Hopelessness

Holy Thursday (Songs of Experience) by William Blake

‘Holy Thursday’ by William Blake depicts the poor children of London attending church on Holy Thursday. Specifically, Blake describes their songs, appearance, and how their existence challenges the message the church is trying to convey.

Holy Thursday (Songs of Experience) by William Blake

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.

3 November 1984 by Sujata Bhatt

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.

First March by Ivor Gurney

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.

Advent by Gillian Clarke

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.

Crow Sickened by Ted Hughes

Sheep In Fog by Sylvia Plath

The poem ‘Sheep In Fog’ describes Sylvia Plath’s feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, helplessness, and depression.

Sheep In Fog by Sylvia Plath

She rose to His Requirement—dropt by Emily Dickinson

‘She rose to His Requirement – dropt’ by Emily Dickinson speaks to the lack of freedom and respect women had in Dickinson’s time. It emphasizes the confining nature of marriage and society’s expectations for a married woman.

She rose to His Requirement—dropt by Emily Dickinson

Contusion by Sylvia Plath

‘Contusion’ by Sylvia Plath is a memorable, short poem about death and a loss of passion or meaning in one’s life. It is a dramatic monologue written 12 days before the poet’s death. 

Contusion by Sylvia Plath

The Spring by Thomas Carew

‘The Spring’ by Thomas Carew is a poem about unrequited love in spring. The poet mourns the fact that no matter the season, his beloved does not love him. 

The Spring by Thomas Carew

Quid Pro Quo by Paul Mariani

‘Quid Pro Quo’ by Paul Mariani is a confessional poem that narrates a speaker’s anger and frustration at God subsequent to his wife’s second miscarriage.

Quid Pro Quo by Paul Mariani

The Great Society by Robert Bly

Published in Robert Bly’s award-winning collection, The Light Around the Body (1967), ‘The Great Society’ satirizes the set of domestic programs launched by Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964-65 by presenting contrasting imagery from contemporary American society.

The Great Society by Robert Bly

Two Women by Marcus Wilcox

‘Two Women’ by Marcus Wilcox is a thoughtful and complex poem about identity. The speaker spends the text discussing the lives of two different women.

Two Women by Marcus Wilcox

Middle Passage by Robert Hayden

‘Middle Passage’ by Robert Hayden is a narrative poem written in the 1940s. It describes the happenings of the Atlantic Slave Trade, as told from the perspective of several white narrators.

Middle Passage by Robert Hayden

Sonnet 150 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 150,’ also known as ‘O! from what power hast thou this powerful might,’ explores the ways the Dark Lady controls Shakespeare’s speaker. She makes him love her even though she’s cruel to him

Don’t kill yourself today by Hannah Dains

‘Don’t kill yourself today’ by Hannah Dains is a thoughtful and powerful poem about suicide. The poet explores all the reasons someone has to stay alive and expresses her love for those struggling with depression.

Don’t kill yourself today by Hannah Dains

I Am! by John Clare

‘I Am!’ by John Clare is a powerful poem about a speaker’s struggle with depression, loneliness, and a desire to find peace in Heaven. 

Standing Female Nude by Carol Ann Duffy

‘Standing Female Nude’ by ‘Carol Ann Duffy’ speaks on the roll of the artist model in the studio of a unfeeling painter who sees her only as a means to an end.

Unprofitableness by Henry Vaughan

‘Unprofitableness’ by Henry Vaughan is an extended conceit presenting  a speaker’s unsuccessful efforts to thank God for his fresh and rejuvenating visits. 

I Cannot Live With You by Emily Dickinson

‘I cannot live with You’ by Emily Dickinson is a poem about marriage. The speaker spends the lines declaring why she can’t “live with you” and her various related concerns.

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