English Poems

English poetry has a long history dating back to the medieval period, with important works such as ‘Beowulf’ and ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.’ However, it was during the Renaissance period that English poetry truly flourished, with the works of William Shakespeare, John Donne, and Ben Jonson, among others.

In the 18th century, the Romantic movement emerged, with poets such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lord Byron pushing the boundaries of poetic expression with their emotive and personal works. This era also saw the rise of female poets such as Mary Shelley and Charlotte Smith, who challenged societal norms with their feminist and revolutionary ideas.

The Victorian period saw the rise of poets such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who explored themes of love, death, and morality. The 20th century brought about the modernist movement, with poets such as T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, and Dylan Thomas experimenting with language and form to create works that were both intellectually challenging and emotionally resonant.

Whispers of Immortality

by T.S. Eliot

‘Whispers of Immortality’ by T.S. Eliot describes the connection between death and sex and how ultimately death becomes the most important thing in life. 

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.

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.


by Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes is perhaps one of the most controversial figures in all of the literary world. While some esteem him

Windy Nights

by Robert Louis Stevenson

‘Windy Nights’ by Robert Louis Stevenson is a children’s poem about a nighttime storm. It was first published in 1885 in A Child’s Garden of Verses. 


by Anne Hunter

‘Winter’ by Anne Hunter cleverly personifies winter as a “tyrant” who has complete control over those most in need.


by Walter de la Mare

‘Winter’ by Walter de la Mare tells of the stark beauty of the winter months and how the constellations look down upon the cold earth.

And the robin flew Into the air, the air, The white mist through; And small and rare

Winter in the Boulevard

by D.H. Lawrence

‘Winter in the Boulevard’ by D.H. Lawrence describes the coming of the winter frost and the perilous position it places all life on the boulevard.

Winter Rain

by Christina Rossetti

‘Winter Rain’ by Christina Rossetti is about the power rain has in the natural world and how without it nothing would be the same. She uses several examples and images to depict the world flourishing after a rainstorm.


by D.H. Lawrence

‘Winter-Lull’ by D.H. Lawrence describes a snow covered battlefield and the silence plaguing a group of soldiers during WWI. 


by Robert Louis Stevenson

‘Winter-Time’ by Robert Louis Stevenson depicts the winter season from a child’s perspective. His imagination comes through clearly in his depictions of what all there is to see and experience, negative and positive. 

Winter: My Secret

by Christina Rossetti

Winter: My Secret was published in Rossetti’s first collection, Goblin Market and Other Poems. This collection largely consisted of non-devotional


by Carol Ann Duffy

The poem ‘Wintering‘ by Carol Ann Dufy talks about a relationship that the narrator has experienced and that relationship is

All day, slow funerals have ploughed the rain.

We’ve done again

that trick we have of turning love to pain.


by Ted Hughes

‘Wodwo’ by Ted Hughes is a dramatic monologue that depicts a “Wodwo” or fictional human-like creature. The creature investigates his surroundings and repetitively questions his existence.

Woman’s Constancy

by John Donne

‘Woman’s Constancy’ by John Donne contains a speaker’s doubts that his lover of one night will remain true to him in the morning. 

Now thou has loved me one whole day,

Tomorrow when you leav’st, what wilt thou say?

Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow?

            Or say that now

Women and Roses

by Robert Browning

‘Women and Roses’ by Robert Browning conveys a man’s perspective on women throughout time. They are represented by three apples on his metaphorical apple tree.

Work without Hope

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘Work without Hope’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge describes the ways in which Nature works and the importance of having goals, or hopes, to strive towards.

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—

The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—

And Winter slumbering in the open air,

Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!


by Carol Ann Duffy

‘Write’ by Carol Ann Duffy is a celebration of love and the power that writing has to depict and understand its emotional intensity. 

Write that the sun bore down on me,

kissing and kissing, and my face

reddened, blackened, whitened to ash,

was blown away by the passionate wind

XII: An Epitaph

by A. E. Housman

In Housman’s ‘XII: An Epitaph,’ readers will hear from a speaker who knows he’s about to die and is happy to accept his fate. 


by Carol Ann Duffy

‘You‘ is taken from a poetry collection called “Rapture”. This collection consists mainly of love poems which are far from

Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head,

so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name,

like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of its bright syllables

like a charm, like a spell.

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry, straight to your inbox

Start Your Perfect Poetry Journey

The Best-Kept Secrets of Poetry

Discover and learn about the greatest poetry ever straight to your inbox