Life Struggles

Lorry by Al Hafiz Sanusi

‘Lorry’ by Al Hafiz Sanusi depicts the ways that change can improve lives but also complicate and damage them. The poet uses the poem to discuss the need for better transportation standards for migrant workers.

Winter Rain by Christina Rossetti

‘Winter Rain’ by Christina Rossetti is about the power rain has in the natural world and how without it nothing would be the same. She uses several examples and images to depict the world flourishing after a rainstorm.

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. 

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. 

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.

Courage by Anna Akhmatova

‘Courage’ by Anna Akhmatova is a passionate poem about courage in the face of war. Specifically, Akhmatova was writing about World War II. 

My Mother by Ellen Bryant Voigt

‘My Mother’ by Ellen Bryant Voigt explores a speaker’s understanding of her mother and how her mother considered her as she aged.

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. 

Pride by Jackie Kay

‘Pride’ by Jackie Kay is a moving poem about identity and pride. The poet utilized her personal experience when writing this piece. 

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. 

Iris by Sujata Bhatt

‘Iris’ by Sujata Bhatt is a narrative poem with lyric qualities. It depicts an artist’s wait for the sun to come out and bring out the colors in a single iris.

Air Raid by Stephen Spender

Stephen Spender’s poem ‘Air Raid’ depicts the impact of the Blitz or German Luftwaffe air strike on the United Kingdom.

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. 

My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings

‘My Grandmother’ by Elizabeth Jennings is a thoughtful poem about one person’s relationship with her grandmother and her grandmother’s passion—collecting antiques. 

Void in Law by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Void in Law’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning depicts the scuffle many Victorian women endured after getting married. The woman has been left alone with no real resources by a husband who prefers to spend time with his mistress.

The Need to Recall the Journey by Sujata Bhatt

‘The Need to Recall the Journey’ by Sujata Bhatt is a poem about the past and a speaker’s desire to return to the moment her child was born. It was too fleeting, she feels, and she can’t help but wish she was there again.

The Same Note by Jackie Kay

‘The Same Note’ by Jackie Kay depicts Bessie Smith’s musical ability and how she could unite people from all walks of life. 

Rubble by Jackie Kay

‘Rubble’ by Jackie Kay is a dramatic monologue that was included in her collection, Darling: New & Selected Poems. It conveys an individual’s cluttered and chaotic mind. 

Renouncement by Alice Meynell

‘Renouncement’ by Alice Meynell is a passionate poem in which the speaker fights to fend off thoughts of the person she loves. She refuses to allow herself to think about this person during the day.

In the Seventh Year by Jackie Kay

‘In the Seventh Year’ by Jackie Kay is a short, beautiful lyric poem. It describes the timeless and changing nature of a speaker’s relationship.

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.

Queenhood by Simon Armitage

‘Queenhood’ by Simon Armitage was written to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. It celebrates the Queen’s lifetime of service and describes the unique features of her life. 

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.

My Grandmother’s Houses by Jackie Kay

‘My Grandmother’s Houses’ by Jackie Kay is a thoughtful recollection of youth and a young speaker’s relationship with her eccentric grandmother, who is forced to move homes.

Love Nest by Jackie Kay

‘Love Nest’ by Jackie Kay depicts the difficulties that same-sex couples face and society’s cruel infiltrates their relationships and homes. The poet uses a skillful, multilayered extended metaphor in this piece.

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