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Depression Poems

Table of Contents

  1. To fight aloud is very brave by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Bridge by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  3. Triumphalis by Bliss Carman
  4. Melancholia by Laurence Dunbar
  5. Alone by Sara Teasdale
  6. The Sum of Life by Ben King
  7. Hope and Despair by Arthur Weir
  8. Melancholy by Charles Swain
  9. XXI. The Pine and the Sea by Christopher Pearse Cranch
  10. Fragment 3: Come, come thou bleak December wind by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  11. Don't, My Boy, Feel Blue by William Henry Dawson
  12. A Halo by Kate Louise Wheeler
  13. Discontent by Jean Blewett
  14. Despair by Georgia Douglas Johnson

  1. To fight aloud is very brave

    by Emily Dickinson

    To fight aloud is very brave,
    But gallanter, I know,
    Who charge within the bosom,
    The cavalry of woe.

    Who win, and nations do not see,
    Who fall, and none observe,
    Whose dying eyes no country
    Regards with patriot love.

    We trust, in plumed procession,
    For such the angels go,
    Rank after rank, with even feet
    And uniforms of snow.

  2. The Bridge

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    I stood on the bridge at midnight,
    As the clocks were striking the hour,
    And the moon rose o'er the city,
    Behind the dark church tower.

    I saw her bright reflection
    In the waters under me,
    Like a golden goblet falling
    And sinking into the sea.

    And far in the hazy distance
    Of that lovely night in June,
    The blaze of the flaming furnace
    Gleamed redder than the moon.

    Among the long, black rafters
    The wavering shadows lay,
    And the current that came from the ocean
    Seemed to lift and bear them away;

    As, sweeping and eddying through them,
    Rose the belated tide,
    And, streaming into the moonlight,
    The seaweed floated wide.

    And like those waters rushing
    Among the wooden piers,
    A flood of thoughts came o'er me
    That filled my eyes with tears

    How often, oh, how often,
    In the days that had gone by,
    I had stood on that bridge at midnight
    And gazed on that wave and sky!

    How often, oh, how often,
    I had wished that the ebbing tide
    Would bear me away on its bosom
    O'er the ocean wild and wide.

    For my heart was hot and restless,
    And my life was full of care,
    And the burden laid upon me
    Seemed greater than I could bear.

    But now it has fallen from me,
    It is buried in the sea;
    And only the sorrow of others
    Throws its shadow over me.

    Yet, whenever I cross the river
    On its bridge with wooden piers,
    Like the odor of brine from the ocean
    Comes the thought of other years.

    And I think how many thousands
    Of care-encumbered men,
    Each bearing his burden of sorrow,
    Have crossed the bridge since then.

    I see the long procession
    Still passing to and fro,
    The young heart hot and restless,
    And the old, subdued and slow!

    And forever and forever,
    As long as the river flows,
    As long as the heart has passions,
    As long as life has woes;

    The moon and its broken reflection
    And its shadows shall appear
    As the symbol of love in heaven,
    And its wavering image here.

  3. Triumphalis

    by Bliss Carman

    Soul, art thou sad again
    With the old sadness?
    Thou shalt be glad again
    With a new gladness,
    When April sun and rain
    Mount to the teeming brain
    With the earth madness.

    When from the mould again,
    Spurning disaster,
    Spring shoots unfold again,
    Follow thou faster
    Out of the drear domain
    Of dark, defeat, and pain,
    Praising the Master.

    Hope for thy guide again,
    Ample and splendid;
    Love at thy side again,
    All doubting ended;
    (Ah, by the dragon slain,
    For nothing small or vain
    Michael contended!)

    Thou shalt take heart again,
    No more despairing;
    Play thy great part again,
    Loving and caring.
    Hark, how the gold refrain
    Runs through the iron strain,
    Splendidly daring!

    Thou shalt grow strong again,
    Confident, tender,—
    Battle with wrong again,
    Be truth's defender,—
    Of the immortal train,
    Born to attempt, attain,
    Never surrender!

  4. Melancholia

    by Laurence Dunbar

    Silently without my window,
    Tapping gently at the pane,
    Falls the rain.
    Through the trees sighs the breeze
    Like a soul in pain.
    Here alone I sit and weep;
    Thought hath banished sleep.

