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10 of the Best Poems about Forests and Trees

The greatest woodland poems

Looking for classic poems based on a woodland theme? In this post we’ve selected ten of the best poems about trees and forests, written by some of the most famous poets in all of English literature.

William Blake, ‘A Poison Tree’. Blake originally gave ‘A Poison Tree’ the title ‘Christian Forbearance’. The speaker of the poem tells us that when he was angry with his friend he simply told his friend that he was annoyed, and that put an end to his bad feeling. But when he was angry with his enemy, he didn’t air his grievance to this foe, and so the anger grew. The implication of this ‘poison tree’ is that anger and hatred start to eat away at oneself: hatred always turns inward, corrupting into self-hatred. Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 31: ‘Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts’

A reading of Shakespeare’s 31st sonnet

After the two preceding sonnets, Sonnet 31 seems like a bit of a comedown and, indeed, a let-down; yet it’s worthy of analysis because of its treatment of the idea of a love ‘dead’ and ‘buried’.

Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts,
Which I by lacking have supposed dead;
And there reigns Love, and all Love’s loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought buried.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stol’n from mine eye,
As interest of the dead, which now appear
But things removed that hidden in thee lie!
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give,
That due of many now is thine alone:
Their images I loved, I view in thee,
And thou (all they) hast all the all of me. Read the rest of this entry

10 of the Best Poems about Growing Old

The best poems about ageing

‘I grow old… I grow old…’ So speaks J. Alfred Prufrock in T. S. Eliot’s classic poem. And, indeed, poets have often been drawn to the topic of growing old and approaching one’s winter years. Here are ten of the very finest poems about ageing, from the age of Shakespeare to the current century.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73. The third of four consecutive sonnets about ageing, this poem, beginning ‘That time of year thou mayst in me behold’, is a firm favourite for anthologists and sonnet fans. The gist of this poem is summed up by Don Paterson in Reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets thus: ‘The more decrepit I look, the more you’ll love me, as this reminds you that I’ll be gone before you are’. Read the rest of this entry