Poems About Death
Poetry encompasses the whole of human existence. As such, one of the most frequently explored themes is that of death. Poems about death are quite numerous, with some being famous. Poets write about the death of family members (both parents and children), celebrities, and even the nature of death itself. Both Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, among many other noteworthy poets, wrote famous poems about death.
Death is the great equalizer, an event that occurs to every human being. However, anxiety over death has perplexed human beings since time immemorial. Death is universal, yet it is mysterious, wrapped up in religion, superstition, and fear of the unknown. It is therefore not surprising that there are countless poems about death. Such poems provide a comfort to the reader and a means of exploring anxiety for the poet.
“Because I could not stop for death” is one of the most famous works in Dickenson’s canon. Frost wrote “The Death of the Hired Man,” among other works. “Death Be Not Proud” is one of the more famous poems by John Donne. Some poems about death have a religious connotation, while others are secular. Various wars have also inspired poems about death from “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Randall Jarrell’s “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner,” which emerged out of World War II, and ends with the famous line “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”