Memory

Consolidation by Jean Bleakney

Jean Bleakney’s ‘Consolidation’ is a deeply personal poem about the act of rearranging the cowry shells that the speaker and her children gathered in the past.

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.

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.

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.

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.

29 April 1989 by Sujata Bhatt

‘29 April 1989’ by Sujata Bhatt is a sweet, little piece about a mother’s sudden found pleasure in nature’s soggy musicality.

First March by Ivor Gurney

‘First March,’ written by one of the lesser known First World War poets, Ivor Bertie Gurney, is about a soldier’s emotional state while returning to his home.

Witness by Eavan Boland

‘Witness’ is a thoughtful contemplation on the nature of memory, identity and guilt in the context of Boland’s Dublin.

Confessions by Robert Browning

Robert Browning’s dramatic monologue ‘Confessions,’ as the title says, is written in the confessional mode and is about a speaker’s secretive meetings with a girl.

Old Man by Edward Thomas

‘Old Man’ by Edward Thomas is a thoughtful piece about the loss of memory and a disconnect to one’s past. 

Mementos, 1 by W. D. Snodgrass

William DeWitt (W. D.) Snodgrass’s personal piece ‘Mementos, 1’ is about the discovery of an old photograph of the speaker’s divorced wife and the stream of memories that came with it.

The Gift by Li-Young Lee

‘The Gift’ by Li-Young Lee is an effective contemporary poem about the way a father’s voice and attitude influenced his son. 

Sally’s Hair by John Koethe

‘Sally’s Hair’ by John Koethe is a short and effective poem in which the speaker looks back on someone he met thirty-seven years ago and wonders where she is now.

The Heart by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Jill Alexander Essbaum’s ‘The Heart’ is a short poem that dictates the intricacies of dealing with heartfelt emotions. It describes the human heart as a room with four chambers and thousands of doors.

Gold by Donald Hall

A golden poem out of Hall’s heart, ‘Gold’ is about the precious past and conjugal memories of a speaker. It appears in the collection Old and New Poems published in 1990.

Memorial by Amanda Gorman

‘Memorial’ by Amanda Gorman is a poem about the past and how poets are able to use their writing to help readers relive it.

The Lost Pilot by James Tate

‘The Lost Pilot’ is dedicated to James Tate’s father, who died on a bombing mission in World War II in 1944. He was a co-pilot of a B-17.

Barbed Wire by Henry Taylor

‘Barbed Wire’ is a poem about the tragic death of a horse on a summer afternoon. This piece explores the quick, sudden death of the horse.

The Spanish Needle by Claude McKay

‘The Spanish Needle’ by Claude McKay is thoughtful and image-filled. The poet looks back on his speaker’s past and directs his words to a plant.

Spooning by David Mason

David Mason’s ‘Spooning’ appears in the 1991 winter issue of The Hudson Review. This poem is about a speaker recapturing his dead grandfather’s life.

Origin of the Marble Forest by Gregory Orr

‘Origin of the Marble Forest’ by Gregory Orr is an interesting and moving poem about someone’s past relationships. The speaker declares them “stone,” solidifying them in their life forever. 

Taking Off My Clothes by Carolyn Forché

‘Taking Off My Clothes’ by Carolyn Forché is a short, effective poem about a relationship. The speaker spends the lines uses imagery to define the various aspects of her partner and herself. 

Alzheimer’s: The Wife by C. K. Williams

‘Alzheimer’s: The Wife’ by C. K. Williams is a powerful and moving poem. In it, the poet depicts a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s and a few simple moments from her day.

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