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    poems about the theme of sorrow

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    The Carousel" by Gloria C. Oden
    "My November Guest" by Robert Frost
    "the Noise of Waters" by James Joyce
    "Break, Break, Break" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
    "A Dirge" by Percy Bysshe Shelley
    "After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes" by Emily Dickinson
    "The Woodspurge" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
    "Sonnet XXX" by William Shakespeare
    The Carousel

    Gloria C. Oden

    "I turned from side to side, from image to image to put you down." LOUISE BOGAN

    An empty carousel in a deserted park
    rides me round and round,
    forth and back,
    from end to beginning,
    like the tail that drives the dog. 5

    I cannot see:
    sight focuses shadow where once
    pleased scenery,
    and in this whirl of space
    only the indefinite is constant. 10

    This is the way of grief:
    spinning in the rhythm of memories
    that will not let you up
    or down,
    but keeps you grinding through 15
    a granite air.
    (Appeared in The Half Moon, Summer, 1959.)

    My November Guest

    Robert Frost

    My sorrow, when she's here with me,
    Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
    Are beautiful as days can be;
    She loves the bare, the withered tree;
    She walks the sodden pasture lane. 5

    Her pleasure will not let me stay
    She talks and I am fain to list.
    She's glad the birds are gone away,
    She's glad her simple worsted grey
    Is silver now with clinging mist. 10

    The desolate, deserted trees,
    The faded earth, the heavy sky,
    The beauties she so truly sees,
    She thinks I have no eye for these,
    And vexes me for reason why. 15

    Not yesterday I learned to know
    The love of bare November days
    Before the coming of snow,
    But it were vain to tell her so,
    And they are better for her praise. 20

    The Noise of Waters

    James Joyce

    All day I hear the noise of waters
    Making moan,
    Sad as the sea bird is, when, going
    Forth alone,
    He hears the winds cry to the waters' 5

    The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing
    Where I go.
    I hear the noise of many waters
    Far below. 10
    All day, all night, I hear them flowing
    To and fro.

    Break, Break, Break

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    Break, break, break
    On thy cold gray stone, O Sea!
    And I would that my tongue could utter
    The thoughts that arise in me.

    O well for the fisherman's boy, 5
    That he shouts with his sister at play!
    O well for the sailor lad,
    That he sings in his boat on the bay!

    And the stately ships go on
    To their haven under the hill; 10
    But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
    And the sound of a voice that is still!

    Break, break, break,
    At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
    But the tender grace of a day that is dead 15
    Will never come back to me.

    A Dirge

    Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Rough wind, that moanest loud
    Grief too sad for song;
    Wild wind, when sullen cloud
    Knells all the night long;
    Sad storm, whose tears are vain, 5
    Bare woods, whose branches strain,
    Deep caves and dreary main,--
    Wail, for the world's wrong!

    After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes

    Emily Dickinson

    After great pain a formal feeling comes--
    The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
    The stiff heart questions was it He that bore?
    And yesterday or centuries before?

    The feet mechanical 5
    Go round a wooden way
    Of ground or air or Ought, regardless grown,
    A quartz contentment like a stone.

    This is the hour of lead
    Remembered if outlived, 10
    As freezing persons recollect the snow--
    First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.

    The Woodspurge

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti

    The wind flapped loose, the wind was still,
    Shaken out dead from tree and hill:
    I had walked on at the wind's will,
    I sat now, for the wind was still.

    Between my knees my forehead was, -- 5
    My lips, drawn in, said not Alas!
    My hair was over in the grass,
    My naked ears heard the day pass.

    My eyes, wide open, had the run
    Of some ten weeds to fix upon; 10
    Among those few, out of the sun,
    The woodspurge flowered, three cups in one.

    From perfect grief there need not be
    Wisdom or even memory:
    One thing that learnt remains to me, -- 15
    The woodspurge has a cup of three.

    Sonnet XXX

    William Shakespeare

    When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
    I summon up remembrance of things past,
    I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
    And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste.
    Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow, 5
    For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
    And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
    And moan the expense of many a vanished sight.
    Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
    And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er 10
    The sad account of fore bemoaned moan,
    Which I new pay as if not paid before.
    But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
    All losses are restored and sorrows end.

    After a certain amount of sorrow, the human mind no longer reacts.

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    Solution Preview

    1. In Ogden's poem, a person who is stricken with grief, either from a death or some other tragedy, cannot escape their sorrow. They go 'round and 'round as on a colorless carousel, as the analogy is given in the poem. They feel "empty" and "deserted", as the poem states and the grief is endless. It "will not let you up or down," but rides you "round and round" in a "whirl of space." The person experiencing this grief is just going through the motions of his life afterward mechanically. His mind is not in gear.

    2 2. In Frost's " November's Guest," the guest is death. The sorrow the writer experiences as death, in the form of "winter," is fast approaching, like a guest who is with him and, "..thinks these dark days...are beautiful." The poet attempts to see " the beauties she so truly sees, " by accepting death and the beauty and serenity of old age, " silver now with clinging mist." It is old age moving towards the end of life and its ultimate conclusion. The person feeling ...

    Solution Summary

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