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Famous Depression Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Depression poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous depression poems. These examples illustrate what a famous depression poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Gregory, Rg
the green fairy burbles what's this 'ere
when vincent (sozzled) knifes his lug off
all spirits then succumb to fear
depression takes the gloss off wonder
and people (lost) tell god to bug off
the twentieth century drowns in sheer
excuse that life is comic blunder
temporality dons its gear
forbidden thought soon rips its gag off

stained glass (you think) must be bystander
its leaded eyes seek far not near
the day's bleak dirt it learns to shrug off

the history of th...Read More

by Belieu, Erin
...n the corner of the queen-sized bed.

You've confessed, you can't feel things
when they touch you;

take Prozac for depression, Ativan
for the buzz. Drunk, you call your father
who doesn't want to claim
a ha!fsand-niggergrandkid.
He says he never loved your mother.

No one remembers Juana; almost
everything's forgotten in time,

and if I tell her story,
it's only when guessing
what she loved, what she dreamed
about, the lost details of a life
that barely survi...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...Sitting in outpatients

With my own minor ills

Dawn’s depression lifts

To the lilt of amitryptilene,

A double dose for a day’s journey

To a distant ward.

The word was out that Simmons

Had died eighteen months after

An aneurism at sixty seven.

The meeting he proposed in his second letter

Could never happen: a few days later

A Christmas card in Gaelic - Nollaig Shona -

Then silence, an unbea...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...I made my pitiful excuses and slipped away.

I knew I couldn’t make it, couldn’t even fake it

With all this damned depression in the way.

Leeds boys are always friendlier than the girls,

They see themselves grown older in my years

And push the girls towards me with a glance

"Go and give the poor old man a dance!"

And dance I do and show my poems around

Like calling cards and jot lines on my palms.

Reading Lacan into the night I thought things through

But ...Read More

by Tebb, Barry
...adolescence, too busy reading Baudelaire

To find a decent whore and learn to score

And now I’m probably impotent with depression

So I’d better forget sex and read more of Andr? Green

On metaphor from Hegel to Lacan and how the colloquium

At Bonneval changed analytic history, a mystery

I’ll not unravel if I live to ninety.

Ignorance isn’t bliss, I know enough to talk the piss

From jumped-up SHO’s and locums who’d miss vital side effects

And think all’s needed is a...Read More

by Bowers, Edgar
...French Club Wednesday afternoon;
Then summer replacement typist in an office,
Her sister’s family moving in with them,
Depression years and she the only earner.
Saturday, football game and opera broadcasts,
Sunday, staying at home to wash her hair,
The Business Women’s Circle Monday night,
And, for a treat, birthdays and holidays,
Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald.
The young blond sister long since gone to college,
Nephew and nieces gone, her mother dead,
Instead of ...Read More

by Levine, Philip
...ugia. A good man,
Arthur, he survived graduate school,
later came home to Detroit and sold
pianos right through the Depression.
He loaned my brother a used one
to compose his hideous songs on,
which Arthur thought were genius.
What an imagination Arthur had!...Read More

by Justice, Donald
And time went by, drawn by slow horses.
Somewhere beyond our windows shone the actual world.
The Great Depression had entered our souls like fog.

And time went by, drawn by slow horses.
We did not ourselves know what the end was.
The Great Depression had entered our souls like fog.
We had our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues.

But we did not ourselves know what the end was.
People like us simply go on.
We had our flaws, perhap...Read More

by Brautigan, Richard
..."She's an ex-

hustler who works for the telephone company. He went to

medical school for a while during the Great Depression and

then he went into show business. After that, he was an errand

boy for an abortion mill in Los Angeles. He took a fall and

did some time in San Quentin.

 "I think you'll like them. They're good people.

 "He met her a couple of years ago in North Beach. She

was hustling for a spade pimp. It's kind of weird. ...Read More

by Sexton, Anne
...humble, so willing to be beat upon 
with its awful lettering and 
the body lying underneath 
without an umbrella. 
Depression is boring, I think 
and I would do better to make 
some soup and light up the cave....Read More

by Belloc, Hilaire

But nothing breaks the silence,

Of these walls made of stone.

I punish myself,

By refusing to eat:

Depression is silent,

I hear my heart beat.
Where can I go,

Or should I stay:

Shy to choose,

In bed I lay.
Time will pass,

And the dark sets in;

Laying there wishing,

I could still touch your skin.
Lying there hurting,

I wish I could die;

Missing you so much,

Again I start to cry.

Sometimes I wonder,

If...Read More

by Murray, Les
...elp boiled in my head. 
I'd awoken amid my State funeral, 
nevermore to eat my liver 

or feed it to the Black Dog, depression 
which the three Johns Hunter seem 
to have killed with their scalpels: 
it hasn't found its way home, 

where I now dodder and mend 
in thanks for devotion, for the ambulance 
this time, for the hospital fork lift, 
for pethidine, and this face of deity: 

not the foreknowledge of death 
but the project of seeing conscious life 
rescued from deat...Read More

by Bukowski, Charles
...e greenhouse effect or whatever
but it just doesn't rain like it used to.
I particularly remember the rains of the 
depression era.
there wasn't any money but there was
plenty of rain.
it wouldn't rain for just a night or
a day,
it would RAIN for 7 days and 7
and in Los Angeles the storm drains
weren't built to carry off taht much
and the rain came down THICK and 
MEAN and
and you HEARD it banging against
the roofs and into the ground
waterfall...Read More

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