‘Bards of Passion and of Mirth’ by John Keats is one of the poet’s early odes. In it, Keats confirms that bards, or authors, have two souls, with one rising to heaven, and the other staying on earth.
Keat's imagining of heaven is highly original, and it represents a mish-mash of Greek, Roman, and Christian ideas of the afterlife. The poet's focus on how storytellers, such as playwrights and poets, all go to heaven to learn divine truths, which they can disseminate to other people on earth, is also inspiring for writers and poets.
Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Doubled-lived in regions new?
‘In Heaven’ by Stephen Crane offers a parable-like anecdote that contrasts humility with self-righteous pride. It also challenges religion and those the poet’s speaker deemed hypocritical.
Heaven is an important topic in this poem. It presents a vision of what awaits the faithful who find themselves there. The poem borrows heavily from biblical descriptions of a throne but also uses symbolism to emphasize humankind’s minuteness.
‘Twas the old — road — through pain—’ by Emily Dickinson describes a woman’s path from life to death and her entrance into Heaven.
The main character makes it pretty clear in this Dickinson poem that she hopes she's going to end up in Heaven when she dies.
‘Gradatim’ by Josiah Gilbert Holland is a poem about the lifetime of work it takes to climb the ladder to Heaven. One needs to dedicate themselves to a life of good deeds to reach God.
Reaching Heaven and spending the afterlife by God's side is the central focus of this poem. The speaker knows that it takes a great deal of effort to climb the metaphorical ladder to Heaven.
‘Nobility’ by Alice Cary is a straightforward, inspirational poem about where honor and nobility truly come from.
The five-stanzas imply that if one lives their life this way, they'll be right in the eyes of God and therefore make their way to Heaven.
‘The Eternal Goodness’ by John Greenleaf Whittier is a relatively unknown 19th-century poem that explores religious themes and the various ways that God’s love comes through.
Heaven is another alluded-to topic in this piece. The poet expresses several times how he feels incredibly safe knowing that God is protecting him wherever he goes. This likely holds true for his perception of the afterlife.