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Best Famous Grief Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Grief poems. This is a select list of the best famous Grief poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Grief poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of grief poems.

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Written by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

A Vision upon the Fairy Queen

Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay,
   Within that temple where the vestal flame
   Was wont to burn; and, passing by that way,
   To see that buried dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love, and fairer Virtue kept:
   All suddenly I saw the Fairy Queen;
   At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept,
   And, from thenceforth, those Graces were not seen:
For they this queen attended; in whose stead
   Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse:
   Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,
And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did pierce:
   Where Homer's spright did tremble all for grief,
   And cursed the access of that celestial thief!


Written by Robert Burns | |

To a Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
          Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
          Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
          Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
          An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
          'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
          An' never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
          O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
          Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
          Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
          Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble Has cost thee mony a weary nibble! Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble, But house or hald, To thole the winter's sleety dribble, An' cranreuch cauld! But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promised joy! Still thou art blest, compared wi' me! The present only toucheth thee: But och! I backward cast my e'e On prospects drear! An' forward, tho I canna see, I guess an' fear!


Written by Edgar Lee Masters | |

Doc Hill

I went up and down the streets
Here and there by day and night,
Through all hours of the night caring for the poor who were sick.
Do you know why? My wife hated me, my son went to the dogs.
And I turned to the people and poured out my love to them.
Sweet it was to see the crowds about the lawns on the day of my funeral, And hear them murmur their love and sorrow.
But oh, dear God, my soul trembled, scarcely able To hold to the railing of the new life When I saw Em Stanton behind the oak tree At the grave, Hiding herself, and her grief!


More great poems below...

Written by Sir Walter Raleigh | |

A Farewell to False Love

Farewell false love, the oracle of lies, 
A mortal foe and enemy to rest, 
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise, 
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed, 
A way of error, a temple full of treason, 
In all effects contrary unto reason.
A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers, Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose, A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers As moisture lend to every grief that grows; A school of guile, a net of deep deceit, A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait.
A fortress foiled, which reason did defend, A siren song, a fever of the mind, A maze wherein affection finds no end, A raging cloud that runs before the wind, A substance like the shadow of the sun, A goal of grief for which the wisest run.
A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear, A path that leads to peril and mishap, A true retreat of sorrow and despair, An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure's lap, A deep mistrust of that which certain seems, A hope of that which reason doubtful deems.
Sith* then thy trains my younger years betrayed, [since] And for my faith ingratitude I find; And sith repentance hath my wrongs bewrayed*, [revealed] Whose course was ever contrary to kind*: [nature] False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew.


Written by Emily Dickinson | |

I measure every grief I meet

I measure every grief I meet
   With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
   Or has an easier size.
I wonder if they bore it long, Or did it just begin? I could not tell the date of mine, It feels so old a pain.
I wonder if it hurts to live, And if they have to try, And whether, could they choose between, They would not rather die.
I wonder if when years have piled-- Some thousands--on the cause Of early hurt, if such a lapse Could give them any pause; Or would they go on aching still Through centuries above, Enlightened to a larger pain By contrast with the love.
The grieved are many, I am told; The reason deeper lies,-- Death is but one and comes but once And only nails the eyes.
There's grief of want, and grief of cold,-- A sort they call 'despair,' There's banishment from native eyes, In sight of native air.
And though I may not guess the kind Correctly yet to me A piercing comfort it affords In passing Calvary, To note the fashions of the cross Of those that stand alone Still fascinated to presume That some are like my own.


Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning | |

Grief

I TELL you hopeless grief is passionless; 
That only men incredulous of despair  
Half-taught in anguish through the midnight air 
Beat upward to God's throne in loud access 
Of shrieking and reproach.
Full desertness 5 In souls as countries lieth silent-bare Under the blanching vertical eye-glare Of the absolute Heavens.
Deep-hearted man express Grief for thy Dead in silence like to death¡ª Most like a monumental statue set 10 In everlasting watch and moveless woe Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.
Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet: If it could weep it could arise and go.


Written by Edgar Allan Poe | |

Israfel

In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
"Whose heart-strings are a lute";
None sing so wildly well
As the angel Israfel 
And the giddy stars (so legends tell) 
Ceasing their hymns attend the spell
Of his voice all mute.
Tottering above In her highest noon The enamored moon Blushes with love While to listen the red levin (With the rapid Pleiads even Which were seven ) Pauses in Heaven.
And they say (the starry choir And the other listening things) That Israfeli's fire Is owing to that lyre By which he sits and sings- The trembling living wire Of those unusual strings.
But the skies that angel trod Where deep thoughts are a duty- Where Love's a grown-up God- Where the Houri glances are Imbued with all the beauty Which we worship in a star.
Therefore thou art not wrong Israfeli who despisest An unimpassioned song; To thee the laurels belong Best bard because the wisest! Merrily live and long! The ecstasies above With thy burning measures suit- Thy grief thy joy thy hate thy love With the fervor of thy lute- Well may the stars be mute! Yes Heaven is thine; but this Is a world of sweets and sours; Our flowers are merely- flowers And the shadow of thy perfect bliss Is the sunshine of ours.
If I could dwell Where Israfel Hath dwelt and he where I He might not sing so wildly well A mortal melody While a bolder note than this might swell From my lyre within the sky.


