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poems about the theme of sorrow

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

The solution encompasses poems about the theme of sorrow and uses in-text citations to validate.