April is National Poetry Writing Month, and this month we are going to share with you our all-time favorite poems, both old and new, tragic and happy, romantic and those that speak of unrequited love.
In celebration of #NaPoWriMo, we have compiled this list of 9 of the saddest poems ever written after going through several phenomenal poems. This, however, isn’t an exclusive list, but just a list of our favorites.
We hope you will love going through these beauties, just as much as we did curating them for you.
Suggested read: Best Love Poems For Him And Her
The saddest poems ever written
- A Sad Child by Margaret Atwood
You’re sad because you’re sad.
It’s psychic. It’s the age. It’s chemical.
Go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.
Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.
Your sadness, your shadow,
whatever it was that was done to you
the day of the lawn party
when you came inside flushed with the sun,
your mouth sulky with sugar,
in your new dress with the ribbon
and the ice-cream smear,
and said to yourself in the bathroom,
I am not the favorite child.
My darling, when it comes
right down to it
and the light fails and the fog rolls in
and you’re trapped in your overturned body
under a blanket or burning car,
and the red flame is seeping out of you
and igniting the tarmac beside your head
or else the floor, or else the pillow,
none of us is;
or else we all are.
- A Fairly Sad Tale by Dorothy Parker
I think that I shall never know
Why I am thus, and I am so.
Around me, other girls inspire
In men the rush and roar of fire,
The sweet transparency of glass,
The tenderness of April grass,
The durability of granite;
But me- I don’t know how to plan it.
The lads I’ve met in Cupid’s deadlock
Were- shall we say?- born out of wedlock.
They broke my heart, they stilled my song,
And said they had to run along,
Explaining, so to sop my tears,
First came their parents or careers.
But ever does experience
Deny me wisdom, calm, and sense!
Though she’s a fool who seeks to capture
The twenty-first fine, careless rapture,
I must go on, till ends my rope,
Who from my birth was cursed with hope.
A heart in half is chaste, archaic;
But mine resembles a mosaic-
The thing’s become ridiculous!
Why am I so? Why am I thus?
- ‘And ask ye why these sad tears stream?’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson
‘And ask ye why these sad tears stream?’
‘Te somnia nostra reducunt.’
And ask ye why these sad tears stream?
Why these wan eyes are dim with weeping?
I had a dream–a lovely dream,
Of her that in the grave is sleeping.
I saw her as ’twas yesterday,
The bloom upon her cheek still glowing;
And round her play’d a golden ray,
And on her brows were gay flowers blowing.
With angel-hand she swept a lyre,
A garland red with roses bound it;
Its strings were wreath’d with lambent fire
And amaranth was woven round it.
I saw her mid the realms of light,
In everlasting radiance gleaming;
Co-equal with the seraphs bright,
Mid thousand thousand angels beaming.
I strove to reach her, when, behold,
Those fairy forms of bliss Elysian,
And all that rich scene wrapt in gold,
Faded in air–a lovely vision!
And I awoke, but oh! to me
That waking hour was doubly weary;
And yet I could not envy thee,
Although so blest, and I so dreary.
- Be Not Sad by James Joyce
Be not sad because all men
Prefer a lying clamour before you:
Sweetheart, be at peace again — –
Can they dishonour you?
They are sadder than all tears;
Their lives ascend as a continual sigh.
Proudly answer to their tears:
As they deny, deny.
Suggested read: Read The Best Elegy Poems Ever Written Right Here!
- The Sad Mother by Gabriela Mistral
Sleep, sleep, my beloved,
without worry, without fear,
although my soul does not sleep,
although I do not rest.
Sleep, sleep, and in the night
may your whispers be softer
than a leaf of grass,
or the silken fleece of lambs.
May my flesh slumber in you,
my worry, my trembling.
In you, may my eyes close
and my heart sleep.
- A Sad State Of Freedom by Nazim Hikmet
(Translated by Taner Baybars )
You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves
of which you’ll taste not a morsel;
you are free to slave for others–
you are free to make the rich richer.
The moment you’re born
they plant around you
mills that grind lies
lies to last you a lifetime.
You keep thinking in your great freedom
a finger on your temple
free to have a free conscience.
Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape,
your arms long, hanging,
your saunter about in your great freedom:
with the freedom of being unemployed.
You love your country
as the nearest, most precious thing to you.
But one day, for example,
they may endorse it over to America,
and you, too, with your great freedom–
you have the freedom to become an air-base.
You may proclaim that one must live
not as a tool, a number or a link
but as a human being–
then at once they handcuff your wrists.
You are free to be arrested, imprisoned
and even hanged.
There’s neither an iron, wooden
nor a tulle curtain
in your life;
there’s no need to choose freedom:
you are free.
But this kind of freedom
is a sad affair under the stars.
- Alone by Edgar Allan Poe
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
- One Art by Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
- A Hero by Robert W. Service
Three times I had the lust to kill,
To clutch a throat so young and fair,
And squeeze with all my might until
No breath of being lingered there.
Three times I drove the demon out,
Though on my brow was evil sweat. . . .
And yet I know beyond a doubt
He’ll get me yet, he’ll get me yet.
I know I’m mad, I ought to tell
The doctors, let them care for me,
Confine me in a padded cell
And never, never set me free;
But Oh how cruel that would be!
For I am young – and comely too . . .
Yet dim my demon I can see,
And there is but one thing to do.
Three times I beat the foul fiend back;
The fourth, I know he will prevail,
And so I’ll seek the railway track
And lay my head upon the rail,
And sight the dark and distant train,
And hear its thunder louder roll,
Coming to crush my cursed brain . . .
Oh God, have mercy on my soul!
That is all we have on today’s post on the saddest poems ever written. Did you like what you just read? Let us know in the comment section below.
Keep your eyes on this space if you love books and tales they carry in them. If you want to contribute an article, then please feel free to do so.
See you again next time.
Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License