‘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.
‘Ultima Ratio Regum’ translates to English as “the last (ultimate) argument of kings,” which is an insinuation of war. In this poem, Spender portrays the effect of war on innocent, insignificant lives.
‘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.
‘Terence, This is Stupid Stuff’ by A. E. Housman addresses a speaker’s poetry, how he feels about another’s opinion, and alludes to critiques of Housman’s own literary works.
‘In Tenebris: I’ by Thomas Hardy is one of three poems devoted to an exploration of the poet’s own grief. He was mourning the decline of his marriage and writing career.
‘The Death of a Toad’ by Richard Wilbur speaks on the death of a toad and relates the tragedy to the larger problem of humankind’s conflict with nature.
‘La Figlia Che Piange’ by T. S. Eliot describes a speaker’s attempt to craft the perfect, yet tragic, love story and his obsession with its completion.
‘The Redbreast’ by Charlotte Richardson describes the short and tragic life of a robin redbreast who sought out refuge at the speaker’s home.
‘Hitcher’ by Simon Armitage describes a brutal act of violence against a “free” hitchhiker committed by a speaker who is “under / the weather.”
‘The Women Gather’ is a short, free verse poem that speaks on how we judge one another and the essentially good nature of human beings.
‘On the Massacre of the Christians in Bulgaria’ is a sonnet that questions the divinity of God after a massacre of Christians in Batak, Bulgaria.
‘If I can stop one heart from breaking’ by Emily Dickinson is a selfless proclamation of one’s desire to help. The poet’s speaker offers help in a variety of ways in some cases to better her own life.
‘Partition’ by Sujata Bhatt depicts the simple tale of a woman going to a “railway station” to provide for distressed people, while her niece stays “in her garden” and “wish[es]” “she” could be brave enough to do the same.
‘On my First Son’ is a poem about a father who has lost a young son, and attempts to distance himself from the tragedy in numerous ways.
‘The Field of Waterloo’, a poem written by Thomas Hardy, concerns the horror of war from the perspective of different creatures other than human beings.
‘The Send-Off’ is an anti-war poem and is atypically dark, which was a trademark of Wilfred Owen’s poetry.
After losing his dear friend in World War I, William Butler Yeats wrote this particular poem, ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death. Robert Gregory, an Irish Airman, was accidentally shot down by an Italian Aviator, who happened to be a dear friend of Yeats.