Fear

an afternoon nap

by Arthur Yap

‘an afternoon nap’ by Arthur Yap explores the lacunae in the modern education system and how it results in anxiety and stress in students.

Yap, in his poem 'an afternoon nap,' showcases how a strict mother's actions instill constant pressure and fear in her boy's mind.

Equinox

by Elizabeth Alexander

‘Equinox’ by Elizabeth Alexander is a heartfelt poem about death and how all living things are forced to contend with it. The speaker uses a creative metaphor comparing bees on the equinox to her grandmother. 

All living things, the speaker suggests, feel fear when they consider their impending death and the losses they're going to suffer. But, that fear comes out in slightly different ways.

The Sheep Child

by James Dickey

‘The Sheep Child’ by James L. Dickey is a surprising and memorable poem that describes a half-sheep, half-human child that frightens the local farm boys into controlling their sexual lust. 

The young farm boys fear the sheep child and what it represents. They don't want to be part of the creation of such a creature and therefore keep away from farm animals.

August, Los Angeles, Lullaby

by Carol Muske-Dukes

‘August, Los Angeles, Lullaby’ by Carol Muske-Dukes is a contemporary poem about bringing life into the world and the worries that plague a mother after giving birth. 

The speaker is clearly experiencing fear when she considers the future her daughter is going to have and what she can do to make that future as good as possible. This is heightened by the fact that she knows she had bad experiences in childhood despite her mother wanting the best for her.

3 November 1984

by Sujata Bhatt

In ‘3 November 1984,’ Indian-English poet Sujata Bhatt shows how history plays a vital role in the process of writing poetry, and their interconnectedness.

A Long Journey

by Musaemura Zimunya

‘A Long Journey’ by Musaemura Zimunya is based on the changes that came to Rhodesia, a small country in southern Africa, after British colonial rule. The speaker explores the positive changes and the negative.

A Pastoral

by Agha Shahid Ali

‘A Pastoral’ by Agha Shahid Ali is a moving poem. In it, the poet reflects his love for Kashmir and his affection for his motherland.

A Slumber did my Spirit Seal

by William Wordsworth

‘A Slumber did my Spirit Seal’ by William Wordsworth is one of five “Lucy” poems that Wordsworth published in the volume Lyrical Ballads, that he co-authored with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map

by Stephen Spender

‘A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map’ by Stephen Spender explores the Spanish Civil War through the lyrical depiction of one man’s death. It is marked by a stopwatch, the olive trees, and the continued conflict around him. 

Advent

by Gillian Clarke

Gillian Clarke’s free-verse poem ‘Advent’ depicts a lifeless winter landscape where everything is frozen to a state that instills despair and hopelessness in the speaker’s heart.

Air Raid

by Stephen Spender

Stephen Spender’s poem ‘Air Raid’ depicts the impact of the Blitz or German Luftwaffe air strike on the United Kingdom.

Amethyst Beads

by Eavan Boland

‘Amethyst Beads’ by Eavan Boland alludes to Greek mythology and the suffering of a child, Persephone, after she was separated from her mother, Demeter.

Answers

by Elizabeth Jennings

‘Answers’ by Elizabeth Jennings describes how one speaker compartmentalizes the big questions and answers in life in the back of her mind. 

Ariel

by Sylvia Plath

‘Ariel’ by Sylvia Plath is a deeply metaphorical poem. It focuses on the speaker’s experiences during a terrifying horseback ride.

Being Brave at Night

by Edgar Guest

‘Being Brave at Night’ is written by the American poet Edgar Albert Guest and it was published in his poetry collection Rhymes of Childhood. The speaker of this piece talks about how he is not afraid of anything that comes across to terrify him at night.

Beyond the Years

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘Beyond the Years’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar is a three section poem in which the speaker describes what one will, and will not, experience after death.

Consumption

by William Cullen Bryant

‘Consumption’ by William Cullen Bryant describes the fast-approaching death of a tuberculosis patient and her path to heaven. 

Crow Sickened

by Ted Hughes

‘Crow Sickened’ is a brilliant example of Hughes’ playful style, in which Crow attempts to work out the cause of his misery.

Dulce et Decorum Est

by Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen immortalized mustard gas in his indictment against warfare, ‘Dulce et Decorum Est.’ Written in 1917 while at Craiglockart, and published posthumously in 1920, ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ details what is, perhaps, the most memorable written account of a mustard gas attack.

Exile

by Julia Alvarez

‘Exile’ by Julia Alvarez is a narrative depiction of the poet’s childhood memories of leaving the Dominican Republic for the United States.

First March

by Ivor Gurney

‘First March,’ written by one of the lesser known First World War poets, Ivor Bertie Gurney, is about a soldier’s emotional state while returning to his home.

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