    Wearily I sit and listen
    To the water's ceaseless drip.
    To my lip
    Fate turns up the bitter cup,
    Forcing me to sip;
    'Tis a bitter, bitter drink,
    Thus I sit and think, —

    Thinking things unknown and awful,
    Thoughts on wild, uncanny themes,
    Waking dreams.
    Spectres dark, corpses stark,
    Show the gaping seams
    Whence the cold and cruel knife
    Stole away their life.

    Bloodshot eyes all strained and staring,
    Gazing ghastly into mine;
    Blood like wine
    On the brow — clotted now—
    Shows death's dreadful sign.
    Lonely vigil still I keep;
    Would that I might sleep!

    Still, oh, still, my brain is whirling!
    Still runs on my stream of thought;
    I am caught
    In the net fate hath set.
    Mind and soul are brought
    To destruction's very brink;
    Yet I can but think!

    Eyes that look into the future, —
    Peeping forth from out my mind,
    They will find
    Some new weight, soon or late,
    On my soul to bind,
    Crushing all its courage out,—
    Heavier than doubt.

    Dawn, the Eastern monarch's daughter,
    Rising from her dewy bed,
    Lays her head
    'Gainst the clouds' sombre shrouds
    Now half fringed with red.
    O'er the land she 'gins to peep;
    Come, O gentle Sleep!

    Hark! the morning cock is crowing;
    Dreams, like ghosts, must hie away;
    'Tis the day.
    Rosy morn now is born;
    Dark thoughts may not stay.
    Day my brain from foes will keep;
    Now, my soul, I sleep.

  5. Alone

    by Sara Teasdale

    I am alone, in spite of love,
    In spite of all I take and give—
    In spite of all your tenderness,
    Sometimes I am not glad to live.

    I am alone, as though I stood
    On the highest peak of the tired gray world,
    About me only swirling snow,
    Above me, endless space unfurled;

    With earth hidden and heaven hidden,
    And only my own spirit's pride
    To keep me from the peace of those
    Who are not lonely, having died.

  6. The Sum of Life

    by Ben King

    Nothing to do but work,
    Nothing to eat but food,
    Nothing to wear but clothes
    To keep one from going nude.

    Nothing to breathe but air,
    Quick as a flash 't is gone;
    Nowhere to fall but off,
    Nowhere to stand but on.

    Nothing to comb but hair,
    Nowhere to sleep but in bed,
    Nothing to weep but tears,
    Nothing to bury but dead.

    Nothing to sing but songs,
    Ah, well, alas! alack!
    Nowhere to go but out,
    Nowhere to come but back.

    Nothing to see but sights,
    Nothing to quench but thirst,
    Nothing to have but what we've got;
    Thus through life we are cursed.

    Nothing to strike but a gait;
    Everything moves that goes.
    Nothing at all but common sense
    Can ever withstand these woes.

  7. Hope and Despair

    by Arthur Weir

    You love the sun and the languid breeze
    That gently kisses the rosebud's lips,
    And delight to see
    How the dainty bee,
    Stilling his gauze-winged melodies
    Into the lily's chalice dips.

    I love the wind that unceasing roars,
    While cringe the trees from its wrath in vain,
    And the lightning-flash,
    And the thunder-crash,
    And skies, from whose Erebus depths outpours
    In slanting drifts the autumnal rain.

    You sigh to find that the time is here
    When leaves are falling from bush and tree;
    When the flowerets sweet
    Die beneath our feet,
    And feebly totters the dying year
    Into the mists of eternity.

    To me the autumn is never drear,
    It bears the glory of hopes fulfilled.
    Though the flowers be dead,
    There are seeds instead,
    That, with the spring of the dawning year,
    With life will find all their being thrilled.

    You tread the wood, and the wind behold
    Tear down the leaves from the crackling bough
    Till they make a pall,
    As they thickly fall,
    To hide dead flowers. The air seems cold,
    No summer gladdens the forest now.

    I tread the maze of the changing wood,
    And though no light through the maples plays,
    Yet they glow each one,
    Like a rose-red sun,
    And drop their leaves, like a glittering flood
    Of warm sunbeams, in the woodland ways.

    Poor human heart, in the year of life
    All seasons are, and it rests with thee
    To enjoy them all,
    Or to drape a pall
    O'er withered hopes, and to be at strife
    With things that are, and no brightness see.

  8. Melancholy

    by Charles Swain

    Under the cypress shade
    Near the wild holly,
    Where her last hope is laid,
    Mourns Melancholy;
    All voices weary now—
    All pleasures tire her;
    Love cannot charm her brow—
    Music inspire her!
    No, 'neath the cypress shade,
    By the wild holly,
    Where her last hope is laid,
    Mourns Melancholy.

