‘The Idea of Ancestry’ by Etheridge Knight is concerned with family relationships and how important being with those you’re related to is.
Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black
faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-
fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews. They stare
‘An Hour With Thee’ by Sir Walter Scott is a poem about the speaker’s appreciation for spending time with an unnamed character. Despite his difficult life, an hour with this person can make his situation tolerable.
An hour with thee! When earliest day
Dapples with gold the eastern gray,
Oh, what can frame my mind to bear
The toil and turmoil, cark and care,
‘The Double Shame’ by Stephen Spender conveys a depiction of what the world feels like when one loses a very important person in their life. Everything is transformed in a way that makes a living from day to day difficult.
You must live though the time when everything hurts
When the space of the ripe, loaded afternoon
Expands to a landscape of white heat frozen
And trees are weighed down with hearts of stone
Explore more poems about Adversity
‘Little Boy Crying’ by Mervynn Morris describes the emotions of a child who is struck by his father for playing in the rain.
Your mouth contorting in brief spite and hurt,
your laughter metamorphosed into howls,
your frame so recently relaxed now tight
with three year old frustration, your bright eyes
‘The Song of Hiawatha: Hiawatha and Mudjekeewis’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is the fourth part of ‘The Song of Hiawatha.’ The poem details exciting moments in Hiawatha’s physical and spiritual journey.
Out of childhood into manhood
Now had grown my Hiawatha,
Skilled in all the craft of hunters,
Learned in all the lore of old men,
‘Climbing Cader Idris’ by Gillian Clarke celebrates the resiliency and the symbiotic relationship between individuals– representing beauty that can be found amid life’s challenges – as long as one is open to appreciate it during trying times.
You know the mountain with your body,
I with my mind, I suppose.
Each, in our way, describes
the steepening angle of rock.
‘Whatif’ by Shel Silverstein is a playful presentation of fears, struggles, and uncertainties that haunt Silverstein at “night“.
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
‘A Long Journey’ by Musaemura Zimunya is based on the changes that came to Rhodesia, a small country in southern Africa, after British colonial rule. The speaker explores the positive changes and the negative.
Through decades that ran like rivers
endless rivers of endless woes
through pick and shovel sjambok and jail
O such a long long journey
‘Character of the Happy Warrior’ by William Wordsworth is a poem about what it means to be a “happy warrior” and what the elements of this kind of person’s life would be.
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be?
—It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought
Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought
Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:
‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes is a gothic narrative of tells of the story of the highwayman, the red coats who wanted to capture him and his lover.
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.
‘You Can Have It’ is a poem about a man’s loss of enthusiasm towards life and his desire to regain the things and people that made it more colorful. The poem conveys this message through the persona’s narrative, set in Detroit in the year 1948.
My brother comes home from work
and climbs the stairs to our room.
I can hear the bed groan and his shoes drop
one by one. You can have it, he says.