Stockholm
17 Nov, Sunday
8° C
TOP

Six Poems to Read When You’re Feeling Mentally Drained

In our fast-paced culture, it’s easy to experience burnout. If you are like me, you are constantly fighting against that ingrained “productivity” mindset that says we need to be working, creating and making money during every moment of our free time. Living in this state is not only terrible for our physical health, but it can also leave us feeling mentally and emotionally drained. 

 

In true self-care practice, the best way to combat this mentality is with a little rest, relaxation, self-reflection, and poetry. Below are six uplifting poems about happiness, hope, and appreciating the small joys in life, to read when you are feeling worn down or overworked. 

 

Happiness 

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.

 

And how can you not forgive?

You make a feast in honor of what

was lost, and take from its place the finest

garment, which you saved for an occasion

you could not imagine, and you weep night and day

to know that you were not abandoned,

that happiness saved its most extreme form

for you alone.

 

No, happiness is the uncle you never

knew about, who flies a single-engine plane

onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes

into town, and inquires at every door

until he finds you asleep midafternoon

as you so often are during the unmerciful

hours of your despair.

 

It comes to the monk in his cell.

It comes to the woman sweeping the street

with a birch broom, to the child

whose mother has passed out from drink.

It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing

a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,

and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots

in the night.

                     It even comes to the boulder

in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,

to rain falling on the open sea,

to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

 

Jane Kenyon 

 

Don’t Quit 

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low but the debts are high,

And you want to smile but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit…

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

 

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many failures turn about

When we might have won had we stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow…

You may succeed with another blow.

 

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

 

Success is failure turned inside out…

And you can never tell how close you are

It may be near when it seems so far.

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

 

Edgar A. Guest 

 

Darling Coffee 

The periodic pleasure

of small happenings

is upon us—

behind the stalls

at the farmer’s market

snow glinting in heaps,

a cardinal its chest

puffed out, bloodshod

above the piles of awnings,

passion’s proclivities;

you picking up a sweet potato

turning to me  ‘This too?’—

query of tenderness

under the blown red wing.

Remember the brazen world?

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.

 

Meena Alexander 

 

Morning Joy 

At night the wide and level stretch of wold,

Which at high noon had basked in quiet gold,

Far as the eye could see was ghostly white;

Dark was the night save for the snow’s weird light.

I drew the shades far down, crept into bed;

Hearing the cold wind moaning overhead

Through the sad pines, my soul, catching its pain,

Went sorrowing with it across the plain.

At dawn, behold! the pall of night was gone,

Save where a few shrubs melancholy, lone,

Detained a fragile shadow. Golden-lipped

The laughing grasses heaven’s sweet wine sipped.

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.

 

Claude McKay 

 

Hope is the thing with feathers (254) 

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

 

Emily Dickenson 

 

The Invitation 

It doesn’t interest me

what you do for a living.

I want to know

what you ache for

and if you dare to dream

of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me

how old you are.

I want to know

if you will risk

looking like a fool

for love

for your dream

for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me

what planets are

squaring your moon…

I want to know

if you have touched

the centre of your own sorrow

if have been opened

by life’s betrayals

or have become shrivelled and closed

from fear of further pain.

I want to know

if you can sit with pain

mine or your own

without moving to hide it

or fade it

or fix it.

I want to know

if you can be with joy

mine or your own

if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you

to the tips of your fingers and toes

without cautioning us

to be careful

to be realistic

to remember the limitations

of being human.

It doesn’t interest me

if the story you are telling me

is true.

I want to know if you can

disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear

the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless

and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty

every day.

And if you can source your own life

from its presence.

I want to know

if you can live with failure

yours and mine

and still stand at the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me

to know where you live

or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up

after the night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done

to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me

who you know

or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand

in the centre of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me

where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know

what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

I want to know

if you can be alone

with yourself

and if you truly like

the company you keep

in the empty moments.

 

Oriah Mountain Dreamer