Past

A Different History by Sujata Bhatt

‘A Different History’ by Sujata Bhatt is not a raging piece of protest, rather it teaches how to revisit one’s cultural past in a curious, sensible way.

A Different History by Sujata Bhatt

3 November 1984 by Sujata Bhatt

In ‘3 November 1984,’ Indian-English poet Sujata Bhatt shows how history plays a vital role in the process of writing poetry, and their interconnectedness.

3 November 1984 by Sujata Bhatt

Cityscape by Eavan Boland

‘Cityscape’ by Eavan Boland is a complex, allusion-filled poem that describes Dublin and the Blackrock Baths, and presents contrasting images of past and present. 

Cityscape by Eavan Boland

Witness by Eavan Boland

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

Witness by Eavan Boland

Sonnet 35 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘Sonnet 35’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning expresses the speaker’s worries about the changes in her life. She embarks on a new life with her beloved and hopes he’s ready to accept her in the same way she’s accepting him.

Sonnet 35 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Frederick Douglass by Robert Hayden

‘Frederick Douglass’ by Robert Hayden honors Douglass and speaks about a future in which all people, according to Douglass’ ideas of love and logic, will be treated equally without question.

Frederick Douglass by Robert Hayden

Horace to Leuconoe by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson’s sonnet ‘Horace to Leuconoe’ is a passionate address of a lover to a girl, brooding over what God might have in store for her. He advises her to seize the moment and forget about the past and the future.

Horace to Leuconoe by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Hands by Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers’s poem ‘Hands’ is about the distance between modern civilization and past civilizations. It voices Jeffers’s philosophy of “inhumanism.”

Hands by Robinson Jeffers

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.

Gold by Donald Hall

Milton by Firelight by Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder’s ‘Milton by Firelight’ is based on Satan’s comment in Paradise Lost and how it is relevant in the present time given the condition of the environment and humankind.

Milton by Firelight by Gary Snyder

Air by W.S. Merwin

‘Air’ appears in W.S. Merwin’s 1963 collection of poetry, The Moving Target. This piece is about the personified air, introspecting on its role in nature.

Air by W.S. Merwin

Suburban Sonnet by Gwen Harwood

‘Suburban Sonnet’ by Gwen Harwood is a powerful poem about a woman’s struggles with motherhood. It explores the mundane elements of her life and her lost dreams.

Suburban Sonnet by Gwen Harwood

In The Park by Gwen Harwood

‘In The Park’ by Gwen Harwood is a moving poem about how difficult motherhood can truly be. It describes a mother’s distress over her lost life.

In The Park by Gwen Harwood

Wine Tasting by Kim Addonizio

‘Wine Tasting’ by Kim Addonizio skillfully delves into a speaker’s memories. The poet depicts the experience of drinking wine and all the connected thoughts and emotions it can evoke. 

The Good Life by Tracy K. Smith

‘The Good Life’ by Tracy K. Smith is an incredibly relatable poem. In it, the poet asks the reader to consider their relationship with money and what the ‘good life’ really is.

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ is a moving depiction of the United States as it was on the cusp of President Biden’s inauguration in 2021. 

Duplex by Jericho Brown

‘Duplex’ by Jericho Brown explores physical and mental abuse, looking at how memory can impact a person.

Peeling Onions by Adrienne Rich

‘Peeling Onions’ by Adrienne Rich is an introspective poem. In it, the poet uses the metaphor of peeling onions to define her complex thoughts.

Warning by Jenny Joseph

‘Warning’ by Jenny Joseph describes what the future has in store as one ages and throws off societal restraints and expectations. 

Rain by Don Paterson

‘Rain’ by Don Paterson describes the way that rain acts as an equalizing force capable of washing away one’s concern for the past. 

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