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Best Famous Pain Poems

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

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by | |

Sympathy

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
   When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
   When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
   Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
   And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
   When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
   But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!


by Thomas Hardy | |

Hap

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 | |

Touched by An Angel

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives and in its train come ecstasies old memories of pleasure ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity In the flush of love's light we dare be brave And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be.
Yet it is only love which sets us free.


by Anna Akhmatova | |

Lots Wife

Holy Lot  was a-going behind  God's angel,
He seemed  huge and bright on a hill, huge and black.
But the heart of his wife whispered stronger and stranger: "It's not very late, you have time to look back At these rose turrets of your native Sodom, The square where you sang, and the yard where you span, The windows looking from your cozy home Where you bore children for your dear man.
" She looked -- and her eyes were instantly bound By pain -- they couldn't see any more at all: Her fleet feet grew into the stony ground, Her body turned into a pillar of salt.
Who'll mourn her as one of Lot's family members? Doesn't she seem the smallest of losses to us? But deep in my heart I will always remember One who gave her life up for one single glance.


by Anna Akhmatova | |

The Grey-Eyed King

Hail! Hail to thee, o, immovable pain!
The young grey-eyed king had been yesterday slain.
This autumnal evening was stuffy and red.
My husband, returning, had quietly said, "He'd left for his hunting; they carried him home; They'd found him under the old oak's dome.
I pity the queen.
He, so young, past away!.
.
.
During one night her black hair turned to grey.
" He found his pipe on a warm fire-place, And quietly left for his usual race.
Now my daughter will wake up and rise -- Mother will look in her dear grey eyes.
.
.
And poplars by windows rustle as sing, "Never again will you see your young king.
.
.
"


by Frank O'Hara | |

Like

It's not so much 
abstractions are available:
the lofty period of the mind
ending a sentence while the pain endures:
departures absences.
And you are still on the dock the smoke hasn't cleared in The Narrows At noon I sit in Jim's Place waiting for George Who is mopping the stage up While two girls cry in the last row.
I think they got laid last night.
But who didn't? it was a spring night.
Probably George did too.
And now the ship has gone beyond come sheets windows streets telephones and noises: to where I cannot go not even a long distance swimmer like myself.


by Emily Dickinson | |

Delight becomes pictorial

Delight becomes pictorial
When viewed through pain,--
More fair, because impossible
That any gain.
The mountain at a given distance In amber lies; Approached, the amber flits a little,-- And that's the skies!


by John Donne | |

The Funeral

WHOEVER comes to shroud me do not harm 
Nor question much 
That subtle wreath of hair about mine arm; 
The mystery the sign you must not touch  
For 'tis my outward soul 5 
Viceroy to that which unto heav'n being gone  
Will leave this to control 
And keep these limbs her provinces from dissolution.
For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall Through every part 10 Can tie those parts and make me one of all; Those hairs which upward grew and strength and art Have from a better brain Can better do 't: except she meant that I By this should know my pain 15 As prisoners then are manacled when they're condemn'd to die.
Whate'er she meant by 't bury it with me For since I am Love's martyr it might breed idolatry If into other hands these reliques came.
20 As 'twas humility T' afford to it all that a soul can do So 'tis some bravery That since you would have none of me I bury some of you.


by Alfred Lord Tennyson | |

O that twere possible

O THAT 'twere possible 
After long grief and pain 
To find the arms of my true love 
Round me once again!.
.
.
A shadow flits before me 5 Not thou but like to thee: Ah Christ! that it were possible For one short hour to see The souls we loved that they might tell us What and where they be! 10


by Philip Larkin | |

Love Again

 Love again: wanking at ten past three
(Surely he's taken her home by now?),
The bedroom hot as a bakery,
The drink gone dead, without showing how
To meet tomorrow, and afterwards,
And the usual pain, like dysentery.
Someone else feeling her breasts and cunt, Someone else drowned in that lash-wide stare, And me supposed to be ignorant, Or find it funny, or not to care, Even .
.
.
but why put it into words? Isolate rather this element That spreads through other lives like a tree And sways them on in a sort of sense And say why it never worked for me.
Something to do with violence A long way back, and wrong rewards, And arrogant eternity.


by Philip Larkin | |

Sad Steps

 Groping back to bed after a piss
I part the thick curtains, and am startled by
The rapid clouds, the moon's cleanliness.
Four o'clock: wedge-shaped gardens lie Under a cavernous, a wind-pierced sky.
There's something laughable about this, The way the moon dashes through the clouds that blow Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart (Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below) High and preposterous and separate-- Lozenge of love! Medallion of art! O wolves of memory! Immensements! No, One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain far-reaching singleness of that wide stare Is a reminder of the strength and pain Of being young; that it can't come again, But is for others undiminished somewhere.


by Philip Larkin | |

Why Did I Dream Of You Last Night?

