Depression hits everyone at some point in time. Whether it is from the death of a family member, the end of a relationship or other elements in a person’s life, there really is no end to what causes a person to feel depressed. Poets are some of the best at creating artistic verbiage at how they feel, and with so many going through depression at some point in their life, depression poems become a common element in modern and historical poetry. due to this, there really are some great depression poems, if you can call something great when it revolves around such a difficult topic. However, these are some poems about depression, written by some of the best poets in the world.
Edgar Allan Poe
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
Edgar Allan Poe always had a way with words, which is what made him one of the greatest poets to ever put pen to parchment. In this poem, he talks about what some individuals experience in life he did not, and how it weighs him down, which in turn causes him to miss out on other important moments in his life. The poem about depression illustrates how depression can prevent someone from actually experiencing some of the great moments in their life because they are sad about previous events that have forced them into depression.
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
In this poem, Edwin Arlington Robinson focuses on the aspect that depression can affect anyone. Money is not something that buys happiness and even those individuals who have substantial wealth often suffer from depression. In this depression poem, Richard Cory has everything in the world, from money to admiration and education, yet it did not make him happy, which caused him to commit suicide. It really is one of the sad depressing poems (most depression poems are rather sad), but it highlights the important notion that depression may affect any individual out there.
The Man He Killed
Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!
But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.
I shot him dead because—
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That’s clear enough; although
He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,
Off-hand like—just as I—
Was out of work—had sold his traps—
No other reason why.
Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You’d treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.
This poem looks like an individual simply went out and killed another individual due to the two not agreeing with one another. This, however, is not exactly true. The poem is actually about the author, who did not like part of himself and would often argue with himself. He did not like what the other side did, which is why he ultimately killed himself in order to kill the side he did not like. Of course, in order to end the other side he did not like, he ultimately ended himself as well.
Edgar Allen Poe
A Dream Within a Dream
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Poe wrote probably dozens of poems over the years regarding depression, and these depressed poems often reflect his internal feelings at the time. in A Dream Within A Dream, Poe describes his feelings due to simple time passing and comparing his time passing to that of a dream. He wants to be able to hold onto certain moments, but it just is not possible to do. In the end, he ultimately questions life itself and wonders if life is nothing more than another dream.
Robert Williams Service
Three times I had the lust to kill,
To clutch a throat so young and fair,
And squeeze with all my might until
No breath of being lingered there.
Three times I drove the demon out,
Though on my brow was evil sweat. . . .
And yet I know beyond a doubt
He’ll get me yet, he’ll get me yet.
I know I’m mad, I ought to tell
The doctors, let them care for me,
Confine me in a padded cell
And never, never set me free;
But Oh how cruel that would be!
For I am young – and comely too . . .
Yet dim my demon I can see,
And there is but one thing to do.
Three times I beat the foul fiend back;
The fourth, I know he will prevail,
And so I’ll seek the railway track
And lay my head upon the rail,
And sight the dark and distant train,
And hear its thunder louder roll,
Coming to crush my cursed brain . . .
Oh God, have mercy on my soul!
This is one of the poems about the great depression someone might fall into, should sadness and hatred fill them up. In the poem, it is about an individual who has a very dark side and, ultimately, decides to kill another individual simply because they do not like them. They have thought about killing the person and they have dreamed about killing the person, but, ultimately, they are unable to do it but cannot live with the desire to kill the individual, so, ultimately, the individual decides to kill himself, deciding it the better of the outcome than living with such hate.
There are all sorts of different poems out there about depression and suicide. Just about every great poet has touched on the subject at some point in time, as almost every poet has gone through the feeling of depression in their life. However, depression is not a death sentence and it is possible to move past this sort of situation, although they might need some help from a close friend or family member to work through the situation.