Sad Poetry: The Kind That Won’t Get You Up in the Morning

sad poetryWhen you think of the phrase, “sad poetry,” it’s hard not to think of a sad love story or heartbreak. The basic construction of a poem provides a breeding ground for the expression of sadness.  Conveying sadness in fewer words than prose garners that much more impact. Understanding poetry , however, can be an uphill battle , as the poet’s message is oftentimes only discussed in the words and structure of their poems and seldom discussed afterwards.
When I think of the phrase, “sad poetry,” Sylvia Plath automatically comes to mind.  Her poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song” is a classic among sad poetry enthusiasts, especially those who have experienced love with some tragic ending. Let’s take a look…

by Sylvia Plath

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

Plath wrote this poem while a student at Smith College in 1951.  Understanding romantic poetry can be a bit daunting but from the looks of Plath’s poem here, tied with what we know about her personal struggle resulting in her own suicide, it appears this poem deals with love as well as her relationship with her mind. Plath was often quoted as stating how chaotic her thoughts were.  Here, this poem seems to be along those same lines but with a twist of love and potentially heartbreak

What Would this Article Be Without Edgar Allan Poe Poems?

Being the literary genius of the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe’s work is known for being very dark and sometimes sad. Here are a couple of poems that ring true to this characterization:

A Dream Within a Dream

By Edgar Allan Poe

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?


(Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/a-dream-within-a-dream-by-edgar-allan-poe#ixzz34BE1RuVx
Family Friend Poems )

Alone

By 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.


(Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/alone-by-edgar-allan-poe#ixzz34BKVln6e
Family Friend Poems)

There’s Plenty More Sadness to Share

The following are poems evoking sadness but yet still so lovely.

My Daughter’s Tears

by Annabel Sheila
Until it affects someone we love,
We don’t even know it’s there.
It’s really not our problem,
So why should we care.The statistics are quite shocking,
One in four they say
Will suffer from depression
In their lives one day.There’s not much stigma anymore
For this serious mental flaw.
But no one knows where it will strike,
It’s just the luck of the draw.No one would choose to live with it,
And some don’t even try.
I see my daughter suffering
And all she can do is cry.Most people turn the other cheek,
They’ve been doing it for years.
But I must face the pain I see,
In my daughter’s tears.

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/my-daughters-tears#ixzz34BLZC6UQ
Family Friend Poems 

Piano

by D. H. Lawrence

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings. 
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide. 
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamor
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

These poems capture the essence of longing, loss, nostalgia and the inevitable heartbreak of some kind.  Working through sad poetry of any kind is a dark yet beautiful experience for those so inclined