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Best Famous Loss Poems

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

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Written by Rudyard Kipling |


If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
But make allowance for their doubting too: 
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, 
Or being hated don't give way to hating, 
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; 

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim, 
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools; If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss: If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!" If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much: If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Written by John Donne |

The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
Me it sucked first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame nor loss of maidenhead,
  Yet this enjoys before it woo,
  And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
  And this, alas, is more than we would do.
Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare, Where we almost, yea more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this Our marriage bed and marriage temple is; Though parents grudge, and you, we are met, And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me, Let not to that, self-murder added be, And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.
Curel and sudden, hast thou since Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence? Wherein could this flea guilty be, Except in that drop which it sucked from thee? Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou Find'st not thy self nor me the weaker now; 'Tis true; then learn how false, fears be; Just so much honor, when thou yield'st to me, Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.

Written by Emily Dickinson |

A light exists in spring

A light exists in spring
   Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here A color stands abroad On solitary hills That science cannot overtake, But human nature feels.
It waits upon the lawn; It shows the furthest tree Upon the furthest slope we know; It almost speaks to me.
Then, as horizons step, Or noons report away, Without the formula of sound, It passes, and we stay: A quality of loss Affecting our content, As trade had suddenly encroached Upon a sacrament.

More great poems below...

Written by Maya Angelou |

A Conceit

Give me your hand

Make room for me
to lead and follow
beyond this rage of poetry.
Let others have the privacy of touching words and love of loss of love.
For me Give me your hand.

Written by Thomas Hardy |


If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh:  "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
But not so.
How arrives it joy lies slain, And why unblooms the best hope ever sown? —Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain, And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan.
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

Written by Philip Larkin |

Church Going

Once i am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting seats and stone and little books; sprawlings of flowers cut For Sunday brownish now; some brass and stuff Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; And a tense musty unignorable silence Brewed God knows how long.
Hatless I take off My cylce-clips in awkward revrence Move forward run my hand around the font.
From where i stand the roof looks almost new-- Cleaned or restored? someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern I peruse a few hectoring large-scale verses and pronouce Here endeth much more loudly than I'd meant The echoes snigger briefly.
Back at the door I sign the book donate an Irish sixpence Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.
Yet stop I did: in fact I often do And always end much at a loss like this Wondering what to look for; wondering too When churches fall completely out of use What we shall turn them into if we shall keep A few cathedrals chronically on show Their parchment plate and pyx in locked cases And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places? Or after dark will dubious women come To make their children touvh a particular stone; Pick simples for a cancer; or on some Advised night see walking a dead one? Power of some sort or other will go on In games in riddles seemingly at random; But superstition like belief must die And what remains when disbelief has gone? Grass weedy pavement brambles butress sky.
A shape less recognisable each week A purpose more obscure.
I wonder who Will be the last the very last to seek This place for whta it was; one of the crew That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were? Some ruin-bibber randy for antique Or Christmas-addict counting on a whiff Of grown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? Or will he be my representative Bored uninformed knowing the ghostly silt Dispersed yet tending to this cross of ground Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt So long and equably what since is found Only in separation--marriage and birth And death and thoughts of these--for which was built This special shell? For though I've no idea What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is In whose blent air all our compulsions meet Are recognisd and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete Since someone will forever be surprising A hunger in himself to be more serious And gravitating with it to this ground Which he once heard was proper to grow wise in If only that so many dead lie round.

Written by Elizabeth Bishop |

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day.
Accept the fluster of lost door keys the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther losing faster: places and names and where it was your meant to travel.
None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch.
And look! my last or next-to-last of three loved housed went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lose two cities lovely ones.
And vaster some realms I owned two rivers a continent.
I miss them but it wasn't a disaster.
--Even losing you (the joking voice a gesture I love) I shan't have lied.
It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Written by Emanuel Xavier |


 for Lindsay

knows the condom wrapped penetration 
of strangers and lovers, deep inside
only a tear away from risk

knows bare minimum t-cell level counts, 
replacing intoxicating cocktails
with jagged little pills

knows how to avoid a cure thanks to war
how to keep pharmaceutical corporations
and doctors in business

knows the weight loss desired 
by supermodels,
knows the fearless meaning of a friends genuine kiss or hug
converts non-believers to religion 
and spirituality

comprehends loneliness
values the support of luminaries
smiles at the solidarity 
of single red ribbons

knows to dim the lights 
to elude detection
how to shame someone into hiding
from the rest of the world
to be grateful for the gift of clothing 
and shelter,
to remain silent, holding back the anger and frustration

knows that time on earth 
is limited for all of us
that using lemons to make lemonade is better than drinking the Kool-Aid
but no matter how much you drink
you are always left dehydrated

knows working extensive hours
to pay hospital bills, 
the choice of survival
or taking pleasure in what is left of life

knows the solid white walls
you want to crash through 
and tear down
the thoughts of suicide 
in the back of your head

knows the prosperous could be doing more with their wealth
and that everyone still thinks it is a deserving fate- for gays,
drug addicts, prostitutes, 
and the unfortunate children of such
born into a merciless world of posh handbags and designer jewelry

knows how to be used as another percentage to profit politicians
knows it doesn’t only affect humans 
but animals too, without bias
-providing fodder for art and something to be left behind

if there is a God
he has disregarded our prayers
left his angels behind to journey along with us
-none of us knowing exactly 
where we are headed

