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Subject Index - Memory

Hammrsmith Gardens, Newport, Rhode Island by Louis Spanoudis

Poems of memory often follow familiar patterns - memories of childhood, memories of friends and loved ones, memories of favorite places, and of course, memories of old love and lost love. Poems to remember an individual who has died are very common, and are often titled In Memoriam. There is a also a separate Subject Index for Memorials

In addition to the memories themselves, poets often write about the events, places, or objects that evoke memories. One of the very best of these is Bread and Music by Conrad Aiken.

Another common theme is lost memory - poems range from de la Mare's profound All that's Past, to Aldrich's simple selective Memory, to Calverley's Companions, written a century before playwrights and poets thought of Alzheimer's as a disease rather than a vehicle for humor.

Memories of childhood and of lost love tend to create the most powerful poems. Both are often tinged with a wistful sadness that rings true. Memory by President Abraham Lincoln and Spring Rain by Sara Teasdale are good examples.

  1. Discordants - I. Bread and Music by Conrad Aiken
    Simple but powerful lines describe memories of a lost loved one. A favorite poem of many.

  2. Memory by Abraham Lincoln
    Beautifully written and structured - and yes, by President Lincoln. Thanks to the Smithsonian.

  3. Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  4. When the Rose is Faded by Walter De La Mare
    Be careful who you say this to - while it quite ends strongly, you may not make it through the introduction.

  5. In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
    While this is a very famous piece, the challenge made in the name of those remembered has led (and still leads) to yet more poppies.

  6. Memory by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
    We forget much, but sometimes retain a single, crystal clear thought.

  7. Spring Rain by Sara Teasdale
    Simple and elegant, like most of her works.

  8. Old Letters by Norman Rowland Gale
    Love letters, of cousrse, and roses.

  9. In the high leaves of a Walnut by Laurence Binyon
    Perhaps one of those "The child is father to the man" poems.

  10. Dost Thou Remember Ever by Mathilde Blind
    Do you remember me?

  11. Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  12. Heraclitus by William Cory
    An ancient poem (23 centuries old) in memory of a lost friend.

  13. Companions by Charles S. Calverley
    Grandfather's imperfect memory.

  14. The Room Beneath the Rafters by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
    A very typical Wilcox reminiscence.

  15. Love and Age by Thomas Love Peacock
    You could say 'memory of lost love', but this continues onward.

  16. All that's Past by Walter De La Mare
    Beautifully worded:
    Our dreams are tales
    Told in dim Eden
    By Eve's nightingales;

  17. Woodman, Spare That Tree by George Pope Morris
    My heart-strings round thee cling,
    Close as thy bark, old friend!

  18. At an Old Drawer by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
    Like Wilcox, I have drawers full of things I just can't seem to throw away.

  19. Rupert Brooke
  20. The Bucket Air - The Flower of Dumblane by Samuel Woodworth
    The hit song of 1826 - and a popular song for much of the nineteenth century.

  21. Retrospect by Rupert Brooke
    Perhaps the ultimate Mothers' Day poem.

  22. Mementos by Charlotte Bronte
    Sometimes there are too many memories.

  23. I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood
    Memories of childhood.

  24. Memory by Oliver Goldsmith
    To former joys recurring ever,
    And turning all the past to pain:

  25. Winter Memories by Henry David Thoreau
    Within the circuit of this plodding life
    There enter moments of an azure hue,

  26. The Long Small Room by Edward Thomas
    A childhood memory, its "witnesses", and what remains.

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