifixion of Christ. The three sections of the poem include the speaker seeking the cross, describing it, and thinking about what happened on it. Here are the first three lines in contemporary English:
What I wish to say of the best of dreams,
what came to me in the middle of the night
after the speech-bearers lie biding their rest!
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church by Emily Dickinson
‘Some keep the Sabbath going to Church’ is an interesting poem in which the speaker rethinks the idea of going to church and what it can mean when one is at home. Her speaker makes her own “church” at her home with a bird, or “Bobolink,” as the chorister. Here is the first stanza:
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –
In ‘A Hymn to God the Father,’ the speaker prays to God that he might be forgiven for all the terrible sins he’s committed. He isn’t responsible for all of the human suffering, but he’s done enough in his own life to feel very guilty about it. The speaker believes that he needs God to resolve his troubles.
Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
In ‘God’s World,’ Millay’s speaker spends the lines of the poem thinking about nature and the importance of each sight. She wants to hold the earth to her and keep it close as possible. The world and all its landscapes are important to her.
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists, that roll and rise!
‘To Find God’ centers around the long-lasting human quest to try to understand if God is real, and if so, what form God takes. He leaves the reader with images related to these questions and with the desire to continue contemplating the nature of the world.
Weigh me the fire; or canst thou find
A way to measure out the wind?
Distinguish all those floods that are
Mixed in that wat’ry theater,
In this long poem, Eliot meditates on his religious conversion and the kind of power that transition holds. He describes his need for God to make him live a new kind of life. This poem is generally considered as part of Eliot’s shift towards more devotional poetry and away from the secular world.
Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
This poem describes the nature of Blackness and the speaker’s gratitude for God’s strength. He bears the weight of the world, as Christ did, but when he looks over his body and his life, he’s grateful for what he has.
I give you thanks my God for having created me black
For having made of me
The total of all sorrows,
‘The Creation’ is one of Johnson’s best-known poems. In this piece, Johnson taps into religious themes, particularly, the creation of the heavens and of Earth.
And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I’ll make me a world.
‘The Tyger’ is one of Blake’s most famous poems. It is short and spends its lines contemplating the strength of the tiger. He considers how God, who is benevolent and the creator of many beautiful things, also made the tiger. Here are the first four lines:
Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry
In ‘Savior,’ Angelou takes a new approach to religious writing. She speaks directly to God, asking that he “visit” her again and to renew everyone’s faith in him. Here is the first stanza:
Petulant priests, greedy
centurions, and one million
incensed gestures stand
between your love and me.
In Sunday Morning, Wallace Stevens’s speaker discusses the nature of the afterlife and the role of God and nature in the creation of paradise. The speaker describes a woman spending her Sunday morning sitting outside rather than going into a church. She dreams, feels guilty about the death of Christ, and takes a journey to Palestine and Christ’s tomb. She decides that she isn’t willing to give up her life to God. Here are the first five lines of stanza one:
Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.