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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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See also: Best Member Poems

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.

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.

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.

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.

by Philip Larkin | |

Continuing To Live

 Continuing to live -- that is, repeat
A habit formed to get necessaries --
Is nearly always losing, or going without.
It varies.
This loss of interest, hair, and enterprise -- Ah, if the game were poker, yes, You might discard them, draw a full house! But it's chess.
And once you have walked the length of your mind, what You command is clear as a lading-list.
Anything else must not, for you, be thought To exist.
And what's the profit? Only that, in time, We half-identify the blind impress All our behavings bear, may trace it home.
But to confess, On that green evening when our death begins, Just what it was, is hardly satisfying, Since it applied only to one man once, And that one dying.

by Philip Larkin | |

If Hands Could Free You Heart

 If hands could free you, heart,
 Where would you fly?
Far, beyond every part
Of earth this running sky
Makes desolate? Would you cross
City and hill and sea,
 If hands could set you free?

I would not lift the latch;
 For I could run
Through fields, pit-valleys, catch
All beauty under the sun--
Still end in loss:
I should find no bent arm, no bed
 To rest my head.

by Christina Rossetti | |

Beneath Thy Cross

 Am I a stone, and not a sheep, 
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross, 
To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss, 
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved 
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee; 
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly; 
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon 
Which hid their faces in a starless sky, 
A horror of great darkness at broad noon-- 
I, only I.
Yet give not o'er, But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock; Greater than Moses, turn and look once more And smite a rock.

by Helen Hunt Jackson | |

A Calendar of Sonnets: January

 O Winter! frozen pulse and heart of fire, 
What loss is theirs who from thy kingdom turn 
Dismayed, and think thy snow a sculptured urn 
Of death! Far sooner in midsummer tire 
The streams than under ice.
June could not hire Her roses to forego the strength they learn In sleeping on thy breast.
No fires can burn The bridges thou dost lay where men desire In vain to build.
O Heart, when Love's sun goes To northward, and the sounds of singing cease, Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows, The winter is the winter's own release.

by Edwin Arlington Robinson | |


 Friendless and faint, with martyred steps and slow, 
Faint for the flesh, but for the spirit free, 
Stung by the mob that came to see the show, 
The Master toiled along to Calvary; 
We gibed him, as he went, with houndish glee, 
Till his dimmed eyes for us did overflow; 
We cursed his vengeless hands thrice wretchedly, -- 
And this was nineteen hundred years ago.
But after nineteen hundred years the shame Still clings, and we have not made good the loss That outraged faith has entered in his name.
Ah, when shall come love's courage to be strong! Tell me, O Lord -- tell me, O Lord, how long Are we to keep Christ writhing on the cross!

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Does It Pay?

 If one poor burdened toiler o’er life’s road, 
Who meets us by the way, 
Goes on less conscious of his galling load, 
Then life, indeed, does pay.
If we can show the troubled heart the gain That lies always in loss, Why, then, we too are paid for all the pain Of bearing life’s hard cross.
If some despondent soul to hope is stirred, Some sad lip made to smile, By any act of ours, or any word, Then, life has been worth while.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |


 Smile a little, smile a little, 
As you go along, 
Not alone when life is pleasant, 
But when things go wrong.
Care delights to see you frowning, Loves to hear you sigh; Turn a smiling face upon her – Quick the dame will fly.
Smile a little, smile a little, All along the road; Every life must have its burden, Every heart its load.
Why sit down in gloom and darkness With your grief to sup? As you drink Fate’s bitter tonic, Smile across the cup.
Smile upon the troubled pilgrims Whom you pass and meet; Frowns are thorns, and smiles are blossoms Oft for weary feet.
Do not make the way seem harder By a sullen face; Smile a little, smile a little, Brighten up the place.
Smile upon your undone labour; Not for one who grieves O’er his task waits wealth or glory; He who smiles achieves.
Though you meet with loss and sorrow In the passing years, Smile a little, smile a little, Even through your tears.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Friendship After Love

