Religion Poems

‘Twas the old — road — through pain—

by Emily Dickinson

‘Twas the old — road — through pain—’ by Emily Dickinson describes a woman’s path from life to death and her entrance into Heaven. 

Christianity is a theme of this poem, specifically the woman's belief (and hope) that she's going to end up in Heaven after she dies.

In Chambers bright —

Too out of sight — though —

For our hoarse Good Night —

To touch her Head!

Explore more poems about Religion

Hymn to Aphrodite

by Sappho

The ‘Hymn to Aphrodite’ by Sappho is an ancient lyric in which Sappho begs for Aphrodite’s help in managing her turbulent love life.

One of the most unique features of 'Hymn to Aphrodite' is Sappho's seemingly close relationship with Aphrodite, who seems to come to help Sappho frequently. While Sappho uses formulaic language to turn her lyric into a formal prayer, her relationship with the goddess is akin to that of a mother to a child, which is only ever seen in other greek poems where a divinity is the parent of a character in the poem.

Beautiful-throned, immortal Aphrodite,

Daughter of Zeus, beguiler, I implore thee,

Weigh me not down with weariness and anguish

O thou most holy!

‘Yes, Holy Be Thy Resting Place’ Poem

by Emily Brontë

‘Yes, Holy Be Thy Resting Place’ is one of Emily Brontë’s poems that visits the softly sentimental side of her poetic talent.

Religion is a prominent theme in 'Holy be thy resting place' as it speaks to the idea of an afterlife and the role of angels and heaven in that realm. The poem suggests that even though the speaker may no longer be able to watch over their loved one, they have faith that guardian angels will be present to watch over them and that heaven itself will bestow a beam of glory upon them.

Yes, holy be thy resting place

Wherever thou may'st lie;

The sweetest winds breathe on thy face,

The softest of the sky.

The Tyger

by William Blake

‘The Tyger’ is a well-known poem by William Blake. It explores the dark and destructive side of God and his creation.

Religion is a central theme in 'The Tyger,' as Blake raises questions about the nature and origins of the divine. He questions whether the same creator who made the gentle and innocent lamb also created the fearsome and dangerous tiger.

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Windhover

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

‘The Windhover’ is an incredibly important poem that Hopkins considered to be his best. It uses symbolism to speak about God and faith.

'The Windhover' can also express the speaker's faith and devotion to God. The poem is filled with religious imagery and suggests a deep connection between the bird's movements and the divine.

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-

dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding

Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding

Because I could not stop for Death

by Emily Dickinson

‘Because I could not stop for death,’ Dickinson’s best-known poem, is a depiction of one speaker’s journey into the afterlife with personified “Death” leading the way.

This poem explores the relationship between the physical world and the spiritual realm. Her portrayal of Death as a suitor suggests the Christian concept of death as a passage to a new life, while her contemplation of the afterlife reflects her interest in the mysteries of existence.

Because I could not stop for Death –

He kindly stopped for me –

The Carriage held but just Ourselves –

And Immortality.


by Léonie Adams

Apostate’ by Léonie Adams describes the freedom a speaker sees in the joyful stars and how she aches to live as they do. 

The poem explores themes of faith and doubt and the struggle to reconcile one's beliefs with the reality of the world. The speaker is grappling with the loss of her faith, and the poem offers a powerful meditation on the nature of religious belief and the challenges of living a life of faith.
From weariness I looked out on the stars And there beheld them, fixed in throbbing joy, Nor racked by such mad dance of moods as mars For us each moment’s grace with swift alloy.

June (from “The Vision of Sir Launfal”)

by James Russell Lowell

‘June’ by James Russell Lowell is a religiously-charged romantic narrative poem about the overwhelming beauty and rejuvenating power of summer. 

This poem is a smaller selection from a poem that is primarily about religion and God. 'June' looks at summer as evidence for heaven, as the lengthening days and bright golden warmth of the sun bring the dead back to life.

And what is so rare as a day in June?

Then, if ever, come perfect days;

Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,

And over it softly her warm ear lays:

Easter Hymn

by A. E. Housman

‘Easter Hymn’ by A. E. Houseman unearths the contradictions between religious teachings and their implementation. The poet is juxtaposing biblical moments of violence with modern ones to highlight the incomplete nature of Christ’s promise to save humanity from itself.

