The poem ‘Gathering the Bones Together’ describes the grief and trauma that Gregory Orr had to go through after accidentally killing his younger brother.
‘Death of a Young Son by Drowning’ by Margaret Atwood is a beautiful and impactful poem about the death of Susanna Moodie’s young son. Atwood explores the grief of the mother and how her life changed.
‘Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter’ by John Crowe Ransom is an elegy for Whiteside’s daughter, a young girl who passed away suddenly. It’s unclear why she died, but, the speaker spends the bass majority of this poem depicting her lively and playful life.
‘Snow-flakes’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a graceful and melodic poem that describes a snowfall as the sky sharing and shedding its grief.
‘Ten Little Soldiers’ was included in Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novel, ‘And Then There Were None.’ It iserves as an epigraph, appearing at the beginning of the book, and is connected with all ten deaths that occur on the island. It is unclear who wrote the first version of this nursery rhyme.
‘The Broken Chain’ by Ron Tranmer explores the feelings of grief that a family suffers when one of their much-loved members passed away. The poet uses the metaphor of a broken chain to describe their loss.
‘Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field one Night’ by Walt Whitman is an emotional poem that describes a soldier’s night-time vigil alongside the body of his fallen comrade.
‘Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat’ was written during the Native American Renaissance. This poem features the activities of a Native American community during Christmas.
Philip Larkin explores the immense power in ‘Love Songs In Age,’ and how reality can never fulfill the potential they promise us.
‘The Bustle in a House’ by Emily Dickinson is a short poem about the effects of death. It describes the “bustle” in a home the morning after an important loss.
‘Arabic’, a thoughtful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye appears in Red Suitcase: Poems (1994). This poem features a speaker’s forgetfulness concerning her mother tongue (Arabic) and culture.
‘Triolet’ by Robert Bridges is a short love poem that takes a specific poetic form. It acknowledges that love is a painful experience and personifies the force as a “hard master.”
‘The Measures Taken’ by Erich Fried is a powerful piece about war and loss. The reader is asked to consider their concepts of good, evil, and who deserves to live throughout the poem.
‘Bereft’ by Robert Frost is a beautiful poem that exemplifies a speaker’s loneliness. He uses natural imagery to depict the changes in his life and how he feels about the world.
‘The Meeting’ by Katherine Mansfield is a short and image-rich poem that depicts a speaker’s reaction to a permanent separation from her lover.
‘Two Lines from the Brothers Grimm’ by Gregory Orr is a short and impactful poem. In it, the speaker describes approaching dangers and the need to escape them with his sibling.
‘Black Silk’ by Tess Gallagher is a sorrowful poem. In it, the speaker uses a silk vest to convey the emotion surrounding a loss.
‘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.
‘Amateur Fighter’ is a poem about a speaker thinking of her father, a boxer. His painful journey inside and outside the ring is portrayed through this piece.
‘Separation’ by W. S. Merwin is about what it feels like to be absent from someone you love. The poem uses a clever simile to depict these emotions.
‘Eating Together’ by Li-Young Lee is a beautiful contemporary poem about death. It uses a thoughtful simile and direct language.
‘As from a Quiver of Arrows’ by Carl Phillips is a thoughtful piece that presents readers with numerous questions around the rituals of death and loss.
‘Alcohol’ by Franz Wright is a moving poem that explores the complexities of addiction. It’s told from the perspective of alcohol, addressing someone who is addicted to the substance.
‘There is a pain—so utter’ by Emily Dickinson is a complicated poem. It uses abstract language to describe pain.
‘Indian Boarding School: The Runaways’ by Louise Erdrich is an incredibly moving poem. In it, the poet details the lives of children forced to live at a Native American boarding school.
‘Bag of Mice’ by Nick Flynn is a powerful poem that describes a speaker’s dream and a listener’s suicide note.
‘I Have News’ by Juliette A. H. Cavendish is a moving poem. In it, the speaker describes the aftermath of a death and how they contended with it.
‘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.
‘I Am!’ by John Clare is a powerful poem about a speaker’s struggle with depression, loneliness, and a desire to find peace in Heaven.
‘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.