Today’s Daily Wisdom Word is Elegy. an Elegy is another word you Poets will find useful in your work as it covers a type of Poetry that is written. Let us first take a look at the Webster Definition of Elegy and then we will go from there. Elegy- A song or poem explaining grief for one who is dead. 2. a reflective poem usually with a melancholy in nature.


For our Daily Wisdom Word Meaning we will use the definition from the Academy of American Poets-Elegy-began as an ancient Greek metrical form and is traditionally written in response to the death of a person or group.


The elegy is similar in function, but distinct from the epitaph, ode and eulogy; The epitaph is very brief; unlike the eulogy, which people often confuse with the elegy poem, the epitaph is very brief; the ode solely exalts; and the eulogy is most often written in formal prose.


The elements of a traditional elegy mirror three stages of loss. First, there is a lament (poets.org/text/lament-poets-glossary) where the speaker expresses grief and sorrow, then praise and admiration of the idealized dead and finally consolation and solace. You may remember the elegy poem briefly covered under Memorable Mondays, but here are the nitty gritty details in the event you want to write one for me today.


The three stages of grief covered in the elegy, (grief and sorrow, then praise and admiration of the idealized dead, and last, consolation and solace) can be seen in W. H. Auden’s classic,

“In Memory of W.B. Yeats,” (/poetsorg/poem/memory-w-b-yeats) written for the Irish master, which includes these stanzas:


With the farming of a verse

Make a vineyard a curse,

Sing of human unsuccess

In a rapture of distress


In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing foundation start,

In the prison of his days,

Teach the free man of his praise.


Other well known elegies include “Fugue of Death” (/poetsorg/poet/walt-whitman), written for President Abraham Lincoln.


Many modern elegies have been written not out of a sense of personal grief, but rather a broad feeling of loss and metaphysical sadness. A famous example is the mournful series of ten poems in Duino Elegies, by German Poet Rainer Maria Rilke.(poetsorg/poet/rainer-maria-rilke). The first poem begins:


If I cried out

who would hear me up there

among the angelic orders?

And suppose one suddenly

took me to his heart

I would shrivel


Other works that can be considered elegiac in the broader sense are James Merrill (poetsorg/poet/james-merrill)’s monumental the changing Light at Sandover, Robert Lowell. (poetsorg/poet/robert-lowell)’s “for the Union Dead,” .(poetsorg;poet;seamus-heaney.)’s The Haw Lantern and the work of Czeslaw Milosz (poetsorg;poet;czeslaw-milosz), whhich often laments the modern cruelties he witnessed in Europe.


(Most information for today’s daily wisdom word came from elegy: Poetic Form|Academy of American Poets)


Thank you for joining me in a detailed analysis of the Elegy Poem and Elegy daily Wisdom Word which is one of my most favorite words. Please send me Elegy Poems today or stanza’s to one, even if you have to do a little research and use a famous Poet’s example or write your own! Leave them beneath this post or tweet them to me at Samanylize@twitter.com, or connect with me on twitter as well as Facebook, under Samantha Leboeuf@facebook.com.


There are more examples of elegys at (/poetsorg/poemsfield_form_tid=409) > but I encourage you to do your own research as well. Thanks so much for reading in detail about Elegys today, and I will send over our next Daily Wisdom Word on Monday, along with our Memorable Mondays-#getyourverseon.


Have a great day!


Samantha Leboeuf

Community Leader




0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Share the good news. Tell someone about us today. Follow us on Twitter.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x