Poems about Abuse

Abuse poems center on the trauma of mistreatment and the pain of being in extreme fair all the time. The filthy stain left by an abusive relationship of the past gets featured in the poems of this list. Poets penned down their traumatic thoughts in order to relieve their hearts from the burgeoning pain.

Anniversary by Louise Glück

‘Anniversary’ by Louise Glück contains the words of a cold male speaker to his female partner. These lines, taking place on their anniversary, convey a troubling relationship dynamic.

Anniversary by Louise Glück Visual Representation

Stafford Afternoons by Carol Ann Duffy

Duffy’s ‘Stafford Afternoons’ is all about a child losing her way in the adult world and coming across an offensive scene that would leave its dark imprints in her mind.

Stafford Afternoons by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

Poem at Thirty by Sonia Sanchez

Sonia Sanchez’s ‘Poem at Thirty’ describes a speaker’s journey from being wounded to growing stronger. The pain reminds her of the metaphorical “midnight” of her life and her community.

Poem at Thirty by Sonia Sanchez Visual Representation

Middle Passage by Robert Hayden

‘Middle Passage’ by Robert Hayden is a narrative poem written in the 1940s. It describes the happenings of the Atlantic Slave Trade, as told from the perspective of several white narrators.

Middle Passage by Robert Hayden Visual Representation

Sonnet 133 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 133,’ also known as ‘Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan,’ is a poem about the speaker’s toxic relationship with the Dark Lady. He tries to find a way to improve his circumstances but admits he’s trapped.

Duplex by Jericho Brown

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

Red Roses by Anne Sexton

‘Red Roses’ by Anne Sexton is a story of child abuse told by a narrator, but with the vernacular, that represents the emotions and thoughts of the child undergoing the abuse.

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