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson |


BRING me wine but wine which never grew 
In the belly of the grape  
Or grew on vine whose tap-roots reaching through 
Under the Andes to the Cape  
Suffer'd no savour of the earth to 'scape.
5 Let its grapes the morn salute From a nocturnal root Which feels the acrid juice Of Styx and Erebus; And turns the woe of Night 10 By its own craft to a more rich delight.
We buy ashes for bread; We buy diluted wine; Give me of the true Whose ample leaves and tendrils curl'd 15 Among the silver hills of heaven Draw everlasting dew; Wine of wine Blood of the world Form of forms and mould of statures 20 That I intoxicated And by the draught assimilated May float at pleasure through all natures; The bird-language rightly spell And that which roses say so well: 25 Wine that is shed Like the torrents of the sun Up the horizon walls Or like the Atlantic streams which run When the South Sea calls.
30 Water and bread Food which needs no transmuting Rainbow-flowering wisdom-fruiting Wine which is already man Food which teach and reason can.
35 Wine which Music is ¡ª Music and wine are one ¡ª That I drinking this Shall hear far Chaos talk with me; Kings unborn shall walk with me; 40 And the poor grass shall plot and plan What it will do when it is man.
Quicken'd so will I unlock Every crypt of every rock.
I thank the joyful juice 45 For all I know; Winds of remembering Of the ancient being blow And seeming-solid walls of use Open and flow.
50 Pour Bacchus! the remembering wine; Retrieve the loss of me and mine! Vine for vine be antidote And the grape requite the lote! Haste to cure the old despair; 55 Reason in Nature's lotus drench'd¡ª The memory of ages quench'd¡ª Give them again to shine; Let wine repair what this undid; And where the infection slid 60 A dazzling memory revive; Refresh the faded tints Recut the ag¨¨d prints And write my old adventures with the pen Which on the first day drew 65 Upon the tablets blue The dancing Pleiads and eternal men.

Written by Rudyard Kipling |

The Ballad of the Red Earl

 (It is not for them to criticize too minutely
the methods the Irish followed, though they might deplore some of
their results.
During the past few years Ireland had been going through what was tantamount to a revolution.
-- EARL SPENCER) Red Earl, and will ye take for guide The silly camel-birds, That ye bury your head in an Irish thorn, On a desert of drifting words? Ye have followed a man for a God, Red Earl, As the Lod o' Wrong and Right; But the day is done with the setting sun Will ye follow into the night? He gave you your own old words, Red Earl, For food on the wastrel way; Will ye rise and eat in the night, Red Earl, That fed so full in the day? Ye have followed fast, ye have followed far, And where did the wandering lead? From the day that ye praised the spoken word To the day ye must gloss the deed.
And as ye have given your hand for gain, So must ye give in loss; And as ye ha' come to the brink of the pit, So must ye loup across.
For some be rogues in grain, Red Earl, And some be rogues in fact, And rogues direct and rogues elect; But all be rogues in pact.
Ye have cast your lot with these, Red Earl; Take heed to where ye stand.
Ye have tied a knot with your tongue, Red Earl, That ye cannot loose with your hand.
Ye have travelled fast, ye have travelled far, In the grip of a tightening tether, Till ye find at the end ye must take for friend The quick and their dead together.
Ye have played with the Law between your lips, And mouthed it daintilee; But the gist o' the speech is ill to teach, For ye say: "Let wrong go free.
" Red Earl, ye wear the Garter fair, And gat your place from a King: Do ye make Rebellion of no account, And Treason a little thing? And have ye weighed your words, Red Earl, That stand and speak so high? And is it good that the guilt o' blood, Be cleared at the cost of a sigh? And is it well for the sake of peace, Our tattered Honour to sell, And higgle anew with a tainted crew -- Red Earl, and is it well? Ye have followed fast, ye have followed far, On a dark and doubtful way, And the road is hard, is hard, Red Earl, And the price is yet to pay.
Ye shall pay that price as ye reap reward For the toil of your tongue and pen -- In the praise of the blamed and the thanks of the shamed, And the honour o' knavish men.
They scarce shall veil their scorn, Red Earl, And the worst at the last shall be, When you tell your heart that it does not know And your eye that it does not see.