 After the fierce midsummer all ablaze
Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
In the intensity of its own fires, 
There come the mellow, mild, St.
Martin days Crowned with the calm of peace, but sad with haze.
So after Love has led us, till he tires Of his own throes, and torments, and desires, Comes large-eyed Friendship: with a restful gaze.
He beckons us to follow, and across Cool verdant vales we wander free from care.
Is it a touch of frost lies in the air? Why are we haunted with a sense of loss? We do not wish the pain back, or the heat; And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |

Lifes Harmonies

 Let no man pray that he know not sorrow,
Let no soul ask to be free from pain,
For the gall of to-day is the sweet of to-morrow,
And the moment's loss is the lifetime's gain.
Through want of a thing does its worth redouble, Through hunger's pangs does the feast content, And only the heart that has harbored trouble, Can fully rejoice when joy is sent.
Let no man shrink from the bitter tonics Of grief, and yearning, and need, and strife, For the rarest chords in the soul's harmonies, Are found in the minor strains of life.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |


 When this world's pleasures for my soul sufficed, 
Ere my heart's plummet sounded depths of pain, 
I call on Reason to control my brain, 
And scoffed at that old story of Christ.
But when o'er burning wastes my feet had trod, And all my life was desolate with loss, With bleeding hands I clung about the cross, And cried aloud, 'Man needs a suffering God! '

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |


 Straight through my heart this fact to-day, 
By Truth’s own hand is driven: 
God never takes one thing away, 
But something else is given.
I did not know in earlier years, This law of love and kindness; I only mourned through bitter tears My loss, in sorrow’s blindness.
But, ever following each regret O’er some departed treasure, My sad repining heart was met With unexpected pleasure.
I thought is only happened so; But time this truth taught me – No least thing from my life can go, But something else is brought to me.
It is the Law, complete, sublime; And now, with Faith unshaken, In patience I but bide my time When any joy is taken.
No matter if the crushing blow May for the moment down me, Still, back of it waits Love, I know With some new gift to crown me.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox | |


 Upon the white cheek of the Cherub Year
I saw a tear.
Alas! I murmured, that the Year should borrow So soon a sorrow.
Just then the sunlight fell with sudden flame: A tear became A wondrous diamond sparkling in the light – A beautiful sight.
Upon my soul there fell such woeful loss, I said, ‘The Cross Is grievous for a life as young as mine.
’ Just then, like wine, God’s sunlight shone from His high Heavens down; And lo! a crown Gleamed in the place of what I thought a burden – My sorrow’s guerdon.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne | |

Time And Life

Time, thy name is sorrow, says the stricken Heart of life, laid waste with wasting flame Ere the change of things and thoughts requicken, Time, thy name.
Girt about with shadow, blind and lame, Ghosts of things that smite and thoughts that sicken Hunt and hound thee down to death and shame.
Eyes of hours whose paces halt or quicken Read in bloodred lines of loss and blame, Writ where cloud and darkness round it thicken, Time, thy name.
Nay, but rest is born of me for healing, - So might haply time, with voice represt, Speak: is grief the last gift of my dealing? Nay, but rest.
All the world is wearied, east and west, Tired with toil to watch the slow sun wheeling, Twelve loud hours of life's laborious quest.
Eyes forspent with vigil, faint and reeling, Find at last my comfort, and are blest, Not with rapturous light of life's revealing - Nay, but rest.

by David Herbert Lawrence | |

The Inheritance

 Since you did depart
Out of my reach, my darling,
Into the hidden, 
I see each shadow start 
With recognition, and I
Am wonder-ridden.
I am dazed with the farewell, But I scarcely feel your loss.
You left me a gift Of tongues, so the shadows tell Me things, and silences toss Me their drift.
You sent me a cloven fire Out of death, and it burns in the draught Of the breathing hosts, Kindles the darkening pyre For the sorrowful, till strange brands waft Like candid ghosts.
Form after form, in the streets Waves like a ghost along, Kindled to me; The star above the house-top greets Me every eve with a long Song fierily.
All day long, the town Glimmers with subtle ghosts Going up and down In a common, prison-like dress; But their daunted looking flickers To me, and I answer, Yes! So I am not lonely nor sad Although bereaved of you, My little love.
I move among a kinsfolk clad With words, but the dream shows through As they move.