Written by Phillis Wheatley | |

To the Honourable T. H. Esq; on the Death of his Daughter

While deep you mourn beneath the cypress-shade
The hand of Death, and your dear daughter laid
In dust, whose absence gives your tears to flow,
And racks your bosom with incessant woe,
Let Recollection take a tender part,
Assuage the raging tortures of your heart,
Still the wild tempest of tumultuous grief,
And pour the heav'nly nectar of relief:
Suspend the sigh, dear Sir, and check the groan,
Divinely bright your daughter's Virtues shone:
How free from scornful pride her gentle mind,
Which ne'er its aid to indigence declin'd!
Expanding free, it sought the means to prove
Unfailing charity, unbounded love!

She unreluctant flies to see no more
Her dear-lov'd parents on earth's dusky shore:
Impatient heav'n's resplendent goal to gain,
She with swift progress cuts the azure plain,
Where grief subsides, where changes are no more,
And life's tumultuous billows cease to roar;
She leaves her earthly mansion for the skies,
Where new creations feast her wond'ring eyes.
To heav'n's high mandate cheerfully resign'd She mounts, and leaves the rolling globe behind; She, who late wish'd that Leonard might return, Has ceas'd to languish, and forgot to mourn; To the same high empyreal mansions come, She joins her spouse, and smiles upon the tomb: And thus I hear her from the realms above: "Lo! this the kingdom of celestial love! "Could ye, fond parents, see our present bliss, "How soon would you each sigh, each fear dismiss? "Amidst unutter'd pleasures whilst I play "In the fair sunshine of celestial day, "As far as grief affects an happy soul "So far doth grief my better mind controul, "To see on earth my aged parents mourn, "And secret wish for T-----! to return: "Let brighter scenes your ev'ning-hours employ: "Converse with heav'n, and taste the promis'd joy"


Written by Edward Estlin (E E) Cummings | |

Anyone Lived In A Pretty How Town

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and samll)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their
same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by moe they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april

wish by spirit and if by yes

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer sutumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain


Written by Phillis Wheatley | |

On the Death of a young Lady of Five Years of Age

From dark abodes to fair etherial light
Th' enraptur'd innocent has wing'd her flight;
On the kind bosom of eternal love
She finds unknown beatitude above.
This known, ye parents, nor her loss deplore, She feels the iron hand of pain no more; The dispensations of unerring grace, Should turn your sorrows into grateful praise; Let then no tears for her henceforward flow, No more distress'd in our dark vale below, Her morning sun, which rose divinely bright, Was quickly mantled with the gloom of night; But hear in heav'n's blest bow'rs your Nancy fair, And learn to imitate her language there.
"Thou, Lord, whom I behold with glory crown'd, "By what sweet name, and in what tuneful sound "Wilt thou be prais'd? Seraphic pow'rs are faint "Infinite love and majesty to paint.
"To thee let all their graceful voices raise, "And saints and angels join their songs of praise.
" Perfect in bliss she from her heav'nly home Looks down, and smiling beckons you to come; Why then, fond parents, why these fruitless groans? Restrain your tears, and cease your plaintive moans.
Freed from a world of sin, and snares, and pain, Why would you wish your daughter back again? No--bow resign'd.
Let hope your grief control, And check the rising tumult of the soul.
Calm in the prosperous, and adverse day, Adore the God who gives and takes away; Eye him in all, his holy name revere, Upright your actions, and your hearts sincere, Till having sail'd through life's tempestuous sea, And from its rocks, and boist'rous billows free, Yourselves, safe landed on the blissful shore, Shall join your happy babe to part no more.


Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow | |

Resignation

THERE is no flock however watched and tended  
But one dead lamb is there! 
There is no fireside howsoe'er defended  
But has one vacant chair! 

The air is full of farewells to the dying 5 
And mournings for the dead; 
The heart of Rachel for her children crying  
Will not be comforted! 

Let us be patient! These severe afflictions 
Not from the ground arise 10 
But oftentimes celestial benedictions 
Assume this dark disguise.
We see but dimly through the mists and vapors; Amid these earthly damps What seem to us but sad funereal tapers 15 May be heaven's distant lamps.
There is no Death! What seems so is transition; This life of mortal breath Is but a suburb of the life elysian Whose portal we call Death.
20 She is not dead ¡ªthe child of our affection ¡ª But gone unto that school Where she no longer needs our poor protection And Christ himself doth rule.
In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion 25 By guardian angels led Safe from temptation safe from sin's pollution She lives whom we call dead Day after day we think what she is doing In those bright realms of air; 30 Year after year her tender steps pursuing Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her and keep unbroken The bond which nature gives Thinking that our remembrance though unspoken 35 May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her; For when with raptures wild In our embraces we again enfold her She will not be a child; 40 But a fair maiden in her Father's mansion Clothed with celestial grace; And beautiful with all the soul's expansion Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion 45 And anguish long suppressed The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean That cannot be at rest ¡ª We will be patient and assuage the feeling We may not wholly stay; 50 By silence sanctifying not concealing The grief that must have way.


Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley | |

A Lament

O WORLD! O Life! O Time! 
On whose last steps I climb  
Trembling at that where I had stood before; 
When will return the glory of your prime? 
No more¡ªoh never more! 5 

Out of the day and night 
A joy has taken flight: 
Fresh spring and summer and winter hoar 
Move my faint heart with grief but with delight 
No more¡ªoh never more! 10 


Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson | |

Borrowing

From the French


SOME of the hurts you have cured  
And the sharpest you still have survived  
But what torments of grief you endured 
From evils which never arrived! 


Written by George (Lord) Byron | |

Elegy on Thyrza

AND thou art dead as young and fair 
As aught of mortal birth; 
And form so soft and charms so rare 
Too soon return'd to Earth! 
Though Earth received them in her bed 5 
And o'er the spot the crowd may tread 
In carelessness or mirth  
There is an eye which could not brook 
A moment on that grave to look.
I will not ask where thou liest low 10 Nor gaze upon the spot; There flowers or weeds at will may grow So I behold them not: It is enough for me to prove That what I loved and long must love 15 Like common earth can rot; To me there needs no stone to tell 'Tis Nothing that I loved so well.
Yet did I love thee to the last As fervently as thou 20 Who didst not change through all the past And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal Nor age can chill nor rival steal Nor falsehood disavow; 25 And what were worse thou canst not see Or wrong or change or fault in me.
The better days of life were ours The worst can be but mine; The sun that cheers the storm that lours 30 Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that dreamless sleep I envy now too much to weep; Nor need I to repine That all those charms have pass'd away 35 I might have watch'd through long decay.
The flower in ripen'd bloom unmatch'd Must fall the earliest prey; Though by no hand untimely snatch'd.
The leaves must drop away.
40 And yet it were a greater grief To watch it withering leaf by leaf Than see it pluck'd to-day; Since earthly eye but ill can bear To trace the change to foul from fair.
45 I know not if I could have borne To see thy beauties fade; The night that follow'd such a morn Had worn a deeper shade.
Thy day without a cloud hath pass'd 50 And thou wert lovely to the last Extinguish'd not decay'd; As stars that shoot along the sky Shine brightest as they fall from high.
As once I wept if I could weep 55 My tears might well be shed To think I was not near to keep One vigil o'er thy bed¡ª To gaze how fondly! on thy face To fold thee in a faint embrace 60 Uphold thy drooping head And show that love however vain Nor thou nor I can feel again.
Yet how much less it were to gain Though thou hast left me free 65 The loveliest things that still remain Than thus remember thee! The all of thine that cannot die Through dark and dread eternity Returns again to me 70 And more thy buried love endears Than aught except its living years.


Written by Allen Ginsberg | |

Hospital Window

At gauzy dusk, thin haze like cigarette smoke 
ribbons past Chrysler Building's silver fins 
tapering delicately needletopped, Empire State's 
taller antenna filmed milky lit amid blocks 
black and white apartmenting veil'd sky over Manhattan, 
offices new built dark glassed in blueish heaven--The East 
50's & 60's covered with castles & watertowers, seven storied 
tar-topped house-banks over York Avenue, late may-green trees 
surrounding Rockefellers' blue domed medical arbor-- 
Geodesic science at the waters edge--Cars running up 
East River Drive, & parked at N.
Y.
Hospital's oval door where perfect tulips flower the health of a thousand sick souls trembling inside hospital rooms.
Triboro bridge steel-spiked penthouse orange roofs, sunset tinges the river and in a few Bronx windows, some magnesium vapor brilliances're spotted five floors above E 59th St under grey painted bridge trestles.
Way downstream along the river, as Monet saw Thames 100 years ago, Con Edison smokestacks 14th street, & Brooklyn Bridge's skeined dim in modern mists-- Pipes sticking up to sky nine smokestacks huge visible-- U.
N.
Building hangs under an orange crane, & red lights on vertical avenues below the trees turn green at the nod of a skull with a mild nerve ache.
Dim dharma, I return to this spectacle after weeks of poisoned lassitude, my thighs belly chest & arms covered with poxied welts, head pains fading back of the neck, right eyebrow cheek mouth paralyzed--from taking the wrong medicine, sweated too much in the forehead helpless, covered my rage from gorge to prostate with grinding jaw and tightening anus not released the weeping scream of horror at robot Mayaguez World self ton billions metal grief unloaded Pnom Penh to Nakon Thanom, Santiago & Tehran.
Fresh warm breeze in the window, day's release >from pain, cars float downside the bridge trestle and uncounted building-wall windows multiplied a mile deep into ash-delicate sky beguile my empty mind.
A seagull passes alone wings spread silent over roofs.
- May 20, 1975 Mayaguez Crisis