‘The Freaks at Spurgin Road Field’ by Richard Hugo describes how everyone is at risk from going along with a group’s actions and not thinking for themselves.
‘Old Man’ by Edward Thomas is a thoughtful piece about the loss of memory and a disconnect to one’s past.
‘Here’ by R.S. Thomas is delivered from the perspective of a man who, while looking back on his life, finds himself self regretting acts of violence he committed.
‘The Gift’ by Li-Young Lee is an effective contemporary poem about the way a father’s voice and attitude influenced his son.
‘With rue my heart is laden’ by A.E. Housman is a short and simple poem in which a speaker looks back on what they’ve lost from their youth.
‘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.
‘Traveling Light’ by Alice Fulton is a powerful poem that weaves together images of the present and the past. Throughout, readers can explore Fulton’s understanding of her relationship with her father and her current relationship with the landscape around her.
‘An American Sunrise’ by Joy Harjo is a powerful poem about Native American culture written by the current Poet Laureate of the United States. The poem explores the struggles of the poet’s community as well as the successes and celebrations.
‘The Planners’ by Boey Kim Cheng is a powerful poem about the way that development and the creation of new infrastructure makes the world a less interesting place to live in.
‘To a Stranger’ by Walt Whitman describes a connection the speaker feels to a stranger they pass on the street.
‘Memorial’ by Amanda Gorman is a poem about the past and how poets are able to use their writing to help readers relive it.
‘how is it so easy for you’ by Rupi Kaur is a beautiful poem that expresses a speaker’s reasoning behind her kindness.
‘Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout’ by Gary Snyder is a beautiful two-stanza poem. In it, the speaker conveys descriptions from the top of Sourdough Mountain.
‘The Spanish Needle’ by Claude McKay is thoughtful and image-filled. The poet looks back on his speaker’s past and directs his words to a plant.
‘Under Stars’ by Tess Gallagher is a thoughtful poem that traces a speaker’s walk outside at night. It includes her reminiscence about her past and childhood.
‘Weather Eye’ by Isobel Dixon is a beautiful poem about childhood. It describes the routines that controlled a speaker’s life during their youth and how they miss the order and family time.
‘Childhood in Heidelberg’ by Andries Walter Oliphant is a thoughtful a complicated poem in which the speaker, a child, discusses their life growing up in Heidelberg, South Africa.
‘The Child Who Was Shot Dead by Soldiers in Nyanga’ by Ingrid Jonker describes an indominatble spirit of freedom and justice embodied within a symbolic child.
‘Light Refraction’ by Matt Melone outlines humanity’s unending quest to understand the world. Using memorable images of light and science, the poet describes the future and the past.
‘The Meeting’ by Katherine Mansfield is a short and image-rich poem that depicts a speaker’s reaction to a permanent separation from her lover.
‘Black Silk’ by Tess Gallagher is a sorrowful poem. In it, the speaker uses a silk vest to convey the emotion surrounding a loss.
‘Origin of the Marble Forest’ by Gregory Orr is an interesting and moving poem about someone’s past relationships. The speaker declares them “stone,” solidifying them in their life forever.
‘to my last period’ by Lucille Clifton is a thoughtful poem. In it, the speaker mourns for her lost youth and acknowledges further changes to come.
‘Nani’ by Alberto Ríos is a multi-layered poem. In it, the poet addresses themes like family, heritage, and the past.
‘It Is Here’ by Harold Pinter is a thoughtful poem. It uses sense imagery in order to explore a relationship between two people.
‘The Throwback’ by Paul Muldoon is a thoughtful poem. In it, the speaker celebrates his partner’s heritage and relates it back to Ancient Greece.
‘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.
‘Men at Forty’ by Donald Justice is a moving poem about aging and fatherhood. The speaker is describing what it’s like for all men when they reach forty and consider their pasts and presents.
‘Alcohol’ by Franz Wright is a moving poem that explores the complexities of addiction. It’s told from the perspective of alcohol, addressing someone who is addicted to the substance.
‘Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota’ by James Wright describes a speaker’s new appreciation for the countryside. They find themselves so attached to it that they suggest they’ve wasted their life not living there.