14 Poems To Help You Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder
There's a lot to love about fall and winter. We've got a holiday celebrating candy and monsters, a holiday celebrating overeating, and a whole lot of excuses for wearing scarves. But as the days grow shorter and the gourd-flavored coffee grows stronger, some of us might start feeling a little bit blue. I mean, I think we can agree that all of our favorite cold weather activities (with the exception of leaf peeping and ice skating) have been designed specifically to distract from the fact that it's chilly and dark and generally miserable outside. Seasonal affective disorder can be a mild change in mood or a genuinely debilitating disorder. And, while poetry should never be used as a replacement for actual mental health treatment, these poems just might help you get out of bed on those particularly dreary days.
Reading verse isn't exactly a cure-all. But a poem that reminds you of warmer, lighter days, or even just a poet who understands what you're going through, can make a huge different on those long and gloomy afternoons. So the next time the weather starts to get you down, curl up with your lightbox and your antioxidant rich tea, and check out these poems about sunnier days:
'The Rainy Day' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary."
'February' by Margaret Atwood
"Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard."
'Summer in Winter in Summer' by Noah Eli Gordon
"The bottom teeth of summer
in winter, braided into
whomever stood on the green green bridge watching her shadow lengthen.
Sun-pocket. Sunflower. Seedling, you
brittle blossoming something the room clears of dailyness."
'A Winter Daybreak above Vence' by James Wright
"Look, the sea has not fallen and broken
Our heads. How can I feel so warm
Here in the dead center of January? I can
Scarcely believe it, and yet I have to, this is
The only life I have. I get up from the stone.
My body mumbles something unseemly
And follows me. Now we are all sitting here strangely
On top of the sunlight."
'In the Mountains on a Summer Day' by Li Po
"Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head."
'Summer Haibun' by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
"To everything, there is a season of parrots. Instead of feathers, we searched the sky for meteors on our last night. Salamanders use the stars to find their way home. Who knew they could see that far, fix the tiny beads of their eyes on distant arrangements of lights so as to return to wet and wild nests? Our heads tilt up and up and we are careful to never look at each other. You were born on a day of peaches splitting from so much rain and the slick smell of fresh tar and asphalt pushed over a cracked parking lot."
7'from On the Pulse of Morning' by Maya Angelou
"A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon,
The dinosaur, who left dried tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages."
'Hokku Poems In Four Seasons' by Yosa Buson
"More than last year,
I now feel solitude;
this autumn twilight.
This being alone may even be a kind of happy
— in the autumn dusk"
'Happiness' by Jane Kenyon
"There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away."
'You Wake Up In The Morning' by Arnold Bennett
"You wake up in the morning and Lo!
Your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the magic tissue
of the universe of your life.
No one can take it from you.
No one receives more or less than you receive.
Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the
supply will never be with held from you."
'Tulips' by Sylvia Plath
"The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands."
'Darling Coffee' by Meena Alexander
"Let’s find a room
with a window onto elms
strung with sunlight,
a cafe with polished cups,
darling coffee they call it,
may our bed be stoked
with fresh cut rosemary
and glinting thyme,
all herbs in due season
tucked under wild sheets:
fit for the conjugation of joy."
'Happiness' by Raymond Carver
"The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.
Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it."
'Nocturne' by Dorothy Parker
"Always I knew it would come like this
(Pattering rain, and the grasses springing),
Sweeter to you is a new love's kiss
(Flickering sunshine, and young birds singing).
Gone are the raptures that once we knew,
Now you are finding a new joy greater—
Well, I'll be doing the same thing, too,
Sooner or later."