Poems that use the Form, Quatrain

Earth Voices by Bliss Carman

‘Earth Voices’ by Bliss Carman is a clever poem that utilizes personification in order to convey the perspective of the sun, the wind, and the rain.

Earth Voices by Bliss Carman Visual Representation

Life’s Tragedy by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘Life’s Tragedy’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar considers the elements of life that create tragedy and suffering. The speaker asserts that missing out on perfect love and the perfect song leads to an “accursed” life.

Life's Tragedy by Paul Laurence Dunbar Visual Representation

To a Dark Girl by Gwendolyn Bennett

‘To a Dark Girl’ by Gwendolyn Bennett is a moving and inspiring poem that seeks to uplift Black girls and women and remind them of their beauty and strength. 

To a Dark Girl by Gwendolyn Bennett Visual Representation

More Light! More Light! by Anthony Hecht

‘More Light! More Light!’ by Anthony Hecht what inspired by the poet’s experiences during World War II. It describes several horrific deaths, one and 16th-century England and three in Buchenwald during World War II.

More Light! More Light! by Anthony Hecht Visual Representation

Bells for John Whiteside’s Daughter by John Crowe Ransom

‘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.

Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter by John Crowe Ransom Visual Representation

Why Flowers Change Color by Robert Herrick

‘Why Flowers Change Color’ by Robert Herrick is a short poem that speaks about virginity, virgins, and the reason that flowers change colors. The poem is often interpreted in different ways due to the few details Herrick provides in the four lines. 

Why Flowers Change Colors by Robert Herrick Visual Representation

Sally’s Hair by John Koethe

‘Sally’s Hair’ by John Koethe is a short and effective poem in which the speaker looks back on someone he met thirty-seven years ago and wonders where she is now.

Sally's Hair by John Koethe Visual Representation

Docker by Seamus Heaney

‘Docker’ is a 1966 poem by Seamus Heaney which depicts the life of a dockworker in Belfast and explores his personal and religious sense of discord.

Docker by Seamus Heaney Poem Visual Representation

The Arrow and the Song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘The Arrow and the Song’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is an interesting poem that utilizes quatrains. Throughout the piece, the speaker alludes to the unknown impact of his poetry before finding it in the heart of his friend in the last stanza.

The Arrow and the Song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Visual Representation

The Lesson by Roger McGough

‘The Lesson’ by Roger McGough is an interesting and unique poem that depicts the result of a teacher’s built-up rage.

The Lesson by Roger McGough 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

Reapers by Jean Toomer

‘Reapers’ by Jean Toomer is a thoughtful poem about oppression. It is depicted through a very poetic and memorable metaphor depicting field workers and a mower.

Reapers by Jean Toomer Visual Representation

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

‘Lizzie Borden Took an Ax’ is a well-known children’s rhyme that alludes to the accusations against Lizzie Borden in regard to the murder of her father and step-mother.

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax Visual Representation

The Kiss by Sara Teasdale

‘The Kiss’ by Sara Teasdale is a passionate love poem. The piece describes how devoted a speaker is to her lover and how she’d never choose anyone or anything over him. 

The Kiss by Sara Teasdale Visual Representation

The Pasture by Robert Frost

‘The Pasture’ by Robert Frost is a thoughtful and image-rich poem that depicts the chores a farmer has to complete. 

The Pasture by Robert Frost Visual Representation

Earth by John Hall Wheelock

‘Earth’ by John Hall Wheelock is a short poem that addresses humanity’s intelligence. It features a Martian astronomer who is considering what happened to planet Earth. 

Earth by John Hall Wheelock Visual Representation

The Purple Cow by Gelett Burgess

‘The Purple Cow’ by Gelett Burgess is a funny short poem. In it, the speaker declares his opinion about seeing and/or being a purple cow.

The Purple Cow by Gelett Burgess Visual Representation

Show It At the Beach by Shel Silverstein

‘Show It At the Beach’ by Shel Silverstein addresses taboos in contemporary society. Specifically, the poem considers when nudity is appropriate and when it isn’t (on the beach). 

Show it at the beach by shel silverstein

As I Was Going by Charing Cross

‘As I Was Going by Charing Cross’ was first recorded in the 1840s. But, it likely dates to an early decade. It’s thought that this nursery rhyme was likely shared through street cries or chants.

As i was going by charing cross

Longing by Matthew Arnold

‘Longing’ by Matthew Arnold is a poem directed at someone’s lover. They ask this person to visit them in their dreams since they can’t be together during the day.

Longing by Matthew Arnold Visual Representation

The River by Sara Teasdale

‘The River’ by Sara Teasdale is a short and effective poem. It uses a river as a narrator and describes its journey towards the ocean.

the river by sara teasdale visual representation

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