Though you may have spent your fair share of time reading poems that help you feel all the feels, it is important to cherish your good moods — and to remember that reading certain poems might actually make you feel better. (I'm not necessarily talking about bibliotherapy, but if you want to dive down an interesting rabbit hole, Ceridwen Dovey's piece in The New Yorker, "Can Reading Make You Happier" offers some tantalizing possibilities ...)
We all know that reading, in general, is pretty much pastime equivalent of a superfood, something like kale or sauerkraut that's just a few steps away in your very own garden (or , er, fermentation jar). A study by the University of Liverpool's Centre for Research into Reading, Literature, and Society "found that books can have the power to encourage us to make life changing decisions, with 27 per cent of people reporting that a book has inspired them to make a change such as look for a new job, or end a bad relationship."
It stands to reason that if books can facilitate these kinds of empowering choices, poems can do the same, too. Of course, there's nothing wrong with turning to a poem when you just need a smile, a pick-me-up, or a laugh. In fact, these seven should do the trick, regardless.
'What Is' by Jeffrey Yang
Under a white oak
two children sitting back
to back on a plank swing, calling
'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.
'Happiness' by Raymond Carver
So early it's almost still dark out.
I'm at the window with coffee,
and the usual morning stuff
that passes for thought.
'Happiness' by Paisley Rekdal
a beautiful garden, all abundance,
indiscriminate, pulling itself
from the stubborn earth
'Morning Joy' by Claude McKay
The sun rose smiling o’er the river’s breast,
And my soul, by his happy spirit blest,
Soared like a bird to greet him in the sky,
And drew out of his heart Eternity.
'Darling Coffee' by Meena Alexander
Let’s find a room
with a window onto elms
strung with sunlight,
a cafe with polished cups
'Their Secret Was' by Jalal al-Din Rumi
Sometimes that just meant holding hands and
walking in a forest that renewed their souls.