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Poets H O M E

Subject Index
  1. Adventure
  2. Animals
  3. Beauty
  4. Bereavement
  5. Birds
  6. Carpe Diem
  7. Children
  8. Dance
  9. Death
  10. Descriptions
  11. Faith & Religion
  12. Family & Home
  13. Flowers
  14. Food & Drink
  15. Friendship
  16. Garden
  17. Heroes
  18. History
  19. Holidays
  20. Humor
  21. Images
  22. Imagination
  23. Inspiration
  24. Life
  25. Love
  26. Machines
  27. Marriage
  28. Memorials
  29. Memory
  30. Months
  31. Music
  32. Mystery
  33. Nature
  34. Parodies
  35. Parting
  36. Patriotism
  37. People
  38. Places
  39. Poetry
  40. Protest
  41. Rhyme & Rhythm
  42. Satire
  43. School
  44. Sea & Sailing
  45. Seasons
  46. Song
  47. Sport
  48. Stages of Life
  49. Story Telling
  50. Time
  51. Time of Day
  52. Travel
  53. War
  54. Weather
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Subject Index - Death

Painting of Robert Louis Stevenson

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


  1. The Last Word by Matthew Arnold
    Creep into thy narrow bed,
    Creep, and let no more be said!


  2. Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant


  3. When Coldness Wraps this Suffering Clay by Lord Byron


  4. from the Egyptian Book of the Dead
  5. Heraclitus by William Cory


  6. Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson


  7. My life closed twice before its close by Emily Dickinson


  8. The Dance of Death by Austin Dobson


  9. Death Be Not Proud by John Donne


  10. Lay a Garland on My Hearse by John Fletcher


  11. Painting by Swiss artis H.R. Geiger
  12. Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?by Thomas Hardy


  13. His Meditation upon Death by Robert Herrick


  14. To Daffodills by Robert Herrick


  15. To an Athlete Dying Young by A. E. Housman
    We cheer our heroes in life and in death.


  16. With Rue My Heart Is Laden by A. E. Housman


  17. Is My Team Ploughing? by A. E. Housman


  18. Death by James Leigh Hunt


  19. Oh, Why Should the Spirit of Mortal Be Proud? by William Knox


  20. Death Stands Above Me by Walter Savage Landor


  21. The Reaper and the Flowers by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  22. Post Mortem by Arthur Munby


  23. War Poet Wilfred Owen
  24. Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
    Written during WW I after the first use of Chlorine gas.


  25. Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen


  26. A Night-Piece on Death by Thomas Parnell


  27. The Dying Christian To His Soul by Alexander Pope


  28. I Have a Rendezvous with Death . . . by Alan Seeger


  29. The Discoverer by Edmund Clarence Stedman


  30. Mors Benefica by Edmund Clarence Stedman


  31. Come not, when I am dead by Alfred, Lord Tennyson


  32. 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.



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