The Tables Turned

by William Wordsworth

In ‘The Tables Turned,’ Wordsworth invites us to break free from the constraints of modern society and rediscover the natural world’s beauty and wisdom.

Wordsworth critiques what many scholars live for in terms of analyzing knowledge in books. He is disappointed in the over-analyzed terminology and the complicated concepts that distract from the more considerable informational achievements one might be able to accomplish if not so stuck in the details. He mentions that books are too narrow and often do not show the truth about humanity, but that nature shows the reality of the human spirit. The reader feels Wordsworth's disappointment that they are reading the poem instead of watching a bird on a tree branch.

an afternoon nap

by Arthur Yap

‘an afternoon nap’ by Arthur Yap explores the lacunae in the modern education system and how it results in anxiety and stress in students.

In this piece, Yap delves into a mother's disappointment with her son's mediocre academic grades.

The Dancing

by Gerald Stern

‘The Dancing’ by Gerald Stern is an emotionally complex poem that wrestles with feelings of joy and bittersweetness inspired by a fond memory.

The speaker has a clear disappointment in regards to their present circumstances. Down to the very shops they wander in and an inability to find the radio from their memory or to even just hear the music that emanated from it. To the speaker the past is currently preferable to their present.

The Machinist, Teaching His Daughter to Play the Piano

by B.H. Fairchild

‘The Machinist, Teaching His Daughter to Play the Piano’ by B.H. Fairchild is a free verse poem about how the creative process can connect a father and daughter.

The machinist, in this poem, must reconcile with the fact that he has given up on his dreams but must work hard to provide his daughter with more freedom and opportunity. Throughout most of the poem, the father is silent and rough, reflecting on the past when he still felt that he could have used his hands for more than working metal.

The Virgins

by Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott’s poem ‘The Virgins’ gives a holistic view of the life, economy, and culture of one of the Virgin Islands of the US, Saint Croix.

This Derek Walcott piece is about a disappointed and disillusioned native speaker who finds it difficult to regain hope after noticing the present state of Caribbean islands.

The Nightingale

by Philip Sidney

‘The Nightingale’ is a unique love-lyric that exploits the classical myth of Philomel to morph the personal rue of a lovelorn heart into a superb piece of poetry.

It can be said that the three characters of the poem, Philomela, Procne and Tereus got new life and among them Philomela's transformation was of the worth. Disappointment emerges in the poem as Philomela is with her sister's husband and Procne with her husband.


by Jean Bleakney

Jean Bleakney’s ‘Consolidation’ is a deeply personal poem about the act of rearranging the cowry shells that the speaker and her children gathered in the past.

In this poem, Bleakney tries to find a sense of harmony from her disappointments regarding her present.


by Hilda Doolittle

‘Circe’ by Hilda Doolittle is a poem that gives voice to Circe, a goddess and master of magical enchantments. Despite her power, she laments that she cannot control love.

In this poem, Circe is disappointed that Odysseus has left her. While she talks a lot about how powerful and influential she is, this self-aggrandizement only points out that she could not control her love, nor could she keep her lover from leaving her. With no way to change things, she must sit and pine for him, her power useless over him.

Parades, Parades

by Derek Walcott

‘Parades, Parades’ by Derek Walcott is an interesting, allusion-filled poem that discusses Saint Lucia after the end of British colonial rule. 

Walcott is extremely disappointed by how his government is running Saint Lucia after they earned their independence from Great Britain.

Claudette Colvin Goes to Work

by Rita Dove

‘Claudette Colvin Goes to Work’ by Rita Dove depicts the life and struggles of Claudette Colvin, who is best known as a civil rights activist.

There is a clear feeling of disappointment in this poem as Colvin alludes to her youthful dreams and contrasts them with the reality of her day-to-day life. She works hard, spends nights in the hospital, and still struggles to make ends meet.

Bloody Men

by Wendy Cope

‘Bloody Men’ by Wendy Cope is a short, contemporary poem by a British award-winning author. It uses a metaphor to compare men to buses.

The speaker contends with disappointment in the dating world in this poem.

The Idea of Ancestry

by Etheridge Knight

‘The Idea of Ancestry’ by Etheridge Knight is concerned with family relationships and how important being with those you’re related to is. 

It's clear that Knight is disappointed in himself and what's occurred in his life.

Mr. Flood’s Party

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

‘Mr. Flood’s Party’ by Edwin Arlington Robinson describes a man’s later years in life and how lonely he has become. It suggests that a long life is not always a blessing. 

Eben Flood is alone at the end of his life and is disappointed with his everyday life.


by Hone Tuwhare

‘Monologue’ by Hone Tuwhare is a contemporary poem about the difficulties workers face when looking for a job and how temporary those jobs can be. 

Disappointment with one's life and job prospects is an important part of this poem. The speaker knows what its like to be turned down for a much-needed job and also knows what it's like to be fired from a job that seemed too good to be true.

Please Mrs. Butler

by Allan Ahlberg

‘Please Mrs. Butler’ by Allan Ahlberg is a children’s poem that conveys a frustrating and purposeless conversation between a student and their teacher. 

The student is no doubt disappointed with their teacher's reaction.

3 November 1984

by Sujata Bhatt

In ‘3 November 1984,’ Indian-English poet Sujata Bhatt shows how history plays a vital role in the process of writing poetry, and their interconnectedness.

A Jet Ring Sent

by John Donne

‘A Jet Ring Sent’ by John Donne describes how a speaker’s beloved returned his promise ring. The speaker meditates on the nature of their relationship and how it is symbolized by the black ring. 

A Poison Tree

by William Blake

The poem ‘A Poison Tree,’ published in the year 1794, is one of the most wonderful and appreciated works of poetry by William Blake.


by Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg’s ‘America’ deals with the turbulent times in America. It was written during and focused on the period after the Second World War.


by Eavan Boland

‘Anorexic’ by Eavan Boland conveys the mindset of a woman determined to destroy her physical body through starvation and filled with hatred for her sinful past, as according to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve.


by John Masefield

‘Cargoes’ by John Masefield is a well-loved, short poem that explores cargo ships. The poet empathizes the way the ships have changed throughout history.


by Eavan Boland

‘Cityscape’ by Eavan Boland is a complex, allusion-filled poem that describes Dublin and the Blackrock Baths, and presents contrasting images of past and present. 

Crow Sickened

by Ted Hughes

‘Crow Sickened’ is a brilliant example of Hughes’ playful style, in which Crow attempts to work out the cause of his misery.

Death in the Arctic

by Robert Service

Robert Service’s ‘Death in the Arctic’ tells a bleak, dark story in such an evocative way that even after the poem finishes, the reader can’t help but wonder for more.


by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘Disappointed’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar is an inspirational poem in which Dunbar depicts an old man working hard in the last years of his life and losing everything he strove for. 


by Jackie Kay

‘Divorce’ by Jackie Kay is about parent-child relationships and how children are impacted by adults’ issues. The speaker is a teenager who is struggling to contend with her parent’s relationship with one another. 

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