God

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.

Holy Thursday (Songs of Experience) by William Blake

I did not reach Thee by Emily Dickinson

‘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. 

I did not reach Thee by Emily Dickinson

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.

On the Day of Judgment by Jonathan Swift

I cautious, scanned my little life by Emily Dickinson

‘I cautious, scanned my little life’ by Emily Dickinson is a clever, metaphorical poem that addresses change and one’s legacy. The poet struggles to understand her changed attitude towards her literary accomplishments after a period of time has elapsed. 

I cautious, scanned my little life by Emily Dickinson

The Penitent by Anne Brontë

‘The Penitent’ by Anne Brontë is a religious poem about repentant souls. The poem portrays its subject’s pursuit of salvation while encouraging them to hold onto their newfound faith.

The Penitent by Anne Brontë

Despondency by Anne Brontë

‘Despondency’ by Anne Brontë is a spiritual poem about rekindling one’s passion for God. The poem hinges on the speaker’s self-reflection and the emotions it stirs in them.

Despondency by Anne Brontë

A Divine Image by William Blake

Although prepared and etched for publication, William Blake dropped ‘A Divine Image’ from Songs of Innocence and Experience in favor of ‘The Human Abstract.’ This poem comes from Songs of Experience and was intended to be the counterpart to ‘The Divine Image.’

A Divine Image by William Blake

Quid Pro Quo by Paul Mariani

‘Quid Pro Quo’ by Paul Mariani is a confessional poem that narrates a speaker’s anger and frustration at God subsequent to his wife’s second miscarriage.

Quid Pro Quo by Paul Mariani

A Thank-Offering by Ella Higginson

‘A Thank-Offering’ by Ella Higginson is addressed to God. It outlines all the beautiful sights and sounds in a speaker’s everyday life and thanks to God for creating them. 

A Thank-Offering by Ella Higginson

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.

Christ of Everywhere by Henry Van Dyke

Yet Do I Marvel by Countee Cullen

‘Yet Do I Marvel’ by Countee Cullen is a poem about faith. No matter the darkness the speaker sees in the world, he maintains his faith in his own role in God’s plan.

Yet Do I Marvel by Countee Cullen

The Yellow Dot by Robert Bly

‘The Yellow Dot,’ written in remembrance of poet Jane Kenyon, is about the inevitability of death and God’s despotic ruling over humankind. It was published in Robert Bly’s best-known collection, Morning Poems (1997).

The Yellow Dot by Robert Bly

Rowing by Anne Sexton

‘Rowing’ by Anne Sexton is a moving and unforgettable poem about depression. It was written two years before Sexton took her life in 1974.

Rowing by Anne Sexton

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 by Rudyard Kipling

Riprap by Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder’s ‘Riprap’ describes how the oddly beautiful order of nature is “a riprap of things,” set in order from time immemorial. This piece taps on the themes of metaphysics, nature, and language.

Riprap by Gary Snyder

Blandeur by Kay Ryan

‘Blandeur’ by Kay Ryan is a thoughtful poem that shows a deep love for the natural world and depicts it as all a part of God’s creation.

Blandeur by Kay Ryan

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).

San Sepolcro by Jorie Graham

Clear Night by Charles Wright

‘Clear Night’ by Charles Wright is a lyrical and beautiful poem about a poet’s thoughts under a clear night sky. It suggests a particular type of life he wants to live and how he wants to be moved by it. 

Clear Night by Charles Wright

Unholy Sonnet 13 by Mark Jarman

‘Unholy Sonnet 13’ appears in the modern American poet Mark Jarman’s award-winning poetry collection Questions for Ecclesiastes (1997). This sonnet is about a matured speaker’s belief in God and the miraculous beauty of nature.

Unholy Sonnet 13 by Mark Jarman

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