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Six of the Best Poems for Sundays

Sunday morning is a great time to sit back, relax, and read a bit of poetry. And below we’ve gathered together six of the finest poems about Sunday: you might consider this poetry’s ‘Sunday best’. From meditations on prayer and church to staying at home and pondering the bigger questions of life, these six classic Sunday poems are ideal Sunday reading.

George Herbert, ‘Prayer (I)’. Herbert (1593-1633) sent his poems to a friend Nicholas Ferrar with the instruction that his friend should publish them or destroy them, depending on whether he thought they were any good, is now revered as one of the greatest poets of the Early Modern period. In ‘Prayer’, an example of a sonnet, Herbert finds numerous ways of describing prayer, including ‘man well drest’, i.e. all done up in his Sunday best ready for church. Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Sylvia Plath’s ‘Elm’

Like many of her poems, including her mature poems from her late period, ‘Elm’ is an obscure Sylvia Plath poem which resists straightforward analysis. Plath’s complex and ambiguous use of symbolism renders ‘Elm’, if not impenetrable, then at the very least, challenging. You can read ‘Elm’ here before proceeding to our analysis of the poem below.

The elm tree is a tree associated with rebirth. Unlike the yew tree – which, in Plath’s ‘The Moon and the Yew Tree’, is associated with masculinity, Christianity, and death – the elm tree offers hope of revival and resurrection. Like another Sylvia Plath poem which has attracted a good deal of analysis and commentary, ‘Lady Lazarus’, ‘Elm’ is about rebirth, but with the knowledge that in order to be reborn there must first be death. Read the rest of this entry

‘Home’: A Poem by John Clare

This wonderful little-known poem from one of English literature’s greatest nature poets isn’t available online anywhere, so we’ve reproduced it below as the latest in our ‘Post A Poem A Day’ challenge. In the poem, John Clare (1793-1864) extols the virtue of home as a place to return to at the end of a hard day, a place of comfort and belonging. The poem’s form deftly reflects this, with the last line of each stanza returning to home – i.e. by ending on the very word ‘home’.

Home

Muses no more what ere ye be
In fancys pleasures roam
But sing (by truth inspir’d) wi’ me
The pleasures of a home Read the rest of this entry