‘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.
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.
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.
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;
‘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.