The popularity of poetry lives on until the present generation. It is a form of literature that uses aesthetic languages, symbols, and underlying messages. Even if poems have evolved, it still doesn’t lose its effectivity of artistic expression. Here are some of the best poems of all time:
Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare
On top of our list is Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” which is one of his best-known 154 sonnets which consists of three quatrains followed by a couplet. It starts with a question “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Shakespeare wanted to tell someone who is incomparable to the summer’s day, as this person doesn’t fade away. The person’s beauty is preserved in the poetry itself.
Holy Sonnet 10: Death, Be Not Proud, John Donne
Also known as Sonnet X, this piece by John Donne is a fourteen-line poem first published in 1633. It is included as one of the 19 sonnets that compose Donne’s Holy Sonnets, among his most well-known works. This tackles about the idea that death should not be the subject of fear and despair. On his sixth rhetorical attack, he mentioned that if a man believes in a soul, then death is nothing to worry about as soul lives eternally.
Daffodils, William Wordsworth
Daffodils is a lyric poem which is considered to be William Wordsworth’s most famous work. This was inspired by Wordsworth’s real encounter with daffodils. It presents the power and beauty of the natural world. He wrote this poem during the time of industrialization when man prides the rise of technology. However, for Wordsworth, nature can bring you more joy and bliss.
A Psalm of Life, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Longfellow wrote this nine-stanza poem to inspire readers to live actively, not allowing the past to stop you nor taking your future for granted. According to the poem, the force of science seems to hinder one’s spirit or soul to act and live. Thus, we need to be active as this can lead to the greatness of mankind.
On His Blindness, by John Milton
English poet Milton wrote this poem with reference to his condition of being totally blind. He transcends the misery he feels in the poem which deals with the limitations and shortcomings in life. He framed himself in the poem not as a suffering or sad individual, but as a failed servant to God. In his blindness, he sees a vision of God commanding thousands. He realizes that serving God requires you to bear hardships that life has burdened you with.
The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus
Lazarus wrote The New Colossus in 1883 to raise money for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The poem was then engraved on a bronze plaque mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level in 1903. Lazarus compares the Statue of Liberty to the Colossus of Rhodes which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed, however fully recovered during Renaissance. Thus, The New Colossus talks about resilience and the window for new opportunities.
Apart from the list, what are the other poems you think should be included in the list?