Poems about Life Struggles

The Lyric in a Time of War by Eloise Klein Healy

‘The Lyric in a Time of War’ by Eloise Klein Healy is a poem about war, writing, and artistic cconnection throughout time. The poem is dedicated to how writing can create a connection between two people over time and space. 

The Lyric in a Time of War by Eloise Klein Healy Visual Representation

Only a Dad by Edgar Albert Guest

‘Only a Dad’ by Edgar Albert Guest is dedicated to the poet’s father. The poem describes the man’s willingness to self-sacrifice and do whatever he can to make his children happy. 

Only a Dad by Edgar Albert Guest Visual Representation

Ma Rainey by Sterling A. Brown

This heartfelt Sterling A. Brown poem is all about the famous 20th-century blues artist Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, also known as the “Mother of the Blues.”

Ma Rainey by Sterling A. Brown Visual Representation

Nikki-Rosa by Nikki Giovanni

In ‘Nikki-Rosa,’ Nikki Giovanni explores her experiences while growing up in a closely-knit black community in 1950s America.

Nikki-Rosa by Nikki Giovanni Visual Representation

The Writer by Richard Wilbur

‘The Writer’ by Richard Wilbur depicts a father watching his daughter create her first piece of writing. The poet uses clever and creative examples of figurative language in order to depict the struggle new and experienced writers go through. 

Life's Tragedy by Paul Laurence Dunbar Visual Representation

The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes

‘The Chambered Nautilus’ by Oliver Wendell Holmes is an interesting and beautiful poem. In it, the poet describes the nautilus and the life of struggle and improvement it engages in.

The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes Visual Representation

Fragment by Angelina Weld Grimké

‘Fragment’ by Angelina Weld Grimké is a short and powerful poem in which a woman discusses, in simple terms, who she is and how she toils on a day-to-day basis.

Fragment by Angelina Weld Grimké Visual Representation

DIVORCE by Kanye West

‘DIVORCE’ by Kanye West was written in order to reflect the writer’s experiences during his divorce from Kim Kardashian.

DIVORCE by Kanye West Visual Representation

DEAD by Kanye West

‘DEAD’ by Kanye West addresses feelings of alienation and isolation. Specifically, those surrounding the writer’s relationship with his now ex-wife, Kim Kardashian.

DEAD by Kanye West Visual Representation

Babies by Alice Fulton

‘Babies’ by Alice Fulton describes the different ways that children and adults understand the world. The latter’s perspective is informed by years of conflict, lies that can’t be apologized for, and the realization that some parts of one’s life are so important that you only get one shot at them.

Babies by Alice Fulton Visual Representation

Don’t Quit by Edgar Albert Guest

‘Don’t Quit’ by Edgar Albert Guest is a simple poem about facing the difficulties in one’s life and persevering through them.

Don't Quit by Edgar Albert Guest Visual Representation

Knocking Around by John Ashbery

‘Knocking Around’ by John Ashbery is a thoughtful and image-rich contemporary poem about life. The four stanzas use a variety of examples of figurative language to describe the lights and darks or the days and nights, or life. 

Knocking Around by John Ashbery Visual Representation

As I Walked Out One Evening by W.H. Auden

‘As I Walked Out One Evening’ by W. H. Auden is a poem about the unconquerable nature of death and the imperfect nature of love. This piece was first published in 1940 in the poet’s collection Another Time.

As I Walked Out One Evening by W.H. Auden Visual Representation

Freedom by Rabindranath Tagore

‘Freedom’ by Rabindranath Tagore is a powerful and effective poem about freedom. The speaker spends the seventeen lines of the poem describing the kind of freedom he hopes his country will find.

Freedom by Rabindranath Tagore Visual Representation

Skyscraper by Carl Sandburg

‘Skyscraper’ is about the monumental modern wonder that, according to poet Carl Sandburg, “has a soul.” It’s the people working there who keep the frame of steel and mortar alive.

Skyscraper by Carl Sandburg Visual Representation

The Great Society by Robert Bly

Published in Robert Bly’s award-winning collection, The Light Around the Body (1967), ‘The Great Society’ satirizes the set of domestic programs launched by Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964-65 by presenting contrasting imagery from contemporary American society.

The Great Society by Robert Bly Visual Representation

Hard Times by John Ashbery

Published in Shadow Train (1981), John Ashbery’s ‘Hard Times’ is about the poet’s take on the modern world and its future. It showcases people’s ignorance of the issues that troubles Ashbery the most.

Hard Times by John Ashbery Visual Representation

New Day’s Lyric by Amanda Gorman

‘New Day’s Lyric’ by Amanda Gorman is poem written at the end of 2021 in order to usher in a more hopeful new year in 2022. The piece explores themes of hope and change. 

New Day’s Lyric by Amanda Gorman Visual Representation

Money, O! by W.H. Davies

‘Money, O!’ by W.H Davies is a poem that argues that having a lot of money is not all that it’s cracked up to be. While being well off financially comes with its benefits, it comes at the expense of genuine relationships.

Money, Oh! By W.H. Davies Visual Representation

Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay

‘Sorrow’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay is a lyric poem written about a speaker’s depression. The short piece is filled with evocative depictions of what feeling all-encompassing sorrow is like. 

Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay Visual Representation

When green buds hang in the elm by A. E. Housman

A. E. Housman’s poem ‘When green buds hang in the elm’ is about a speaker’s attachment to nature and how it reminds him of his own mortality. It appears in the poetry collection Last Poems (1922).

When green buds hang in the elm by A. E. Housman Visual Representation

To a Locomotive in Winter by Walt Whitman

‘To a Locomotive in Winter’ by Walt Whitman is a memorable poem written in Whitman’s skilled free verse. It addresses a train and celebrates its sounds, images, and strength.

To a Locomotive in Winter by Walt Whitman Visual Representation

The Juggler by Richard Wilbur

‘The Juggler’ by Richard Wilbur is about the way that change can temporarily relieve some of the complacency human beings experience in life. 

The Juggler by Richard Wilbur Visual Representation

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