Dark Raincouver nights. Week after week of essays. A never-ending list of obligations. Whether you’re taking double shifts at work, crunching to meet a word count or studying into the wee hours of the morning for midterms, it’s important to take a quiet moment for yourself however you need to.

Here are some small bites of poetry to get you through those dark, gloomy days. A few words of encouragement, a phrase to resolve your existential crisis, or just a beautiful, brief verse — sometimes literature can keep us going even when copious amounts of caffeine cannot.


1. “O Me! O Life!” by Walt Whitman

“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring — What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Source: Poetry Foundation

 

2. “You are tired (I think)” by e.e. cummings

“You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away…

… To be nobody — but yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

Source: Columbia University

 

3. “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.”

Source: Poetry Foundation

 

4. “February” by Margaret Atwood

 

“February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.”

Source: Poetry Foundation

 

 

5. “Two Poems” by Lee Maracle

 

“These murmurs lighten the burden of being
in this our grand entry into the world of shadow, of light
at times too bright, in folds too dark

wondering without knowing, looking not seeing.
breath sparks up courage
to listen and sing back

Everything begins with song”

Source: The Puritan

 

 

6. “A Blessing” by James Wright

“I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.”

Source: Poetry Foundation


Kristine is an English Literature and Psychology double major at UBC. She is passionate about science journalism, mental health, all kinds of art, and diverse representation in media. When she’s not glasses-deep in projects, Kristine enjoys listening to falling rain, inventing bad puns for unlikely scenarios, and cultivating her coffee snobbery.


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