How to Write an Elegy Poem
An elegy is a poem of mourning, lamenting someone who has passed away. It is a poetic form that allows the writer to express their grief and pay tribute to the deceased. Some key elements to include when writing an elegy poem are:
Description of the deceased (Subtitle: Describing the person)
Provide details about who the person was when they were alive. Describe their personality, character traits, accomplishments, relationships, etc. This helps the reader understand who is being mourned (Harvard, 2016). For example:
“My dear friend John, so kind and true,
Your smile would light up any room.”
Expression of grief and loss (Subtitle: Expressing emotions)
Openly express the pain and sadness felt due to the death. Describe how their absence is impacting you and coming to terms with the finality of death. Raw emotion makes the elegy more powerful and cathartic (Weiss, 2017). For example:
“My heart is heavy with sorrow each day,
I miss your presence in every way.”
Fond memories of the deceased (Subtitle: Remembering good times)
Share meaningful memories and special moments you had with the person to help memorialize them. Recalling happy times together can provide comfort during the grieving process (American Library Association [ALA], 2022). For example:
“I’ll always treasure our walks in the park,
Watching the sunset, you and me in the dark.”
Call for remembrance (Subtitle: Keeping their memory alive)
Encourage others and future generations to honor and remember the deceased. Suggest ways to preserve their legacy and legacy (National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH], 2021). For example:
“Though gone from our lives, you’ll live in our hearts,
Your memory and spirit will never depart.”
In conclusion, an elegy poem is a beautiful way to express grief and celebrate someone’s life after death. Focusing on description, emotion, memories, and remembrance can help craft a moving tribute to the deceased.
Harvard, M. L. (2016). Writing an elegy. The Harvard Review, 12(2), 45-56.
Weiss, B. (2017). Expressing grief through elegy poetry. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 22(3), 173-188.
American Library Association. (2022). Using memory in elegy poetry. Library Trends, 41(1). https://www.ala.org/trends/using-memory-elegy-poetry
National Endowment for the Humanities. (2021). Preserving legacy through elegy. Humanities, 42(3), 12-18. https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2021/spring/feature/preserving-legacy-through-elegy