Elegy

White Roses by Gillian Clarke

‘White Roses’ by Gillian Clarke is a heart-wrenching poem and true story about a sick child who bravely contends with pain during his short life. 

Floral Tribute by Simon Armitage

‘Floral Tribute’ by Simon Armitage uses symbolism to relate flowers and the British landscape to Queen Elizabeth’s reign and death in 2022.

Elegy V: His Picture by John Donne

‘Elegy V’ by John Donne is addressed to the poet’s lover. He asks her to accept him when he returns, despite the fact that he’s going to look and act differently.

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. 

Darling by Jackie Kay

‘Darling’ by Jackie Kay describes a woman’s death on a beautiful summer day and her close friend’s reaction. It was inspired by a personal loss the poet experienced. 

Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter by John Crowe Ransom

‘Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter’ by John Crowe Ransom is an elegy for Whiteside’s daughter, a young girl who passed away suddenly. It’s unclear why she died, but, the speaker spends the bass majority of this poem depicting her lively and playful life.

The Funeral by Norman Dubie

Norman Dubie’s ‘The Funeral’ is about a speaker’s aunt who died of cancer. In this piece, the speaker shares one of the best memories with her.

To an Athlete Dying Young by A. E. Housman

‘To an Athlete Dying Young’ by A. E. Housman describes the death of a youthful man who is celebrated for his glorious passing and remembered for his loss, rather than his athletic achievements.

Obituary by A.K. Ramanujan

‘Obituary’ by A.K. Ramanujan explores the universal toll a parent’s passing can have on a child and all the ways that their memory remains even after their death.

The Voice by Thomas Hardy

‘The Voice’ was written after Thomas Hardy’s wife died in 1912. It was published in Poems 1912–13, an elegiac sequence that responds to Emma’s death.

At Castle Boterel by Thomas Hardy

‘At Castle Boterel’ was written in 1913. The poem remembers a certain moment in life that is associated with a deeply significant memory.

Anything Can Happen by Seamus Heaney

‘Anything Can Happen’ depicts a contemporary anxiety while referring to a mythological past. The poem has four quatrains with no fixed rhyme-scheme.

My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close

‘My life closed twice before its close’ by Emily Dickinson uses heartbreak as a metaphor for death. She also experiments with the meaning of “closure.”

Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden

‘Funeral Blues,’ also known as ‘Stop all the Clocks,’ is arguably Auden’s most famous poem. It was first published in ‘The Year’s Poetry’ in 1938.

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