Which poems help in hard times? Here’s what readers told us.

In her May 25 Thursday Opinion essay, Josie Glausiusz explained how poems offered her an anchor as she lost her 12-year-old son to brain cancer. “With just a word or a phrase, a poem can reach the hidden places that prayers or well-meaning advice cannot,” Glausiusz wrote. Describing the group she started on WhatsApp, called “Poetry Is Medicine,” she related how finding and sharing a poem with family and friends each day brought comfort and connection to her and others.

Her essay prompted many readers to share the poems that they turn to in difficult times, and particular lines that resonate. Here’s a sampling of what they sent. Comments have been edited for length, clarity and style.

Joe O’Malley, New York. The first few lines of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Carrion Comfort” always help kick me out of a funk: “Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee / Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man in me.” After my parents died, I turned to memorizing difficult poems in my mourning and started a YouTube channel devoted to poetry. Now, we’re discussing Shakespeare’s sonnets on there. Hopkins is still No. 1 because the difficulty of memorizing his poems still helps me distract myself from myself.

Lauren E. Persons, Parma, Ohio. I remember feeling the incredible gravity of William Wordsworth’s poem “The World Is Too Much With Us” on 9/11. My mother was very ill, and I was teaching. We were trying to help our students make sense out of something that made no sense. I hurried to the hospital to make sure my mom was okay. When I got to her room, my mother lifted her head from the pillow and said, “The world is too much with us; late and soon …”P

Jennifer Hall Lee, Altadena, Calif. When I read “Theories of Time and Space” by Natasha Trethewey (I read her work almost weekly), I anticipate the last part because I understand how we are always being changed. It helps me see that things pass: “Where you board the boat for Ship Island / Someone will take your picture / the photograph — who you were — / will be waiting when you return.”

Tim Zuellig, Bartlett, Ill. During times of mental duress, in a lifelong struggle with depression, I always read the epic poem “Letters to Yesenin” by Jim Harrison. It is a series of letters from Harrison to the long-dead Russian poet Sergei Yesenin, who hanged himself. I find it to be a call back to Earth, to nature and to love of other humans. In the end, thankfully, Harrison decides against suicide with the line: “My year-old daughter’s red robe hangs from the doorknob shouting stop.” There are so many great lines. I’m going to read it again today.

Sam Kirk, Oaklyn, N.J. “Go Now” by Gary Snyder is a poem I turn to often. It’s an account of Snyder’s wife’s illness and death from cancer, and particularly of the physicality of it. Snyder, known for his connections with Buddhist thought, refers to the concept of attachment, associated with the root of all suffering. The line that always gets me is: “This is the price of attachment / Worth it. Easily worth it.”

Rik Myslewski, San Francisco. I am not a spiritual man. I do not nurture my pain, emotional or otherwise, nor respect it as a teacher or guide. Life simply is. How much pain am I experiencing? How much joy? Just the right amount. So “Beerbottle” by Charles Bukowski speaks to me: “All manner of nudges set us to burning or freezing / What sets the blackbird in the cat’s mouth is not for us to say.” Life is luck, struggle, love, work and wonder. No more, no less, it seems to say. That is immensely comforting.

Nancy Van Der Weide, Aberdeen, S.D. One of the poems that helped me most was “Prayer to Persephone” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The narrator appeals to the queen of the Greek underworld to help a beloved trapped in hell. My husband came back from Iraq different. In the years after his return, he became angry, scared and uncomfortable with everyday, free life in his country. Within three years, he was unreachable. He saw danger everywhere and could not trust anyone. In a misguided attempt to protect us, he disappeared from our lives. These lines in the poem “She that was so proud and wild, / Flippant, arrogant and free, / She that had no need of me, / Is a little lonely child / Lost in hell …” describe my experience exactly of watching him fall out of the world I am in.

Donald P. Butler, Houston. I belong to the Houston chapter of Death Café, and I love and collect modern religious poetry, especially poetry that deals with impermanence. The late, wonderful Mary Oliver had a poem called “Sometimes” that had these lines: “I don’t know what God is. I don’t know what death is. / But I believe they have between them some fervent and necessary arrangement.”

Ruthann Bates, Chevy Chase, Md. When my husband was in a hospice, I brought him a copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems. I read to him “The Raven,” which has wonderful images and language. When one of our kids came in and saw what we were doing, he said there was a “Simpsons” Halloween episode where James Earl Jones narrated the poem. We pulled it up on his television and watched it — hilarious. It was a wonderful respite from a very sad and difficult time.

Lori Anne Gross, Houston. When I have had to say goodbye to my many dogs over the years, I have reached for Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Power of the Dog.” It helps me connect to my grief, brings up fond memories of happy times and, in a funny way, lessens my sense of loss, the inevitability of it all, and the cyclical nature of loving and losing dogs whose lives are much shorter than ours: “So why in — Heaven (before we are there) / Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?”

Cassandra K. Conroy, Beaufort, S.C. My sister and I shared a love of trees. When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I discovered “Trees” by W.S. Merwin to read to her. Since then, I have sent it to so many others that I keep printed copies on hand to include in notes of encouragement. It ends: “They have stood round my sleep / and when it was forbidden to climb them / they have carried me in their branches.”

Julie Buyon, Egremont, Mass. The poem I share most often with the people I work with as a patient advocate is Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things.” Among the lines that remind us not rush to meet bad news are: “I come into the peace of wild things / who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.” I lost my dad to cancer when I was 2, and my greatest fear with my own three cancer diagnoses was that my kids would grow up without their mom. I reread this poem every year before I have annual medical imaging.

Sheila Finkelstein, Boynton Beach, Fla. When Sam, my beloved husband of 47 years, was in a coma in the hospital, the poem I read many times, over several days, was E.E. Cummings’s “I Carry Your Heart With Me.” I would lie beside him in the hospital bed, hugging him and reading or whispering it in his ear, usually concluding with my own summation, “Your heart is in my heart; my heart is in yours.” The final time was when I gave Sam “permission” to feel free to leave us just before the feeding tubes were disconnected to move him into hospice. Sam died in my arms as I continued to remind him he would always be with us. When I comforted our beloved grandchildren, I reassured them that they were in Poppy’s heart as he was in theirs. I still have the vivid image of my youngest grandson, 8 years old at the time (15-plus years ago), walking around the house during shiva. He kept patting his heart repeating, “Poppy’s right here. Poppy’s right here.”