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 Emily Dickinson |

Finding is the first Act

 Finding is the first Act
The second, loss,
Third, Expedition for
The "Golden Fleece"

Fourth, no Discovery --
Fifth, no Crew --
Finally, no Golden Fleece --
Jason -- sham -- too.

Written by Emanuel Xavier |


 “Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.
” -critic Harold Bloom, who first called slam poetry "the death of art.
” I am not a poet.
I want to be rich and buy things for my family.
Besides, I am sort of popular and can honestly say I’ve had a great sex life.
I am not a poet.
Georgia O' Keefe paintings do absolutely nothing for me.
I do not feel oppressed or depressed and no longer have anything to say about the President.
I am not a poet.
I do not like being called an "activist" because it takes away from those that are out on the streets protesting and fighting for our rights.
I am not a poet.
I eat poultry and fish and suck way too much dick to be considered a vegetarian.
I am not a poet.
I would most likely give my ass up in prison before trying to save it with poetry .
and I’d like it! Heck, I’d probably be inspired.
I am not a poet.
I may value peace but I will not simply use a pen to unleash my anger.
I would fuck somebody up if I had to.
I am not a poet.
I may have been abused and had a difficult life but I don’t want pity.
I believe laughter and love heals.
I am not a poet.
I am not dying.
I write a lot about AIDS and how it has affected my life but, despite the rumors, I am not positive.
Believe it or not, weight loss amongst sexually active gay men could still be a choice.
I am not a poet.
I do not get Kerouac or honestly care much for Bukowski.
I am not a poet.
I don’t spend my weekends reading and writing.
I like to go out and party.
I like to have a few cocktails but I do not have a drinking problem regardless of what borough, city or state I may wake up in.
I am not a poet.
I don’t need drugs to open up my imagination.
I've been a dealer and had a really bad habit but that was long before I started writing.
I am not a poet.
I can seriously only tolerate about half an hour of spoken word before I start tuning out and thinking about my grocery list or what my cats are up to.
I am not a poet.
I only do poetry events if I know there will be cute guys there and I always carry business cards.
I am not a poet according to the scholars and academics and Harold Bloom.
I only write to masturbate my mind.
After all, fucking yourself is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.
I am not a poet.
I am only trying to get attention and convince myself that poetry can save lives when my words simply and proudly contribute to “the death of art.

Written by Elizabeth Bishop |

North Haven

(In Memoriam: Robert Lowell)

I can make out the rigging of a schooner
a mile off; I can count
the new cones on the spruce.
It is so still the pale bay wears a milky skin; the sky no clouds except for one long, carded horse1s tail.
The islands haven't shifted since last summer, even if I like to pretend they have --drifting, in a dreamy sort of way, a little north, a little south, or sidewise, and that they're free within the blue frontiers of bay.
This month, our favorite one is full of flowers: Buttercups, Red Clover, Purple Vetch, Hackweed still burning, Daisies pied, Eyebright, the Fragrant Bedstraw's incandescent stars, and more, returned, to paint the meadows with delight.
The Goldfinches are back, or others like them, and the White-throated Sparrow's five-note song, pleading and pleading, brings tears to the eyes.
Nature repeats herself, or almost does: repeat, repeat, repeat; revise, revise, revise.
Years ago, you told me it was here (in 1932?) you first "discovered girls" and learned to sail, and learned to kiss.
You had "such fun," you said, that classic summer.
("Fun"--it always seemed to leave you at a loss.
) You left North Haven, anchored in its rock, afloat in mystic blue.
And now--you've left for good.
You can't derange, or re-arrange, your poems again.
(But the Sparrows can their song.
) The words won't change again.
Sad friend, you cannot change.

Written by W S Merwin |

The Ships Are Made Ready In Silence

 Moored to the same ring:
The hour, the darkness and I,
Our compasses hooded like falcons.
Now the memory of you comes aching in With a wash of broken bits which never left port In which once we planned voyages, They come knocking like hearts asking: What departures on this tide? Breath of land, warm breath, You tighten the cold around the navel, Though all shores but the first have been foreign, And the first was not home until left behind.
Our choice is ours but we have not made it, Containing as it does, our destination Circled with loss as with coral, and A destination only until attained.
I have left you my hope to remember me by, Though now there is little resemblance.
At this moment I could believe in no change, The mast perpetually Vacillating between the same constellations, The night never withdrawing its dark virtue >From the harbor shaped as a heart, The sea pulsing as a heart, The sky vaulted as a heart, Where I know the light will shatter like a cry Above a discovery: "Emptiness.
Emptiness! Look!" Look.
This is the morning.