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Lyric Poetry is a type of poem in which the poetic expression is much more personal and tends to show more feeling or emotion from the poet throughout the piece but in a musical way. When you examine the origins of the word lyric (see below), you can see how closely the word is associated with music.

The term originated from the Greek word meaning 'for the lyre' and indicated verses that were written to be sung. However, more recently the term 'lyric' has been used to refer to short poems, often written in the 'I' form, where the poet expresses his or her feelings e.g. The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B.Yeats or London by William Blake.
Lyric Poetry

It is often a more formal type of poetry when it is read and written, typically spoken in the first person (I/me). Many different meters are used in a lyric or even a combination of meters. 

Examples of Lyric Poetry


In a dream I spoke with the Cyprus-born,

      And said to her,

“Mother of beauty, mother of joy,

Why hast thou given to men


“This thing called love, like the ache of a wound

      In beauty's side,

To burn and throb and be quelled for an hour

And never wholly depart?“

- by Sappho

Pardon From The Storm

Take my heart and carry me to where all dreams are born. Into love's arms, oh, such a place that's always safe and warm. Away from such deceitful lairs where blackened virtues swarm. into a light where peace must shine and grants us pardon from a storm. High above the mountain tops or low as low can be. Makes no difference where we are a wondrous lyric calls to me. Singing of your splendor like a miracle performed. I'll stay with you to find the port that grants us pardon from a storm.

Copyright © 

Vita Nova 

"You saved me, you should remember me.

The spring of the year; young men buying tickets for the ferryboats.
Laughter, because the air is full of apple blossoms.

When I woke up, I realized I was capable of the same feeling.

I remember sounds like that from my childhood,
laughter for no cause, simply because the world is beautiful,
something like that."

- by Louise Gluck

Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices? 

A Brief History

Lyric poems are derivative from the Ancient Greek culture. A lyric was often performed with some musical component to accompany it, usually a lyre. A lyre is a stringed small U-shaped harp having the strings fixed to a crossbar. It dates back to 1400 BC in ancient Greece. The word lyre comes from the root word lyric; the Greek lyrikos means "singing to the lyre." 

Aside from Greek culture, we have also seen lyric poetry being used in Rome, China, and even during Medieval times. Of course, this type of poetry is still prevalent today and can often be found in music in the current 21st century. 

Related Information

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Book: Reflection on the Important Things