At its core, the poem questions Jesus Christ’s immortality. Musing which is the less depressing prospect: a dead Jesus who doesn’t know how his message has fallen on deaf ears or an immortal one that sees such abuse of his word and does nothing.

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,

You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,

Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright

Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night

Part I: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner By S.T. Coleridge

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a lyrical ballad about a mysterious sea-faring wedding guest who tells a long story of a dangerous journey.

He holds him with his glittering eye—

The Wedding-Guest stood still,

And listens like a three years' child:

The Mariner hath his will.

In Heaven

by Stephen Crane

‘In Heaven’ by Stephen Crane offers a parable-like anecdote that contrasts humility with self-righteous pride. It also challenges religion and those the poet’s speaker deemed hypocritical.

The poem adopts the style of a parable and uses it to a make a didactic point about pride and humility. Crane is not critical of religion itself directly but rather of the sanctimonious ego it can create.

In Heaven,

Some little blades of grass

Stood before God.

“What did you do?”

A Child is Something Else Again

by Yehuda Amichai

‘A Child is Something Else Again’ by Yehuda Amichai is a poem about parenthood and childhood. A child represents a great deal, the speaker says, and provides a parent with the will to live. 

Faith is a complex and nuanced theme in Yehuda Amichai's poetry, often explored in relation to Jewish tradition and the complexities of religious belief. This poem explores the speaker's faith in the traditions and customs of his religion and his belief in the wonder and beauty of childhood.

A child is something else again. Wakes up

in the afternoon and in an instant he's full of words,

in an instant he's humming, in an instant warm,

instant light, instant darkness.

Dover Beach

by Matthew Arnold

‘Dover Beach’ by Matthew Arnold is dramatic monologue lamenting the loss of true Christian faith in England during the mid 1800s.

The poem explores the idea of the absence of God in the modern world and the resulting sense of sadness and uncertainty. The reference to the Sea of Faith suggests that the decline of religion is the poem's central theme and reflects broader social and cultural changes in the 19th century.

The sea is calm tonight.

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the straits; on the French coast the light

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Early Death

by Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal

‘Early Death’ by Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal is a haunting meditation on mortality and spiritual transcendence. Written in the mid-19th century, the poem’s evocative imagery and simple yet powerful language have made it a lasting contribution to the canon of Victorian poetry. 

Religion plays a significant role in this poem. It deals with themes of faith, mortality, and the afterlife. The poem reflects a Christian worldview, with references to angels, Christ, and heaven.

Oh grieve not with thy bitter tears

The life that passes fast;

The gates of heaven will open wide

And take me in at last.

She Had Some Horses

by Joy Harjo

‘She Had Some Horses’ by Joy Harjo illustrates the plurality of differences among people.

The poem does mention religion, regarding it as a force of colonization and violence that feigns piety. According to the speaker, it's a zealously blind faith that demands submission and it's clear that the "she" in the poem vehemently rejects it.

She had some horses.

She had horses who were bodies of sand.

She had horses who were maps drawn of blood.

She had horses who were skins of ocean water.

Life Sculpture

by George Washington Doane

‘Life Sculpture’ by George Washington Doane is a poem heavily symbolic poem about realizing one’s true potential and purpose in life.

Religion is important to the poem because it's the lens through which George Washington Doane views the world and wrote the piece. But all that's truly necessary to understand is that the author holds to a higher power and believe people's true fulfillment is found outside of this world.

Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy

With his marble block before him,

And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,

As an angel-dream passed o’er him. 


by Josiah Gilbert Holland

‘Gradatim’ by Josiah Gilbert Holland is a poem about the lifetime of work it takes to climb the ladder to Heaven. One needs to dedicate themselves to a life of good deeds to reach God. 

Religion is, without a doubt, the most important theme at work in this 19th-century poem. The poet wrote this piece intending to share their beliefs about God and the afterlife.

Heaven is not reached at a single bound;

But we build the ladder by which we rise

From the lowly earth, to the vaulted skies,

And we mount to its summit round by round.

I, the Poet

by Leonard Gorski

‘I, the Poet’ by Leonard Gorski is a thought-provoking and multi-layered free-verse poem that explores themes of identity, mortality, and the search for meaning in an often confusing and uncertain world. 

