Poetry can overwhelm our senses with emotion. Words and sentences have power, and when they are connected together in thought-provoking ways through the elegance of a poem, they can stir us to connect the subject of the poem to our own circumstances. In this way, poetry can make us feel united with something larger than our own thoughts and feelings. It can take us on a journey and allow us to fully feel what we long to feel.
In moments of nostalgia, loss, heartbreak or joy….a poem can reaffirm our moods and make us feel as though we are not alone in the world.
Here are some poems identified by mood that might express how you are feeling today:
If you are feeling restless:
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.
All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.
My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.
If you are feeling nostalgic:
When You Are Old
By William Butler Yeats
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
If you’re feeling rebellious:
By Saeed Jones
I won’t be forgiven
for what I’ve made of myself.
Soil recoils from my hooked kisses.
Pines turn their backs on me.
They know what I can do
with the wrap of my legs.
Each summer, when the air becomes crowded with want,
I set all my tongues upon you.
To quiet this body, you must answer my tendrilled craving.
All I’ve ever wanted was to kiss crevices, pry them open,
and flourish within dew-slick hollows.
How you mistake my affection.
And if I ever strangled sparrows,
it was only because I dreamed of better songs.
If you are feeling heartbroken:
A Well-Worn Story
By Dorothy Parker
In April, in April,
My one love came along,
And I ran the slope of my high hill
To follow a thread of song.
His eyes were hard as porphyry
With looking on cruel lands;
His voice went slipping over me
Like terrible silver hands.
Together we trod the secret lane
And walked the muttering town.
I wore my heart like a wet, red stain
On the breast of a velvet gown.
In April, in April,
My love went whistling by,
And I stumbled here to my high hill
Along the way of a lie.
Now what should I do in this place
But sit and count the chimes,
And splash cold water on my face
And spoil a page with rhymes?
If you’re feeling joyful:
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
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;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.