Elegy Poems

In Memory of the Utah Stars

by William Matthews

‘In Memory of the Utah Stars’ captures the manner in which memories can provide us with both pleasure and pain.

The poem laments the loss of the team and mourns their loss like a person. However, it is also a celebration of the team's achievements and an acknowledgement of the void they leave behind.

My Kate

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘My Kate’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a sorrowful elegy dedicated to a morally righteous and important woman who has passed away. 

'My Kate' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is an elegy. This means that it was written in the honor of someone who has passed away, in this case, a woman named Kate.

Oddjob, a Bull Terrier

by Derek Walcott

‘Oddjob, a Bull Terrier’ by Derek Walcott is a thoughtful, emotional poem about loss and how unbearable the death of a pet can be. 

This poem is an elegy for the poet's lost pet, Oddjob.

Little Boy Blue

by Eugene Field

‘Little Boy Blue’ by Eugene Field is a beautiful, heartbreaking poem that describes the aftermath of a child’s death. It focuses on the child’s toys and how, despite many years having gone by, they’re still waiting for him. 

It's very possible to describe this poem as an elegy, even though it does not mention specific details about the child (like his name and how he died). The poem focuses on a few elements of the child's life, like his toys and the last night he went to bed, and leaves the reader with a feeling of sorrow as they, too, mourn the child's loss.

Death of a Young Woman

by Gillian Clarke

Explore ‘Death of a Young Woman,’ where Clarke depicts how a loved one’s death lets a person free from their inward, endless suffering.

This poem is not a lament for a loved one; instead, it features how the absence created by death has a lasting impact on people.

Winter Stars

by Larry Levis

‘Winter Stars’ by Larry Levis tries to reconcile the estranged relationship between a son and their dying father.

Levis poem best resembles an elegy, one that ruminates woefully on a dying parent and a regret over their shattered relationship. But it also ends with some small amount of hope as the speaker finds some closure in at least being able to admit all this to themselves.

‘Twas the old — road — through pain—

by Emily Dickinson

‘Twas the old — road — through pain—’ by Emily Dickinson describes a woman’s path from life to death and her entrance into Heaven. 

While the woman remains unamed throughout this poem, the poet's speaker uses her story to pen the text. It is not a perfect elegy but it can be defined as one.

Lincoln, Man of the People

by Edwin Markham

‘Lincoln, Man of the People’ by Edwin Markham is a unique poem about Abraham Lincoln that paints him, and his legacy, in idealized, universal terms. The speaker spends the poem describing Lincoln the perfect leader.

This poem is an elegy, meaning it was written to honor someone who has passed away. In this case, President Abraham Lincoln the 16th president of the United States.

The Spires of Oxford

by Winifred Mary Letts

‘The Spires of Oxford’ by Winifred M. Letts is a memorial war poem that explores the loss of innumerable men from Oxford. The poet expresses her hope these men are in Heaven.

This poem is an elegy. It was written in order to honor not just one person who died but a large number of men from Oxford who passed away during WWI.


by Felicia Hemans

‘Casabianca’ by Felicia Hemans describes a boy’s refusal to leave his father’s ship, despite the fact that it’s being consumed by flames and is soon to sink. He waits for an order from his father, unaware that he has passed away. 

This poem can be classified as an elegy because it focuses on a young boy's last moments and death. The speaker admires his bravery and loyalty, ensuring readers consider Casabianca positively.

The Wind in the Dooryard

by Derek Walcott

‘The Wind in the Dooryard’ by Derek Walcott was written after the death of Eric Roach, a well-respected poet who died by suicide in 1974. This poem is dedicated to his life and work. 

This is an elegy written by Derek Walcott in honor of a fellow poet, Erich Roach, who committed suicide. It honors his life and his work.

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. 

This poem is about a half-human, half-sheep that was born and died soon after. It's deeply sad and disturbing at the same time.

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. 

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.

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.

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.


by Undefined Poet

‘Cynthia’ is a humorous example of slam poetry from the comedy movie ’22 Jump Street.’ It is performed by Jonah Hill’s character, Morton Schmidt, on stage. 


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. 


by Carol Ann Duffy

‘Elegy’ by Carol Ann Duffy is a sixteen line poem that is separated into two sets of eight lines or

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.

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.

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.

I Have News

by Juliette Cavendish

‘I Have News’ by Juliette A. H. Cavendish is a moving poem. In it, the speaker describes the aftermath of a death and how they contended with it.

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