We all have them, maybe more often than we'd care to admit: bad days. And, personally, I hate them. I hate the temptation to mope; I hate the feelings of sadness or hopelessness that come crashing down like a tidal wave at the drop of a hat (or the drop of anything else — because who doesn't drop sh*t like crazy during a bad day?!). I could go on, but honestly that's just what bad days want you to do — indulge them. Pros at rebooting bad days know that playing nice just won't work.
You've got to get nasty.
Or, at least, inventive.
(Sometimes, of course, the two are synonymous.)
Believe it or not, reading poems can completely help combat a bad day. For lots of reasons. To begin, poems shake up your routine. They force you to read in a different way than the way your brain is probably used to. Remember that time you read a poem and you realized it didn't make "sense"? You were figuring out that it didn't make narrative sense, and frankly I think narrative is the true enemy of a good day.
The other thing poems have going for them in the beat-bad-day camp is their ability to make you smile. You don't have to read Shel Silverstein to cheer up, obviously, but who's really going to stop you if you do?
Here are seven poems that never fail to cheer me up on a bad day:
1. 'Happiness' by Noelle Kocot
Our ancestors in the earth are not
Ashamed of us. The strong smell
Of dirt, the delirious rabbits, the
Clocks are all disappearing.
2. 'The Daffodils' by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils
3. 'Their Secret Was' by Jalal al-Din Rumi
Their secret was this: That once every day, for
an hour, they treated each other as if they were
gods and would, with all their heart, do anything,
anything, their beloved desired.
4. 'Another of the Happiness Poems' by Peter Cooley
Look at your feet, now that your shoes are off.
You could be a duck,
no, duck-billed platypus,
your feet distraction from your ugly nose.
5. 'Darling Coffee' by Meena Alexander
The periodic pleasure
of small happenings
is upon us—
6. 'Slow Waltz Through Inflatable Landscape' by Christian Hawkey
It was a strange kiss. It was a beautiful kiss.
It seemed to last a long time.
It seemed to last a lifetime.
7 'A List of Praises' by Anne Porter
Give praise with water,
With storms of rain and thunder
And the small rains that sparkle as they dry,
And the faint floating ocean roar
That fills the seaside villages,
And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains