I need samples of poetry that would convey to and help undergraduate students understand the experience of pain. Does anyone have any suggestions?
crestra, a similar question was asked a while back, here's a link to that discussion:
In addition to that read some of the WWI poetry online here and elsewhere especially that of Wilfred Owen. This poem by William Henley also talks about impending doom:
Sorry about the first link above, here's the same link shortened:
a couple of suggestions..
I died yesterday on a Tel Aviv bus
and cannot relate to the person in
this cool home dusting, cleaning,
switching things on, turning on,
breathing and even loving: alive.
In a hail of bullets I fell,
clutched at nothing, thought:
hot - dusty - sore.
No more - they had said -
no more of unwarranted dying
for being a Jew. So, just a few.
Suddenly plucked from a busy, full,
worrisome, warm life of high prices,
government follies, Sharon's temper,
Tirza's adventures, worries over
Mamma's arthritis and a new dress
for Yael I have died yesterday.
Nora Krouk (Australian poet)
and you might like to check out Federico Garcia Lorca. Much of his poetry is about pain - associated with love, loss, death etc - he is often described as possessing 'duende', a kind of unearthly energy relating to anguish and pain.
If you are extending this to the pain of being rejected in love, there's this one by Robert Graves:
No lover ever found a cure for love
Except so cruel a thrust under the heart
(By her own hand delivered)
His wound was nine long years in healing,
Purulent with dead hope,
And ached yet longer at the moon's changes ...
More tolerable the infection than the cure.
Denise Levertov wrote a book of poems, THE OLGA POEMS, about her sister's illness and death (cancer). I think there are poems about physical pain as well as the pain of loss.
You have probably already noticed that if you search the internet for [poem + pain] you get massive amounts of mostly terrible poetry.
There is a better way! Go to [www.bartleby.com], which is a sort of on-line concordance of many things. Click on the VERSE tab and then search for the word PAIN. I just tried it and got over a thousand hits, and the first few looked promising.
You try works like PAINFUL, HURT, WOUND, etc. and see what else comes up.
IF YOU FIND SOMETHING REALLY FABULOUS THAT YOU'D NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE, PLEASE LET US KNOW!