- Carpe Diem
- Faith & Religion
- Family & Home
- Food & Drink
- Rhyme & Rhythm
- Sea & Sailing
- Stages of Life
- Story Telling
- Time of Day
Death is a pervasive theme in poetry. Whether it is memorials to the lost, fear of death, dreams of immortality, or speaking of death as a stage in life. There is also a personification of death, in mythical terms, or simply as one of those things that writers of the previous century personalized and capitalized.
In other parts of the Subject Index there is discussion of how something (flowers, seasons, weather, etc). are a metaphor for somethign else. I this case, the something else is Death, for which sleep, a long journey, a narrow bed (coffin), a distant shore, etc. are some of the many metaphors used.
One special opportunity for a poet is to write his own epitaph. Perhaps the most famous is by poet Robert Louis Stevenson:
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me;
"Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill."
It is carved on his gravestone at Vailima in Samoa.
Related categories are Memorials, Carpe Diem, and Stages of Life.
Poetry is the harnessing of the paradox of earth cradling life and then entombing it. - Carl Sandburg
- The Last Word by Matthew Arnold
Creep into thy narrow bed,
Creep, and let no more be said!
- Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant
- When Coldness Wraps this Suffering Clay by Lord Byron
- Heraclitus by William Cory
- Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson
- My life closed twice before its close by Emily Dickinson
- The Dance of Death by Austin Dobson
- Death Be Not Proud by John Donne
- Lay a Garland on My Hearse by John Fletcher
- Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?by Thomas Hardy
- His Meditation upon Death by Robert Herrick
- To Daffodills by Robert Herrick
- To an Athlete Dying Young by A. E. Housman
We cheer our heroes in life and in death.
- With Rue My Heart Is Laden by A. E. Housman
- Is My Team Ploughing? by A. E. Housman
- Death by James Leigh Hunt
- Oh, Why Should the Spirit of Mortal Be Proud? by William Knox
- Death Stands Above Me by Walter Savage Landor
- The Reaper and the Flowers by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Post Mortem by Arthur Munby
- Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
Written during WW I after the first use of Chlorine gas.
- Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen
- A Night-Piece on Death by Thomas Parnell
- The Dying Christian To His Soul by Alexander Pope
- I Have a Rendezvous with Death . . . by Alan Seeger
- The Discoverer by Edmund Clarence Stedman
- Mors Benefica by Edmund Clarence Stedman
- Come not, when I am dead by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- All the Flowers by John Webster
...Who seek by trophies and dead things
To leave a living name behind,
And weave but nets to catch the wind.