Be prepared to grab a box of tissues with these sad poems that make you cry. Generally, when people think of sad poems that make you cry, the first thing that springs to mind are love poems. Some old person groaning on about the girl that left him behind, with every line some sappy dribble about losing the love of your life and fading youth. In truth, the saddest poems that make you cry don’t spend a lot of time dealing with the notion of romance. The best sad poems make you travel through time and space to tap into your deepest fears. From death to depression, desperation and joblessness, these sad poems make you cry because that confront you with your deepest fears.
- “Howl” (Allen Ginsberg)- Originally written as a performance piece, bluntlanguage and vivid imagery of the suffering on the streets of the inner cities in America landed Beat Poet Allen Ginsberg on trial for obscenity. Allen beat the case, and this poem went onto become a classic piece of beat poetry that symbolized the frustration of a generation as the 50s began to give way to the era of peace and love that the 60s would come to symbolize. 50 years later the anger, the fear and frustration of this poem are still as palpable as the day it was written. “Howl” illustrates brilliantly the problems of the past are alive and well in the present, and how bleak the future can be. Being able to cast doubt on the human condition is what this sad poem will make you cry.
- “Let America be America Again”(Langston Hughes)- A master poet from the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes was an expert at capturing the spirit of the down trodden. On the surface, his work seems specifically geared towards an African-American audience, but if you peel back the thin layer of race, Langston Hughes speaks for everyone who has felt disillusioned by the American dream. In this poem, he artfully juxtaposes the lofty notion of what it means to be an American that we have all grown up with the grim reality that faces far too many people in today’s grim economic times. Being a master at painting a portrait of reality that is fused with hope makes this a sad poem that will make you cry.
- “A Farewell to False Love”- (Sir Walter Raleigh)- Te presence of bitterness that runs throughout makes this a sad poem that will make you cry. It’s a brief insight into a heart that has loved, lost and decided never to love again. Reading Sir Walter Raleigh lament his heartache and make the conscious decision that a life companionship isn’t worth the bother may be one of the saddest things put on paper that doesn’t involve suicide.
- “We Aint Got Money Honey, But We Got Rain” (Charles Bukowski)- From start to finish, this may be one of the saddest poems that Bukowski ever penned. He pulls you in with images of torrential down pours flooding the streets of Los Angeles, as jobless men and women watch cars drown in the streets. As if images of the jobless minions weren’t heartbreaking enough, the poem takes a darker turn as he relays drunken beatings suffered at the hands of his father. It’s a sordid tale that is all too easy to relate to making this a sad poem that can make even the hardest man cry.
“Pantoum of the Great Depression” (Donald Justice)- One of the saddest things in the human experience is the life left unfulfilled, unexamined and generally wasted. In a hand full of phrases, this poem manges to sum up how bloody awful living your life by the status quo can be. It drives home the tedium of living a life that is spent just getting by, without adventure, drive or direction. If the thought of living such a dull existence doesn’t make this a sad poem that makes you cry, you may very well be dead.