The poem references several religious and spiritual figures and practices, such as Buddha and the act of prayer, but ultimately emphasizes a personal and individual approach to spirituality and faith.

I, the poet, wandering and amazed

Nailed by unhappiness to the wall

By age and poverty,

On which floor of stupidity or ignorance I dwell?

From The Complaints of Poverty

by Nicholas James

‘The Complaints of Poverty’ by Nicholas James uses rhetorical devices and rhyme to give the rich a good look at how unpleasant it is to be poor. James indirectly challenges the stigmas associated with both wealth and poverty, inviting the rich to treat poor people with compassion, sympathy, and generosity.

There is a hidden attack on religion in 'The Complaints of Poverty.' The parishes unwillingly give away welfare money to the poor, and even the doctors appointed by heaven are far too expensive and in high demand to serve the poor. Thus, all men are not equal in this society, and even religious figures look down on the poor.

MAY poverty, without offence, approach

The splendid equipage, the gilded coach?

May it with freedom all its wants make known?

And will not wealth and pow'r assume a frown?

The Fool’s Prayer

by Edward Rowland Sill

‘The Fool’s Prayer’ by Edward Rowland Sill is a religious poem that reminds readers, and all the characters in the poem, what it takes to live a good, morally righteous life. 

Religion and living a good life, according to the principles of Christianity are at the heart of this poem. The speaker seeks to remind everyone listening and reading what a Christian life looks like.

The royal feast was done; the King

Sought some new sport to banish care,

And to his jester cried: “Sir Fool,

Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!”

The Eternal Goodness

by John Greenleaf Whittier

‘The Eternal Goodness’ by John Greenleaf Whittier is a relatively unknown 19th-century poem that explores religious themes and the various ways that God’s love comes through. 

Religion is, without a doubt, the most important theme in this poem. The poet addresses religious ideas several times throughout the poem and elaborates on his beliefs specifically.

O friends! with whom my feet have trod

The quiet aisles of prayer,

Glad witness to your zeal for God

And love of man I bear.


Each In His Own Tongue

by William Herbert Carruth

‘Each In His Own Tongue’ by William Herbert Carruth depicts the world and all its beauty and suffering, attributing the elements to evolution, longing, consecration, or God. 

Religion is one of the primary themes at work in this poem. The poet spends a great deal of time describing the world before alluding to the fact that God may or may not be responsible.

A fire mist and a planet,

A crystal and a cell,

A jellyfish and a saurian,

And caves where the cave men dwell;

Imagining Their Own Hymns

by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

‘Imagining Their Own Hymns’ by Brigit Pegeen Kelly is a memorable poem that speaks about the difference between how something appears and its reality. 

Religion and the influence it has on someone whose quite young is an important part of this poem. Much of the poem also takes place in a Christian church.

What fools they are to believe the angels

in this window are in ecstasy. They

do not smile. Their eyes are rolled back in annoyance

not in bliss, as my mother’s eyes roll back

Christmas Everywhere

by Phillips Brooks

‘Christmas Everywhere’ by Phillips Brooks is an uplifting Christmas and religious poem about the power of the season. The poet implies that if people wanted to, they could carry the same feeling of faithfulness throughout the whole year. 

Religion, and the way it inspires people to act kindly, is the poem's main theme. The Christmas season fills people with faithful feelings, and the poet hopes that people can carry these feelings through the entire year.

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!

Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine,

Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine,

Christmas where snow-peaks stand solemn and white,

A Different History

by Sujata Bhatt

‘A Different History’ by Sujata Bhatt is not a raging piece of protest, rather it teaches how to revisit one’s cultural past in a curious, sensible way.


by W.H. Auden

‘Adolescence’ by W.H. Auden is an interesting and complex poem. In it, the speaker analyzes and describes the life and experiences of a young man.


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.

Belfast Confetti

by Ciaran Carson

Ciaran Carson’s poem ‘Belfast Confetti’ describes how external conflicts influence a speaker’s mind. It speaks on the aftermath of the Troubles in Belfast.


by Andrew Marvell

The poem, Bermudas, by Andrew Marvell, describes the feelings of a group of English pilgrims, who had fled from the