Poems that are a Lyric

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

Two Songs by Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich’s ‘Two Songs’ explores the themes of lust, physicality, and pleasure. These poems feature a speaker’s “post coitum” feelings.

Two Songs by Adrienne Rich Visual Representation

A Thank-Offering by Ella Higginson

‘A Thank-Offering’ by Ella Higginson is addressed to God. It outlines all the beautiful sights and sounds in a speaker’s everyday life and thanks to God for creating them. 

A Thank-Offering by Ella Higginson Visual Representation

Teacher by Carol Ann Duffy

Duffy’s ‘Teacher’ is about a teacher whose teaching has the power to infuse life into the mundane and dry figures of the book. This piece is written in admiration and love for her teaching.

Teacher by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

Forties Flick by John Ashbery

Published in John Ashbery’s award-winning poetry collection, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), the poem ‘Forties Flick’ is a postmodern, nostalgic lyric on film noir of the “classic period.” This piece vividly portrays a trademark scene of Hollywood crime dramas of the 1940s.

Forties Flick by John Ashbery Visual Representation

Notice by Robert Lowell

A thought-provoking piece from Robert Lowell’s incredible array of poetry, ‘Notice’ harks for capturing each and every moment of our lives, be it repeated or unbearable. We have to draw inspiration from tiny details in our lives.

Notice by Robert Lowell Visual Representation

The Window by Diane di Prima

‘The Window,’ an interesting poem is written by the Beat poet Diane di Prima, compares poetry to a “window” to a writer’s soul. It showcases how poetry captures the very essence of the poet and her thoughts.

The Window by Diane di Prima Visual Representation

Leap Before You Look by W. H. Auden

W. H. Auden’s instructive poem ‘Leap Before You Look’ (1940) counsels readers to take risks rather than being cautious in each step. This poem is written in a wise and caring tone.

Leap Before You Look by W. H. Auden Visual Representation

a man who had fallen among thieves by E.E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings’ ‘a man who had fallen among thieves’ is a modern retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan who helped a robbed man lying unconscious on the road. In this poem, the speaker helps one such person who faced a similar accident.

a man who had fallen among thieves by E. E. Cummings Visual Representation

To The Stone-Cutters by Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers’s poem ‘To The Stone-Cutters’ explores the similarities between rock-cut sculptures and poetry. This piece highlights the timelessness of poetry.

To The Stone-Cutters by Robinson Jeffers Visual Representation

On My Boat on Lake Cayuga by William Cole

William Cole’s ‘On My Boat on Lake Cayuga’ is a light verse poem that presents a contrast between the sounds of a traditional boat and modern four-wheelers.

On My Boat on Lake Cayuga by William Cole Visual Representation

Recital by John Updike

‘Recital’ by John Updike is a poetic tribute to Roger Bobo, an American tuba virtuoso and brass pedagogue. This poem captures the popularity of Bobo’s tuba playing skills.

Recital by John Updike 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

Tavern by Edna St. Vincent Millay

‘Tavern’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay is a beautiful, short poem that speaks to one person’s desire to take care of others. 

Tavern by Edna St. Vincent Millay Visual Representation

Down, Wanton, Down! by Robert Graves

‘Down, Wanton, Down!’ is a direct address to “wanton” or the urge to have unrestrained sexual relationships. The speaker rebukes the desire/person by describing the value of “Love” and “Beauty.”

Down, Wanton, Down! by Robert Graves Visual Representation

Good-bye by Walter de la Mare

Walter de la Mare’s poem ‘Good-bye’ illustrates the impact of the “last of last words” with the help of vivid, pessimistic imagery. It’s all about one’s emotional distress caused by a heart-wrenching “Goodbye.”

Good-bye by Walter de la Mare Visual Representation

A Simile for Her Smile by Richard Wilbur

‘A Simile for Her Smile,’ written by the American poet Richard Wilbur, is a poem about finding the right simile for a loved one’s smile. It appears in Wilbur’s second collection of poetry, Ceremony, and Other Poems (1950).

A Simile for Her Smile by Richard Wilbur Visual Representation

The Dalliance of the Eagles by Walt Whitman

Whitman’s ‘The Dalliance of the Eagles’ depicts a fierce yet amorous scene of the birds of prey, briefly consummating in the open sky and then parting in their own ways. This poem was not received favorably due to its explicit depiction of sexuality.

The Dalliance of the Eagles by Walt Whitman Visual Representation

When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted by Rudyard Kipling

Published in 1922, Kipling’s ‘When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted’ describes the “last” painting of mother earth and how it will be painted by the “good” people. No matter how this world ends, there will always be a new beginning, a new painting to admire.

When Earth's Last Picture Is Painted by Rudyard Kipling Visual Representation

Gold by Donald Hall

A golden poem out of Hall’s heart, ‘Gold’ is about the precious past and conjugal memories of a speaker. It appears in the collection Old and New Poems published in 1990.

Gold by Donald Hall Visual Representation

On a Certain Lady at Court by Alexander Pope

Written in 1717, Pope’s ‘On a Certain Lady at Court’ is about Catharine Howard, one of the waiting-women of Queen Caroline and a mistress to George II. Pope satirizes the lady’s qualities as she rejects his genuine love.

On a Certain Lady at Court by Alexander Pope Visual Representation

Like A Flower In The Rain by Charles Bukowski

Bukowski’s ‘Like A Flower In The Rain’ is a clear-cut poem describing the odd lovemaking of a couple. Bukowski does not shy away from noting their raw conversation in the text.

Like A Flower In The Rain by Charles Bukowski Visual Representation

Caedmon by Denise Levertov

Levertov’s ‘Caedmon’ retells the story of that night when an Anglo-Saxon simpleton transformed into the most-famous name of Old English literature.

Caedmon By Denise Levertov Visual Representation

Let Me Tell You by Miller Williams

In ‘Let Me Tell You,’ Miller Williams suggests prospective poets aspiring to express their thoughts through imaginative works. His suggestion is to devour each detail from the commonplace.

Let Me Tell You by Miller Williams Let Me Tell You by Miller Williams Visual Representation

The Death of Fred Clifton by Lucille Clifton

This poem is about the death of Lucille Clifton’s husband, Fred James Clifton, who passed away on 11 October 1984 at the age of 49. It evokes the spirit of Fred and describes his discovery of something new.

The Death of Fred Clifton by Lucille Clifton Visual Representation

Classic Ballroom Dances by Charles Simic

The Siberian American poet Charles Simic’s ‘Classic Ballroom Dances’ is about how a speaker finds similarities between simple daily activities and the art of dancing.

Classic Ballroom Dances by Charles Simic Visual Representation

Two or Three Wishes by Carl Dennis

‘Two or Three Wishes’ belongs to Carl Dennis’s poetry collection Ranking the Wishes (1997). This piece is about the veracity of imagination and the role of truth.

Two or Three Wishes by Carl Dennis Visual Representation