Beauty

Beauty is and will remain one of the important themes in poetry. There are a number of ways to define beauty. Literally, beauty is a set of qualities that pleases one’s aesthetic senses. What is beautiful in one’s sight, cannot appear as beautiful in that of others. This is why we find several interpretations of beauty in poems from different periods.

Consider the definition of beauty by John Keats, one of the famous poets of the British Romantic period. In Ode on a Grecian Urn,’ he defines: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,— that is all.”

How do other poets describe beauty? In order to find out, dive into this list of incredible poems. You can also explore these best-loved poems about beauty.

Eel Tail by Alice Oswald

‘Eel Tail,’ a poem by contemporary British poet Alice Oswald, is about the mysteriously beautiful eels and their swift movements in the water.

Winter Rain by Christina Rossetti

‘Winter Rain’ by Christina Rossetti is about the power rain has in the natural world and how without it nothing would be the same. She uses several examples and images to depict the world flourishing after a rainstorm.

February by Gillian Clarke

‘February’ depicts a stunning and figurative encounter with Clarke’s familiar Welsh landscape on a snowy February day.

For Sidney Bechet by Philip Larkin

‘For Sidney Bechet’ is a poetic tribute to Sidney Bechet, one of the early jazz maestros that poet Philip Larkin admired the most.

Fountain by Elizabeth Jennings

Elizabeth Jennings herself considered ‘Fountain’ as one of her favorite poems. This piece is about the controlled energy of a fountain.

Iris by Sujata Bhatt

‘Iris’ by Sujata Bhatt is a narrative poem with lyric qualities. It depicts an artist’s wait for the sun to come out and bring out the colors in a single iris.

The Bait by John Donne

‘The Bait’ by John Donne describes a speaker’s love and admiration for a woman. He emphasizes what her beauty and goodness are capable of. 

The Stinking Rose by Sujata Bhatt

‘The Stinking Rose’ by Sujata Bhatt describes the way that garlic is judged based on its name and how a changed name might influence that fact. 

Women and Roses by Robert Browning

‘Women and Roses’ by Robert Browning conveys a man’s perspective on women throughout time. They are represented by three apples on his metaphorical apple tree.

The Undertaking by John Donne

‘The Undertaking’ by John Donne is a poem about an elevated form of love that makes the speaker’s relationship superior to other people’s. 

29 April 1989 by Sujata Bhatt

‘29 April 1989’ by Sujata Bhatt is a sweet, little piece about a mother’s sudden found pleasure in nature’s soggy musicality.

Into My Own by Robert Frost

Robert Frost’s ‘Into My Own’ explores the concepts of maturity and growing up. The poet delves into the exploration of childhood and self.

A Face by Robert Browning

Written in response to fellow poet Coventry Patmore’s poem The Angel in the House (1854), ‘A Face’ by Robert Browning explores the poet’s fascination with a lady’s portrait, particularly her facial features depicted in it.

Whose cheek is this?

‘Whose cheek is this?’ by Emily Dickinson is a complicated poem in which the poet describes finding a flower that metaphorically resembles a dead girl.

Pour l’amour de ma doulce amye

‘Pour l’amour de ma doulce amye’ or ‘For the love of my sweet lady,’ is a French lyric composed in the 15th century. It is dedicated to a woman the writer loved. 

Peter Quince at the Clavier by Wallace Stevens

‘Peter Quince at the Clavier’ by Wallace Stevens is a musical depiction of the story of Susanna and the Elders from the Book of Daniel. It describes the “feeling” of “music” and the nature of beauty.

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. 

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.

I Shall Paint My Nails Red by Carole Satyamurti

‘I Shall Paint My Nails Red’ by Carole Satyamurti is a poem about why a female speaker painted her nails. The simple premise is made more complicated as she lists out the reasons why she painted her nails red. 

Never Trust a Mirror by Erin Hanson

‘Never Trust a Mirror’ by Erin Hanson is a poem about beauty and self-worth. The poet describes the untrustworthy nature of a mirror and how one shouldn’t take what they see in it for granted. 

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