‘A still— Volcano —Life’ by Emily Dickinson is an unforgettable poem that uses an extended metaphor to describe the life of the poet. She compares herself to a volcano that erupts under the cover of darkness.
A still — Volcano — Life —
That flickered in the night —
When it was dark enough to do
Without erasing sight —
‘Anne Hathaway’ by Carol Ann Duffy is told from the perceptive of Shakespeare’s wife who discusses their enduring love through the symbol of a bed.
The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas
where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Havisham’ is a response to Charles Dickens’s portrayal of the character Miss Havisham in his famous novel Great Expectations. This poem refers to the character as “Havisham” rather than “Miss Havisham.”
Beloved sweetheart bastard. Not a day since then
I haven’t wished him dead. Prayed for it
so hard I’ve dark green pebbles for eyes,
ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with.
‘Love on the Farm’ by D.H. Lawrence is a poem about the universality of love, passion, and death. Lawrence depicts these elements through the various lives observable on a farm.
What large, dark hands are those at the window
Lifted, grasping the golden light
Which weaves its way through the creeper leaves
To my heart’s delight?
‘Ode to a Butterfly’ by Thomas Wentworth Higginson is a thoughtful meditation on nature’s one of the daintiest creations, the butterfly. Higginson glorifies this tiny insect by using several metaphors and symbols.
Thou spark of life that wavest wings of gold,
Thou songless wanderer mid the songful birds,
With Nature's secrets in thy tints unrolled
Through gorgeous cipher, past the reach of words,
‘One’s-Self I Sing’ by Walt Whitman is a short poem that explores a few of the themes Whitman is going to use in Inscriptions. The poem celebrates the beauty and wonder of the common and separate identities of humanity.
Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Cheerful, for freest action form’d under the laws divine,
The Modern Man I sing.
When contemporary poets chose to glorify their loved ones by using hyperbolic expressions, Shakespeare preferred an unflattering and realistic tone in his ‘Sonnet 130’. The speaker of this sonnet ignores all the elevating epithets and stays in solace with his beloved as she is.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
In ‘Sonnet 43’, or ‘How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways’ the speaker is proclaiming her unending passion for her beloved.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
‘Sonnet 8’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, also known as ‘What can I give thee back, O liberal,’ is a Petrarchan sonnet. It explores the poet’s relationship with her new lover, Robert Browning.
What can I give thee back, O liberal
And princely giver, who hast brought the gold
And purple of thine heart, unstained, untold,
And laid them on the outside of the-wall
‘That girl who laughed and had black eyes’ by Stephen Spender is all about a girl the speaker admires and loves. She still lives in the speaker’s thoughts even after her death.
That girl who laughed and had black eyes
Spoke here ten days ago. She smiles
Still in my thought; the lip still promises
The body lives, and the quick eye beguiles.