Humanity

Two Armies by Stephen Spender

‘Two Armies’ by Stephen Spender describes two armies on a devastating battlefield where every individual is suffering. Their common humanity is highlighted. 

Ebb by Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott’s poem ‘Ebb’ is about a car journey by the shore and comments on aging, industrialization, and the past.

Ragged Island by Edna St. Vincent Millay

‘Ragged Island’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay is a personal poem about Millay’s days spent on Ragged Island off the coast of Maine. It explores the peace of mind the place was able to bring out in her. 

Nature is what we see

‘Nature is what we see’ by Emily Dickinson is a poem about how humanity tries and fails, to define nature. 

For Nanabhai Bhatt by Sujata Bhatt

‘For Nanabhai Bhatt’ is about the poet Sujata Bhatt’s grandfather, Nanabhai Bhatt, who was an educationist and activist active during the Indian independence movement.

Seascape by Stephen Spender

‘Seascape’ by Stephen Spender depicts a seascape that is both peaceful and dangerous. The poem reminds readers of how fickle and dangerous the ocean can be. 

Fountain by Elizabeth Jennings

Elizabeth Jennings herself considered ‘Fountain’ as one of her favorite poems. This piece is about the controlled energy of a fountain.

Sunday by Gillian Clarke

 ‘Sunday’ by Gillian Clarke was inspired by the poet’s personal experience of attempting to enjoy a Sunday morning but then being reminded of all the suffering that’s going on in the world. 

Solar 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. 

The Stare by Sujata Bhatt

‘The Stare’ by Sujata Bhatt describes an interaction between a human child and a monkey child at a zoo. It conveys the peaceful curiosity the two show towards one another.

The Stinking Rose by Sujata Bhatt

‘The Stinking Rose’ by Sujata Bhatt describes the way that garlic is judged based on its name and how a changed name might influence that fact. 

Floral Tribute by Simon Armitage

‘Floral Tribute’ by Simon Armitage uses symbolism to relate flowers and the British landscape to Queen Elizabeth’s reign and death in 2022.

Plague by Jackie Kay

‘Plague’ by Jackie Kay is a poem about death, specifically about the plague in London and how a mother is forced to contend with the knowledge that both her sons are going to die.

Wodwo by Ted Hughes

‘Wodwo’ by Ted Hughes is a dramatic monologue that depicts a “Wodwo” or fictional human-like creature. The creature investigates his surroundings and repetitively questions his existence.

Women and Roses by Robert Browning

‘Women and Roses’ by Robert Browning conveys a man’s perspective on women throughout time. They are represented by three apples on his metaphorical apple tree.

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.

The Undertaking by John Donne

‘The Undertaking’ by John Donne is a poem about an elevated form of love that makes the speaker’s relationship superior to other people’s. 

What mystery pervades a well!

‘What mystery pervades a well!’ by Emily Dickinson describe limits to ones knowledge no matter how much time they spend of the natural world.

Symptoms of Love by Robert Graves

‘Symptoms of Love’ is a fascinating mediation on the agony that can arise from being in love and whether that suffering is ever worthwhile.

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.’

Howl by Allen Ginsberg

‘Howl’ is Allen Ginsberg’s best-known poem and is commonly considered his greatest work. It is an indictment of modern society and a celebration of anyone living outside it.

A Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou

‘A Brave and Startling Truth’ by Maya Angelou is a commonly quoted poem about humanity’s future. The poet alludes to the “truth” that humanity will arrive at when “we” realize we are the one true wonder of the world. 

A Woman Waits for Me by Walt Whitman

Formerly known as ‘Poem of Procreation,’ Whitman’s ‘A Woman Waits for Me’ is all about the power of regeneration, procreation, and creativity.

Earth Voices by Bliss Carman

‘Earth Voices’ by Bliss Carman is a clever poem that utilizes personification in order to convey the perspective of the sun, the wind, and the rain.

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