English Poems

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Wagtail and Baby

by Thomas Hardy

A baby watched a ford, whereto

A wagtail came for drinking;

A blaring bull went wading through,

The wagtail showed no shrinking.


by Thomas Traherne

‘Walking’ by Thomas Traherne describes the joy and knowledge to be gained through the routine of walking and observing the world with one’s thoughts.


by Jenny Joseph

‘Warning’ by Jenny Joseph describes what the future has in store as one ages and throws off societal restraints and expectations. 


by Vernon Watkins

‘Waterfalls’ by Vernon Watkins is an elegy written in free verse with four stanzas dedicated to the memories of the narrator.

We Are Seven

by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was certainly not without his share of tragedy, and this poem, “We Are Seven”, is one which evokes this tragic feeling.

———A simple Child,

That lightly draws its breath,

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?

Welsh History

by Ronald Stuart Thomas

‘Welsh History’ is an image rich depiction of the history of the Welsh people and their strength throughout times of strife and suffering.

What Is Pink?

by Christina Rossetti

‘What Is Pink?’ shows similarity and beauty that can be achieved when granting things deeper considerations than just surface appearances.

What is pink? a rose is pink

By the fountain's brink.

What is red? a poppy's red

In its barley bed.

What Would I Give?

by Christina Rossetti

‘What Would I Give?’ by Christina Rossetti is a first person narrative that describes a speaker’s emotionally damaged and depressed state of mind. 

What would I give for a heart of flesh to warm me through,

Instead of this heart of stone ice-cold whatever I do;

Hard and cold and small, of all hearts the worst of all.

When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted

by Rudyard Kipling

Published in 1922, Kipling’s ‘When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted’ describes the “last” painting of mother earth and how it will be painted by the “good” people. No matter how this world ends, there will always be a new beginning, a new painting to admire.

When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,

When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,

We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it - lie down for an aeon or two,

Till the Master of All Good Workmen Shall put us to work anew.

When green buds hang in the elm

by A. E. Housman

A. E. Housman’s poem ‘When green buds hang in the elm’ is about a speaker’s attachment to nature and how it reminds him of his own mortality. It appears in the poetry collection Last Poems (1922).

When green buds hang in the elm like dust

And sprinkle the lime like rain,

Forth I wander, forth I must,

And drink of life again.

When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be

by John Keats

John Keats, the poet of ‘When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be’, was obsessed with death. In a certain way, his obsession with death is not completely surprising at all.

When I have fears that I may cease to be

  Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,

Before high piled books, in charact’ry, 

  Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain; 

When I Was One-and-Twenty

by A. E. Housman

‘When I Was One-and-Twenty’ by A. E. Housman is a relatable poem that explores how easy it is to make mistakes in one’s love life, even when one knows exactly what they should do.

Who Has Seen the Wind?

by Christina Rossetti

‘Who Has Seen the Wind?’ by Christina Rossetti is a poem that utilizes similar wording between the stanzas to embrace a universality of concept.

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when the leaves hang trembling,

The wind is passing through.

Whoso List to Hunt

by Sir Thomas Wyatt

‘Whoso List to Hunt’ by Sir Thomas Wyatt uses a hunting metaphor to describe a suitor’s effort to gain the affections of, a woman. 

Why Flowers Change Color

by Robert Herrick

‘Why Flowers Change Color’ by Robert Herrick is a short poem that speaks about virginity, virgins, and the reason that flowers change colors. The poem is often interpreted in different ways due to the few details Herrick provides in the four lines. 

Wild Oats

by Philip Larkin

‘Wild Oats’ by Philip Larkin depicts the difficulties in a specific relationship he had with two women.

About twenty years ago

Two girls came in where I worked—

A bosomy English rose

And her friend in specs I could talk to.

Wild With All Regrets

by Wilfred Owen

‘Wild With All Regrets’ by Wilfred Owen takes place in the last few minutes of a dying soldier as his body shuts down, and he grows immobile.

My arms have mutinied against me—brutes!

My fingers fidget like ten idle brats,

My back’s been stiff for hours, damned hours.

Death never gives his squad a Stand-at-ease.

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