Poems about Darkness

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. 

Old Man by Edward Thomas Visual Representation

Root Cellar by Theodore Roethke

‘Root Cellar’ by Theodore Roethke is a short eleven-line poem that describes a variety of disgusting and smelly plant life that exists within a speaker’s root cellar.

Root Cellar by Theodore Roethke Visual Representation

Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allan Poe

‘Spirits of the Dead’ by Edgar Allan Poe is a beautiful poem that describes life and death. Specifically, the poet dwells on what it means to move from one world to the next. 

Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allan Poe Visual Representation

I Know a Man by Robert Creeley

Creeley’s ‘I Know a Man’ is about the growing darkness gnawing at the human soul, affecting its light and diminishing its inherent goodness. This poem hints at the condition of humankind in modern times.

I Know a Man by Robert Creeley Visual Representation

Traveling through the Dark by William Stafford

‘Traveling through the Dark’ by William Stafford is a powerful poem about life, death, and nature. The lines depict someone’s choices in regard to a dead, pregnant doe he finds on the side of the road.

Traveling through the Dark by William Stafford Visual Representation

The Rear-Guard by Siegfried Sassoon

Read Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘The Rear-Guard’ with a complete summary, analysis, and context to the war poem, about a soldier’s journey.

The Rear Guard by Siegfried Sassoon Visual Representation

It Is Here by Harold Pinter

‘It Is Here’ by Harold Pinter is a thoughtful poem. It uses sense imagery in order to explore a relationship between two people. 

It is Here by Harold Pinter

Prospice by Robert Browning

In ‘Prospice’ by Robert Browning, the speaker talks of facing death bravely and being reunited with his soulmate. Read the poem, with a complete analysis.

Prospice by Robert Browning Visual Representation

In a Dark Time by Theodore Roethke

‘In a Dark Time’ by Theodore Roethke is a powerful, short poem about identity. The speaker contends with their mental health while exploring their darkness.

in a dark time by theodore roethke

Sonnet 147 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 147,’ also known as ‘My love is as a fever, longing still,’ is a dark poem. It expresses the speaker’s loss of control over his body and mind. The Dark Lady has consumed his life like an illness.

Sonnet 147 by william shakespeare

Incident by Natasha Trethewey

‘Incident’ was published in the former United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey’s 2006 collection “Native Guard”. This poem features one of the African-American speaker’s reactions after watching the cross-burning by Ku Klux Klan members.

Incident by Natasha Trethewey Visual Representation

Snow Vision by Rita Reed

‘Snow Vision’ is a beautiful short poem that uses natural images, such as that of a tree, the snow, the wind, and the sun, to craft a fleeting scene.

Sonnet 95 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 95,’ also known as ‘How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame,’ is number ninety-five of one hundred fifty-four sonnets that William Shakespeare wrote.

On the Beach by Anne Ranasinghe

‘On the Beach’ by Anne Ranasinghe is a dark and disturbing poem in which the poet explores sadism through the narrative of a dog’s fate at the beach.

XII: An Epitaph by A.E. Housman

In Housman’s ‘XII: An Epitaph,’ readers will hear from a speaker who knows he’s about to die and is happy to accept his fate. 

Going by Philip Larkin

‘Going’ by Philip Larkin is a memorable poem about death. In it, he depicts death as a dark form that consumes everything.

The Three Little Pigs by Roald Dahl

This classic poem by Roald Dahl retells the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs with a surprisingly dark conclusion. 

The Prisoner by Emily Brontë

‘The Prisoner’ by Emily Brontë describes an interaction between the speaker, a prison warden, and a captive held within a dungeon crypt. 

Goliath and David by Robert Graves 

Goliath and David by Robert Graves retells the story of ‘David and Goliath’ in a darker, more realistic manner in which David loses the fight.

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