Poems about Death

Death is one of the only themes that is truly universal. Poets have been writing about death from the beginning of recorded history, fearing it, fighting it, and embracing it. Depending on the content of the poem, readers might find themselves thrust into a world where death is everpresent or one in which the main character is peacefully carried to their fate.

Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden

‘Funeral Blues,’ also known as ‘Stop all the Clocks,’ is arguably Auden’s most famous poem. It was first published in ‘The Year’s Poetry’ in 1938.

Strange Fruit by Abel Meeropol

‘Strange Fruit’ is a heart-wrenching song penned by Abel Meeropol and Billie Holiiday. It reveals the tragic nature of some of the darkest times in American history.

This Is a Photograph of Me by Margaret Atwood

‘This Is a Photograph of Me’ is the first poem of Margaret Atwood’s poetry collection “The Circle Game,” published in 1964. This piece centers on a photograph of a child who has drowned in a lake.

The Floating Post Office By Agha Shahid Ali

‘The Floating Post Office’ by Agha Shahid Ali describes the terrifying state of Kashmir. It depicts a floating post office that carries terrifying messages of destruction and death.

A Coffin is a Small Domain by Emily Dickinson

‘A Coffin—is a small Domain’ by Emily Dickinson explores death. It is characteristic of much of the poet’s work in that it clearly addresses this topic and everything that goes along with it.

The Past is such a Curious Creature by Emily Dickinson

‘The past is such a Curious creature’ by Emily Dickinson focuses on the past, and personifies it as a female character. The poet’s speaker puts the feeling of one’s past into a few simple, relatable words.

The Field of Waterloo by Thomas Hardy

‘The Field of Waterloo’, a poem written by Thomas Hardy, concerns the horror of war from the perspective of different creatures other than human beings.

In The Garden by Emily Dickinson

‘In the Garden’ by Emily Dickinson skillfully depicts nature. The poet focuses in on a garden and the bugs and birds one might see there.

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