Ballad

The Forsaken Merman by Matthew Arnold

‘The Forsaken Merman’ by Matthew Arnold is a melancholy poem in which the speaker, a merman, grieves the loss of his human wife. He’s left alone with their children without the woman he loves.

Void in Law by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Void in Law’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning depicts the scuffle many Victorian women endured after getting married. The woman has been left alone with no real resources by a husband who prefers to spend time with his mistress.

The Road by Nancy Fotheringham Cato

‘The Road’ is simultaneously a thrilling car journey at night and a deeply personal mediation on time, humanity and the natural world.

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.

I have never seen “Volcanoes”

‘I have never seen “Volcanoes”’ by Emily Dickinson is a clever, complex poem that compares humans and their emotions to a volcano’s eruptive power. 

Something Told the Wild Geese by Rachel Field

‘Something Told the Wild Geese’ by Rachel Field discusses geese, and other animals, reactions to signs of winter. The poem takes place in summer and warns against being unprepared and dwelling on unhappiness. 

There came a Day—at Summer’s full

‘There came a Day—at Summer’s full’ by Emily Dickinson depicts two lovers in a tricky situation that keeps them apart. But, they know they’ll be reunited in the next life. 

She rose to His Requirement—dropt

‘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.

I cautious, scanned my little life

‘I cautious, scanned my little life’ by Emily Dickinson is a clever, metaphorical poem that addresses change and one’s legacy. The poet struggles to understand her changed attitude towards her literary accomplishments after a period of time has elapsed. 

A still— Volcano —Life

‘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 Murmur in the Trees— to note

‘A Murmur in the Trees— to note’ by Emily Dickinson is a poem about nature’s magic. It includes mysterious images of fairy men, glowing lights in the woods, and the murmuring of trees. 

What mystery pervades a well!

‘What mystery pervades a well!’ by Emily Dickinson describe limits to ones knowledge no matter how much time they spend of the natural world.

There came a Wind like a Bugle

‘There came a Wind like a Bugle –’ by Emily Dickinson depicts the incredible power of the natural world. She describes a day when a storm nearly destroyed a series of homes. 

The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants-

‘The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants-’ by Emily Dickinson depicts the mushroom, its fleeting life, and personifies it alongside Nature. 

If you were coming in the Fall

‘If you were coming in the Fall’ by Emily Dickinson is a meaningful poem about true love and a speaker’s willingness to wait for her lover to return.

A Wounded Deer—leaps highest

‘A Wounded Deer—leaps highest’ by Emily Dickinson is a highly relatable poem that speaks about the difference between what someone or something looks like and the truth. She uses the examples of a fatally wounded deer and someone dying of tuberculosis.

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay

‘The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay depicts the lengths mothers will go to in order to protect their children. The speaker recalls watching his mother sacrifice herself for him when he was a young boy, weaving an enormous pile of clothing with a harp. 

Mr. Nobody by Anonymous

‘Mr. Nobody’ by Anonymous is a clever children’s poem that shifts the blame for all mischief and messes over to an unknown entity– Mr. Nobody. 

Incident by Countee Cullen

‘Incident’ by Countee Cullen describes a terrible incident from the poet’s youth that occurred when he was happily visiting Baltimore. 

Expostulation and Reply by William Wordsworth

‘Expostulation and Reply’ a ballad, written by William Wordsworth, tells the story of Matthew, dissuading the speaker (William) from idling away his precious time in “wise passiveness” or simply daydreaming.

The View From Halfway Down (Bojack Horseman)

‘The View From Halfway Down’ is a short poem included in an episode of Bojack Horseman. It provides readers with a unique insight into the mind of someone who is moments from his death and experiences an intense regret for his choice to end his life.

The Broken Chain by Ron Tranmer

‘The Broken Chain’ by Ron Tranmer explores the feelings of grief that a family suffers when one of their much-loved members passed away. The poet uses the metaphor of a broken chain to describe their loss.

Waiting at the Door (Dog Poem)

‘Waiting at the Door’ is a poem told from the perspective of a loving dog addressing its still living owner. The dog reassures the owner that they will be together again in the future. 

As I Walked Out One Evening by W.H. Auden

‘As I Walked Out One Evening’ by W. H. Auden is a poem about the unconquerable nature of death and the imperfect nature of love. This piece was first published in 1940 in the poet’s collection Another Time.

Tavern by Edna St. Vincent Millay

‘Tavern’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay is a beautiful, short poem that speaks to one person’s desire to take care of others. 

Cross by Langston Hughes

‘Cross’ by Langston Hughes uses a stereotypical image of a biracial man to explore identity and the inequalites one might encounter.

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