 Why did I dream of you last night?
 Now morning is pushing back hair with grey light
 Memories strike home, like slaps in the face;
Raised on elbow, I stare at the pale fog
 beyond the window.
So many things I had thought forgotten Return to my mind with stranger pain: - Like letters that arrive addressed to someone Who left the house so many years ago.


by Philip Larkin | |

Maturity

 A stationary sense.
.
.
as, I suppose, I shall have, till my single body grows Inaccurate, tired; Then I shall start to feel the backward pull Take over, sickening and masterful - Some say, desired.
And this must be the prime of life.
.
.
I blink, As if at pain; for it is pain, to think This pantomime Of compensating act and counter-act Defeat and counterfeit, makes up, in fact My ablest time.


by Philip Larkin | |

When First We Faced And Touching Showed

 When first we faced, and touching showed
How well we knew the early moves,
Behind the moonlight and the frost,
The excitement and the gratitude,
There stood how much our meeting owed
To other meetings, other loves.
The decades of a different life That opened past your inch-close eyes Belonged to others, lavished, lost; Nor could I hold you hard enough To call my years of hunger-strife Back for your mouth to colonise.
Admitted: and the pain is real.
But when did love not try to change The world back to itself--no cost, No past, no people else at all-- Only what meeting made us feel, So new, and gentle-sharp, and strange?


by Christina Rossetti | |

When I am dead my dearest

 When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows, I shall not feel the rain; I shall not hear the nightingale Sing on, as if in pain: And dreaming through the twilight That doth not rise nor set, Haply I may remember, And haply may forget.


by Christina Rossetti | |

Dream Land

 Where sunless rivers weep
Their waves into the deep,
She sleeps a charmed sleep:
Awake her not.
Led by a single star, She came from very far To seek where shadows are Her pleasant lot.
She left the rosy morn, She left the fields of corn, For twilight cold and lorn And water springs.
Through sleep, as through a veil, She sees the sky look pale, And hears the nightingale That sadly sings.
Rest, rest, a perfect rest Shed over brow and breast; Her face is toward the west, The purple land.
She cannot see the grain Ripening on hill and plain; She cannot feel the rain Upon her hand.
Rest, rest, for evermore Upon a mossy shore; Rest, rest at the heart's core Till time shall cease: Sleep that no pain shall wake; Night that no morn shall break Till joy shall overtake Her perfect peace.


by Christina Rossetti | |

Sappho

 I sigh at day-dawn, and I sigh
When the dull day is passing by.
I sigh at evening, and again I sigh when night brings sleep to men.
Oh! it were far better to die Than thus forever mourn and sigh, And in death's dreamless sleep to be Unconscious that none weep for me; Eased from my weight of heaviness, Forgetful of forgetfulness, Resting from care and pain and sorrow Thro' the long night that knows no morrow; Living unloved, to die unknown, Unwept, untended, and alone.


by Jerome Rothenberg | |

FECKLESS WITH DISGUST

 All erasure of pain
is like the contrary of
dust that weighs
dark in my lungs
when I am 
feckless with disgust.
I stroke & poke my loins before they tighten.
My feet stomp fields of color reminding me of something I once knew.
Dying frees the spirit from the mind.
We plod along regardless of the pain.
Soon we grow big & fat.
We stop forgetting, far off from whatever binds us mindlessly to empty space.
Beginning here we reignite desire.
We will surrender what is far from us & call it love.


by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

La Passion Vaincue

 On the Banks of the Severn a desperate Maid 
(Whom some Shepherd, neglecting his Vows, had betray'd,) 
Stood resolving to banish all Sense of the Pain, 
And pursue, thro' her Death, a Revenge on the Swain.
Since the Gods, and my Passion, at once he defies; Since his Vanity lives, whilst my Character dies; No more (did she say) will I trifle with Fate, But commit to the Waves both my Love and my Hate.
And now to comply with that furious Desire, Just ready to plunge, and alone to expire, Some Reflection on Death, and its Terrors untry'd, Some Scorn for the Shepherd, some Flashings of Pride At length pull'd her back, and she cry'd, Why this Strife, Since the Swains are so Many, and I've but One Life?


by Anne Kingsmill Finch | |

The Phoenix

 A Female Friend advis'd a Swain 
(Whose Heart she wish'd at ease) 
Make Love thy Pleasure, not thy Pain, 
Nor let it deeply seize.
Beauty, where Vanities abound, No serious Passion claims; Then, 'till a Phoenix can be found, Do not admit the Flames.
But griev'd She finds, that his Replies (Since prepossess'd when Young) Take all their Hints from Silvia's Eyes, None from ARDELIA's Tongue.
Thus, Cupid, of our Aim we miss, Who wou'd unbend thy Bow; And each slight Nymph a Phoenix is, When Love will have it so.