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |


 IF thou wouldst live unruffled by care,
Let not the past torment thee e'er;
If any loss thou hast to rue,
Act as though thou wert born anew;
Inquire the meaning of each day,
What each day means itself will say;
In thine own actions take thy pleasure,
What others do, thou'lt duly treasure;
Ne'er let thy breast with hate be supplied,
And to God the future confide.
----- IF wealth is gone--then something is gone! Quick, make up thy mind, And fresh wealth find.
If honour is gone--then much is gone! Seek glory to find, And people then will alter their mind.
If courage is gone--then all is gone! 'Twere better that thou hadst never been born.
----- HE who with life makes sport, Can prosper never; Who rules himself in nought, Is a slave ever.
MAY each honest effort be Crown'd with lasting constancy.
----- EACH road to the proper end Runs straight on, without a bend.

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |


 AH! who'll e'er those days restore,

Those bright days of early love
Who'll one hour again concede,

Of that time so fondly cherish'd!
Silently my wounds I feed,
And with wailing evermore

Sorrow o'er each joy now perish'd.
Ah! who'll e'er the days restore Of that time so fondly cherish'd.

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe | |

Trilogy of Passion: III. ATONEMENT.

 [Composed, when 74 years old, for a Polish lady, who excelled in
playing on the pianoforte.
] PASSION brings reason--who can pacify An anguish'd heart whose loss hath been so great? Where are the hours that fled so swiftly by? In vain the fairest thou didst gain from fate; Sad is the soul, confused the enterprise; The glorious world, how on the sense it dies! In million tones entwined for evermore, Music with angel-pinions hovers there, To pierce man's being to its inmost core, Eternal beauty has its fruit to bear; The eye grows moist, in yearnings blest reveres The godlike worth of music as of tears.
And so the lighten'd heart soon learns to see That it still lives, and beats, and ought to beat, Off'ring itself with joy and willingly, In grateful payment for a gift so sweet.
And then was felt,--oh may it constant prove!-- The twofold bliss of music and of love.

by Marcin Malek | |

For life and death of a Poet

In literal meaning
Are not responsive
To normative rules of dying

Just like the Saints
They do not fit into a
Written conventions

Of the existence
Of the survival
At all costs
At the cost of their own greatness

They rather resemble
Orphaned fortresses
Which has to be taken
Meter by meter - as in the past

With the severe blood loss

Or permanently straining
Among the yellow fields
Mossy towers with no vaults
But with the ever-vigilant gaze

Poet as gaper
- Windblown
- Caressed by storms 
Until he not falls

Never measures 
Himself as the one
- And then all fading behind
For life and death of a Poet
There is no proper time

He lives in himself
Stirring up higher and higher
By the abandoned fortification
Of horror of consequences

To the moment in which
He is taken - far far away 

by Thomas Stearns Eliot (T S) Eliot | |


  Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
  Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
  And the profit and loss.
A current under sea Picked his bones in whispers.
As he rose and fell He passed the stages of his age and youth Entering the whirlpool.
Gentile or Jew O you who turn the wheel and look to windward, 320 Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

by Sir Thomas Wyatt | |

Unstable Dream

 Unstable dream, according to the place,
Be steadfast once, or else at least be true.
By tasted sweetness make me not to rue The sudden loss of thy false feignèd grace.
By good respect in such a dangerous case Thou broughtest not her into this tossing mew But madest my sprite live, my care to renew, My body in tempest her succour to embrace.
The body dead, the sprite had his desire, Painless was th'one, th'other in delight.
Why then, alas, did it not keep it right, Returning, to leap into the fire? And where it was at wish, it could not remain, Such mocks of dreams they turn to deadly pain.

by Robert Seymour Bridges | |


 the history of melancholia
includes all of us.
me, I writhe in dirty sheets while staring at blue walls and nothing.
I have gotten so used to melancholia that I greet it like an old friend.
I will now do 15 minutes of grieving for the lost redhead, I tell the gods.
I do it and feel quite bad quite sad, then I rise CLEANSED even though nothing is solved.
that's what I get for kicking religion in the ass.
I should have kicked the redhead in the ass where her brains and her bread and butter are at .
but, no, I've felt sad about everything: the lost redhead was just another smash in a lifelong loss .
I listen to drums on the radio now and grin.
there is something wrong with me besides melancholia.