Poems about Memories

As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes

‘As I Grew Older’ by Langston Hughes is about breaking through the “wall” that racism constructs. The speaker, a Black man from the African American community, spends the poem discussing the light of forgotten dreams he’s newly determined to attain.

As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes Visual Representation

The Heart by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Jill Alexander Essbaum’s ‘The Heart’ is a short poem that dictates the intricacies of dealing with heartfelt emotions. It describes the human heart as a room with four chambers and thousands of doors.

The Heart by Jill Alexander Essbaum 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

The Lost Pilot by James Tate

‘The Lost Pilot’ is dedicated to James Tate’s father, who died on a bombing mission in World War II in 1944. He was a co-pilot of a B-17.

The Lost Pilot by James Tate Visual Representation

Barbed Wire by Henry Taylor

‘Barbed Wire’ is a poem about the tragic death of a horse on a summer afternoon. This piece explores the quick, sudden death of the horse.

Barbed Wire by Henry Taylor Visual Representation

Spooning by David Mason

David Mason’s ‘Spooning’ appears in the 1991 winter issue of The Hudson Review. This poem is about a speaker recapturing his dead grandfather’s life.

Spooning by David Mason Visual Representation

Belle Isle, 1949 by Philip Levine

‘Belle Isle, 1949’ by Philip Levine is a poem about a series of moments from a speaker’s youth. He swims in the Detroit River and then returns to his life. 

Belle Isle, 1949 by Philip Levine Visual Representation

Hot Combs by Natasha Trethewey

‘Hot Combs’ by Natasha Trethewey is an emotional poem about the past. It includes images of a speaker’s mother and how she looked as she fixed her hair.

Hot Combs by Natasha Trethewey Visual Representation

The Secret Heart by Robert Coffin

‘The Secret Heart’ by Robert Coffin speaks of a man remembering his father and explores love through a tender moment between father and son.

The Secret Heart by Robert Coffin Visual Representation

When You Come by Maya Angelou

‘When You Come’ by Maya Angelou is a powerful piece about a past love. The poet uses figurative language to emphasize the experience of reliving the past.

When You Come by Maya Angelou Visual Representation

XIV by Derek Walcott

‘XIV’ appears in Derek Walcott’s collection of poems “Midsummer”. This poem features the glorious days of Walcott’s childhood, especially how they gathered around his mother to hear stories at the stroke of eve.

XIV by Derek Walcott Visual Representation

Coat by Jane Duran

‘Coat’ is written by the Spanish-American poet Jane Duran. This poem taps on the themes of motherhood, love, and memory.

Coat by Jane Duran Visual Representation

The Black Walnut Tree by Mary Oliver

‘The Black Walnut Tree’ by Mary Oliver is a thoughtful poem about familial history. The poet depicts a discussion between herself and her mother. 

Wine Tasting by Kim Addonizio

‘Wine Tasting’ by Kim Addonizio skillfully delves into a speaker’s memories. The poet depicts the experience of drinking wine and all the connected thoughts and emotions it can evoke. 

Duplex by Jericho Brown

‘Duplex’ by Jericho Brown explores physical and mental abuse, looking at how memory can impact a person.

I am very bothered by Simon Armitage

In ‘I am very bothered’, the Speaker takes on the role of confessor, as he shares a shameful event from his past and offers it up to the Reader to make up their minds about the misdemeanor.

A Memory by Lola Ridge

‘A Memory’ by Lola Ridge describes a speaker’s memories of a specific emotional night she spent with the listener on the shore of a tropic sea.

Artist’s Life by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

‘Artist’s Life’ by Ella Wheeler Wilcox describes the personal and emotional connection a speaker has to Strauss’ composition, Artist’s Life. 

Music I Heard by Conrad Aiken

‘Music I Heard’ by Conrad Aiken describes the irreparably changed world of a speaker who has lost his lover but not the most poignant of his memories.

Dreamers by Siegfried Sassoon

‘Dreamers’ by Siegfried Sassoon speakers on the inner, dream-like lives of soldiers fighting in the trenches of World War I. 

The Choir Invisible by George Eliot

‘The Choir Invisible’ by George Eliot describes the hopes a speaker has for the afterlife and the impact her memory might have on those still living. 

Kite by Daya Dissanayake

‘Kite’ by Daya Dissanayake describes a boy’s attempt to enjoy his own childhood amongst the polluted air and piles of refuse in his town. 

Fish Bouncing Kiss by Riyas Qurana

‘Fish Bouncing Kiss’ by Riyas Qurana describes a moment between lovers which contains hundreds of other memories retold beneath a tree.

In Your Mind by Carol Ann Duffy

‘In Your Mind’ by Carol Ann Duffy describes a detailed daydream in which the reader of the poem embarks on a strangely familiar trip.

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