Christianity

Disappointed by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘Disappointed’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar is an inspirational poem in which Dunbar depicts an old man working hard in the last years of his life and losing everything he strove for. 

The Forsaken Merman by Matthew Arnold

‘The Forsaken Merman’ by Matthew Arnold is a melancholy poem in which the speaker, a merman, grieves the loss of his human wife. He’s left alone with their children without the woman he loves.

On Easter Day by Oscar Wilde

‘On Easter Day’ by Oscar Wilde asks readers to consider how Christian teachings align with the modern-day Pope. It’s about the importance of not putting man-made desires and institutions ahead of God. 

This World is not Conclusion

‘This World is not Conclusion’ is a deeply thoughtful exploration of faith and doubt from one of America’s finest poets.

The Road by Nancy Fotheringham Cato

‘The Road’ is simultaneously a thrilling car journey at night and a deeply personal mediation on time, humanity and the natural world.

Holy Sonnet IX by John Donne

‘Holy Sonnet IX’ by John Donne, also known by its first line ‘If poisonous minerals, and if that tree’ is one of several “Holy Sonnets” the poet composed during his lifetime. This particular poem focuses on a dispute between the speaker and God.

Holy Sonnet II by John Donne

‘Holy Sonnet II’ by John Donne is the second in a series of religious sonnets that Donne is well-known for. This poem is directed to God and explores a speaker’s concerns about their fate. 

Anorexic by Eavan Boland

‘Anorexic’ by Eavan Boland conveys the mindset of a woman determined to destroy her physical body through starvation and filled with hatred for her sinful past, as according to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Holy Thursday (Songs of Experience) by William Blake

‘Holy Thursday’ by William Blake depicts the poor children of London attending church on Holy Thursday. Specifically, Blake describes their songs, appearance, and how their existence challenges the message the church is trying to convey.

I have never seen “Volcanoes”

‘I have never seen “Volcanoes”’ by Emily Dickinson is a clever, complex poem that compares humans and their emotions to a volcano’s eruptive power. 

I did not reach Thee

‘I did not reach Thee’ by Emily Dickinson is a complex poem about a speaker’s journey through life. She expresses both optimism and hesitation in the face of her death and attempts to reach God. 

On the Day of Judgment by Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift’s acerbic poem ‘On the Day of Judgment’ is about a speaker’s vision of the judgment day with Jove or Jupiter giving his final ruling on humankind’s offenses.

Crow Sickened by Ted Hughes

‘Crow Sickened’ is a brilliant example of Hughes’ playful style, in which Crow attempts to work out the cause of his misery.

There came a Day—at Summer’s full

‘There came a Day—at Summer’s full’ by Emily Dickinson depicts two lovers in a tricky situation that keeps them apart. But, they know they’ll be reunited in the next life. 

[Buffalo Bill ‘s] by E. E. Cummings

E. Cummings’ free-verse poem ‘[Buffalo Bill ’s]’ taps on the popular theme of the inevitability of death. It includes a civil, indifferent depiction of death.

An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo

‘An American Sunrise’ by Joy Harjo is a powerful poem about Native American culture written by the current Poet Laureate of the United States. The poem explores the struggles of the poet’s community as well as the successes and celebrations. 

Christ of Everywhere by Henry Van Dyke

‘Christ of Everywhere’ by Henry Van Dyke is a poem about the presence of Christ in all living things. Throughout this piece, Van Dyke uses simple and relatable language that allows all readers to connect with his words.

a man who had fallen among thieves by E.E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings’ ‘a man who had fallen among thieves’ is a modern retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan who helped a robbed man lying unconscious on the road. In this poem, the speaker helps one such person who faced a similar accident.

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.

Looking for Judas by Adrian C. Louis

Adrian C. Louis’ ‘Looking for Judas’ is about how the Christian religion played a pivotal role in order to conquer the Native American people. This piece revolves around the central image of “blood.”

San Sepolcro by Jorie Graham

Jorie Graham’s ‘San Sepolcro’ is an ekphrastic poem about the Etruscan wall art and especially Piero della Francesca’s famous fresco Madonna del Parto. It appears in Graham’s second volume of poetry Erosion (1983).

Jesus! thy Crucifix

‘Jesus! thy Crucifix’ by Emily Dickinson is a short poem in the form of a prayer to Jesus. Th speaker wants to make sure he remembers that humanity suffers on earth.

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