Poems about Illness

Abuelito Who by Sandra Cisneros

‘Abuelito Who’ by Sandra Cisneros is a powerful poem about the importance of family. The poem conveys the ways that illness and change within the family dynamic can have on a child.

Abuelito Who by Sandra Cisneros Visual Representation

A Wounded Deer—leaps highest by Emily Dickinson

‘A Wounded Deer—leaps highest’ by Emily Dickinson is a highly relatable poem that speaks about the difference between what someone or something looks like and the truth. She uses the examples of a fatally wounded deer and someone dying of tuberculosis.

A Wounded Deer--leaps highest by Emily Dickinson Visual Representation

Nightmare Begins Responsibility by Michael S. Harper

‘Nightmare Begins Responsibility’ by Michael S. Harper is an unforgettable poem in which the speaker describes the loss of a child. While struggling to trust the doctors caring for his newborn son, the speaker watches on helplessly. 

The Night After You Lose Your Job by Debora Kuan

‘The Night After You Lose Your Job’ by Debora Kuan is a highly relatable poem that takes place in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and features a mother struggling to make ends meet.

The Night After You Lose Your Job by Debora Kuan Visual Representation

Alzheimer’s: The Wife by C. K. Williams

‘Alzheimer’s: The Wife’ by C. K. Williams is a powerful and moving poem. In it, the poet depicts a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s and a few simple moments from her day.

Alzheimer's: The Wife by C. K. Williams Visual Representation

Sonnet 154 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 154,’ also known as ‘The little Love-god lying once asleep,’ describes how impossible it is for the speaker to rid himself of his love. There’s nothing he can do to stop loving the Dark Lady.

Sonnet 154 by William Shakespeare visual representation

Sonnet 153 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 153,’ also known as ‘Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep,’ describes the speaker’s attempts to cure his lovesickness. He eventually fails and returns to the Dark Lady.

Sonnet 153 by WIlliam Shakespeare visual representation

Hitchhiker by John Payne

‘Hitchhiker’ by John Payne is an interesting poem about a speaker’s reaction to loss. They address someone who has passed away and explore what that means for them.

hitchhiker by john payne visual representation

I Am! by John Clare

‘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. 

Sneezles by A.A. Milne

‘Sneezles’ by A.A. Milne is a funny poem that uses outrageous images. The young speaker, Christopher Robin, depicts his dreadful made-up illness.

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