Health Poems

Poems about health encompass a diverse range of topics, reflecting the intricate relationship between the body, mind, and overall well-being.

These poems explore themes of physical vitality, mental wellness, and the pursuit of balance. They may delve into the experience of illness, chronic conditions, or the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Poems about health can inspire self-reflection, promote self-care, and emphasize the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

They may also celebrate the beauty of the human body, the healing power of nature, or the interconnectedness of individuals within a larger ecosystem. 

‘Had I not been awake’

by Seamus Heaney

‘Had I not been awake’ is a stunning expression of hope against the backdrop of doubt, which reminds the reader of their capacity to inspire.

The poem tussles with physical ill health in the form of a stroke but the narrator's mind never appears to waver. Written after Heaney had himself suffered a stroke in 2006, the poem is deeply influenced by real events. It functions as a reminder that physical ailments do not necessarily preclude people from embracing the natural work or deriving pleasure from its beauty.

Had I not been awake I would have missed it,

A wind that rose and whirled until the roof

Pattered with quick leaves off the sycamore


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.

Elegy V: His Picture

by John Donne

‘Elegy V’ by John Donne is addressed to the poet’s lover. He asks her to accept him when he returns, despite the fact that he’s going to look and act differently.

Here take my picture; though I bid farewell

Thine, in my heart, where my soul dwells, shall dwell.

'Tis like me now, but I dead, 'twill be more

When we are shadows both, than 'twas before.

Much Madness is divinest Sense

by Emily Dickinson

‘Much Madness is divinest Sense’ by Emily Dickinson is an exacting and poignant poem that expresses the speaker’s opinion of sanity and insanity. 

Much Madness is divinest Sense -

To a discerning Eye -

Much Sense - the starkest Madness -


by Philip Larkin

‘Solar’ by Philip Larkin is an unlikely Larkin poem that depicts the sun. The poet uses lyrical language to describe the sun through a series of metaphors and similes. 

Suspended lion face

Spilling at the centre

Of an unfurnished sky

The Old Fools

by Philip Larkin

‘The Old Fools’ by Philip Larkin is a poem about what happens when one grows older and begins to forget about their life.

What do they think has happened, the old fools,

To make them like this? Do they somehow suppose

It’s more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools,

And you keep on pissing yourself, and can’t remember

White Roses

by Gillian Clarke

‘White Roses’ by Gillian Clarke is a heart-wrenching poem and true story about a sick child who bravely contends with pain during his short life. 

Winter Landscape, with Rooks

by Sylvia Plath

‘Winter Landscape, with Rooks’ by Sylvia Plath depicts a dark landscape. It’s used to symbolize how the speaker, and perhaps the poet, was feeling.

Water in the millrace, through a sluice of stone,

plunges headlong into that black pond

where, absurd and out-of-season, a single swan

floats chaste as snow, taunting the clouded mind

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