    Still in the stars she reads
    Sorrow and parting;
    Still on the future feeds—
    Drinks the tears starting:
    Come, list the music light—
    See, fairies tripping!
    Gay nymphs o'er garlands bright
    Sporting and skipping!—
    No, 'neath the cypress shade
    Near the wild holly,
    Where her last hope is laid,
    Mourns Melancholy.

  9. XXI. The Pine and the Sea

    by Christopher Pearse Cranch

    Beyond the low marsh-meadows and the beach,
    Seen through the hoary trunks of windy pines,
    The long blue level of the ocean shines.
    The distant surf, with hoarse, complaining speech,
    Out from its sandy barrier seems to reach;
    And while the sun behind the woods declines,
    The moaning sea with sighing boughs combines,
    And waves and pines make answer, each to each.
    O melancholy soul, whom far and near,
    In life, faith, hope, the same sad undertone
    Pursues from thought to thought! thou needs must hear
    An old refrain, too much, too long thine own:
    'T is thy mortality infects thine ear;
    The mournful strain was in thyself alone.

  10. Don't, My Boy, Feel Blue

    by William Henry Dawson

    Sometimes one feels as if he'd lost
    His last and dearest friend;
    And that a bare existence costs
    More than one has to spend.
    Should such a feeling ever take
    Possession, boy, of you,
    Strain every nerve its chain to break,
    And don't, my boy, feel blue.

    No matter if the cold should drop
    Below the thirty line;
    Don't fume, and fret, and scold, but stop
    And smile, and say "it's fine."
    Behind each cloud, however dense,
    There is a silver hue;
    Then exercise your common sense,
    And don't, my boy, feel blue.

    Or if beneath the scorching rays
    Of summer's sun you're called
    To walk, rough shod, plain duty's ways,
    Until footsore and galled,
    Go right along with patient tread,
    And whate'er else you do,
    Keep a right heart and level head,
    And don't, my boy, feel blue.

    For every man who does his best,
    According to the light
    That God has placed within his breast,
    Is right—most surely right.
    And when that little silent guide
    Tells you that what you do
    Is right, you may in him confide,
    And don't, my boy, feel blue.

    The great highway that skyward leads,
    Goes not through vice and crime;
    Its steps are just the little deeds
    Performed, each hour of time.
    Be sure, then, that each act is right,
    And each heartbeat is true;
    Then you will find each day so bright
    'Twill dissipate the blue.

  11. A Halo

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    No mortal can unhappy be
    Who lives for other's good,
    And takes an interest in the lives
    Of happy brother-hood.

    Depression that destroys the mind
    Will thereby disappear,
    And gloom will all be swept away
    In radiant atmosphere.

  12. Discontent

    by Jean Blewett

    My soul spoke low to Discontent:
    Long hast thou lodged with me,
    Now, ere the strength of me is spent,
    I would be quit of thee.

    Thy presence means revolt, unrest,
    Means labor, longing, pain;
    Go, leave me, thou unwelcome guest,
    Nor trouble me again.

    I longed for peace—for peace I cried;
    You would not let her in;
    No room was there for aught beside
    The turmoil and the din.

    I longed for rest, prayed life might yield
    Soft joy and dear delight;
    You urged me to the battlefield,
    And flung me in the fight.

    We two part company to-day.
    Now, ere my strength be spent,
    I open wide my doors and say:
    "Begone, thou Discontent!"

    Then something strong and sweet and fair
    Rose up and made reply:
    Who gave you the desire to dare
    And do the right? 'Twas I.

    The coward soul craves pleasant things,
    Soft joys and dear delights—
    I scourged you till you spread your wings
    And soared to nobler heights.

    You know me but imperfectly—
    My surname is Divine;
    God's own right hand did prison me
    Within this soul of thine,

    Lest thou, forgetting work and strife,
    By human longings prest,
    Shouldst miss the grandest things of life,
    Its battles and unrest.

  13. Despair

    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

    The curtains of twilight are drawn in the west
    And vespers are sweet on the air,
    While I, through my leafless, ungarlanded way
    But pause at the gates of despair.

    Good-bye to the hopes that were never fulfilled,
    Good-bye to the fond dreams that failed,
    Good-bye to my dead that has never been born,
    Good-bye to love's ship that ne'er sailed.

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