This article explores different poems about anxiety.
It is worth noting that anxiety is prevalent and that there are ways of handling it. Many individuals have anxious times, but the fear, concern, and tension wouldn’t go anywhere if you have an anxiety disorder. With time, they can also increase.
We are reminded that poetry can enable us to deal with changing truths and evaluate the uncertainties ahead when significant parts of our lives seem to transform in a blink. Poetry can depict our emotions when we venture into unexplored terrain, individually or collectively. It can, alongside our attributes, share our weaknesses and scars.
- What kind of times are these – Adrienne Rich
There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.
I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem; this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.
I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.
And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.
Rich explains in this poem the effort to convey anxiety to somebody who doesn’t know or comprehend. In her words, she tries her utmost to convey the idea: she sketches daunting woods, reflecting her anxiety and all that causes her anxiety around her in the world and nation.
Instead of highlighting the entirety of her depression and anxiety, she illustrates how she’ll address pieces of it, the parts that are relatable to the reader and not anxiety-inducing in their own right.
Rich depicts how it feels for somebody who might not have encountered it to attempt to explain depression and anxiety. This one is possibly the best one to describe such a scenario for all her sorrowful poems and to encapsulate the feelings and disappointments that emerge while attempting to explain depression and anxiety for someone who’s never experienced it.
- Hamatreya – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint,
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool, and wood.
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm,
Saying, “‘ Tis mine, my children’s and my name’s.
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees!
How graceful climb those shadows on my hill!
I fancy these pure waters and the flags
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize;
And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.”
Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds:
And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough.
Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.
They added ridge to valley, brook to pond,
And sighed for all that bounded their domain;
“This suits me for a pasture; that’s my park;
We must have clay, lime, gravel, granite-ledge,
And misty lowland, where to go for peat.
The land is well,—lies fairly to the south.
‘ Tis good, when you have crossed the sea and back,
To find the sitfast acres where you left them.”
Ah! the hot owner sees not Death, who adds
Him to his land, a lump of mould the more.
Hear what the Earth say:—
“Mine and yours;
Mine, not yours.
Shine down in the old sea;
Old are the shores;
But where are old men?
I who have seen much,
Such have I never seen.
“The lawyer’s deed
To them and to their heirs
Who shall succeed,
“Here is the land,
Shaggy with wood,
With its old valley,
Mound and flood.
But the heritors?—
Fled like the flood’s foam.
The lawyer and the laws,
And the kingdom,
Clean swept herefrom.
“They called me theirs,
Who so controlled me;
Yet every one
Wished to stay, and is gone,
How am I theirs,
If they cannot hold me,
But I hold them?”
When I heard the Earth-song
I was no longer brave;
My avarice cooled
Like lust in the chill of the grave.
This lengthy poem by Emerson is a tale. Here in the context of pointlessness, the themes of death poetry and poems of nature merge to catch the core of anxiety and deliver a sliver of optimism.
There are five key roles in the poem’s plot, four of which are men and one of which is the Earth herself.
The poet explains the work and effort that men are doing to hold themselves alive and prosperous, without ever believing that the Earth will retrieve them and all the farms and riches they have been working to create.
Emerson almost ridicules the certainty of men that what they “have” is theirs. Then amid the poem, we hear that the men were dead, and all they were fretting about will have been for nothing. The Earth itself speaks about how all things revert to existence in answer to the reality that the owner does not see Death.”
In the middle of his reflections on the pointlessness of attempting to accumulate wealth and the immense uncertainty lurking in each individual’s life, Emerson offers a glimmer of hope by pointing out that life will progress. While much in our lives seem to be anxiously grabbing things that are not going to last, there are also greater things that are going to stay determined.
- Everyone Gasps with Anxiety – Jeni Olin
The new aspirin is a blue-blooded Burberry model
With an Oxford classics degree, but my migraine
Flares beneath a canopy of melanoma-blurring sun
What pains me is the plain human tangle on the L.I.E.
And feeling the tricyclics fail me beneath the canopy of melanoma-blurring sun
And the long pressed-out El Greco bodies stretched
Liked colorless taffy in the studio and At the Night the States Have Ruined Me.
Steroid weight gleams off my heart like a chubby Aaron Basha jewelry foot
A poem that says “Reinvent the vomitorium!”
And At Night the States have ruined me. I can persuade him
To be alive and living in hotel rooms is dehumanizing.
Inside of this I’m passing out
From bravery, dyspepsia, the Boy with an Arab Strap
In fluttering tremolo, the way an air of tremor lives in some bordeauxs but
Like the Hamptoms rising from the pollutions mist—
Something so Anglo-Saxon refusing to die or bonnet its frailty
In layers of preservatives. Please somebody peel me dreamlessly aback
To inhabit fleshly then brittle climates like a Giacometti fever dream
In this poem, to both reflect and describe the origin of her depression and anxiety, Olin uses consumerist society’s imagery. She mentions the emotions of loneliness, even though accompanied by the others. Even though engulfed by all the accouterments of luxury, she speaks about becoming awkward. In this poem, a lot of individuals dealing with social anxiety will resonate with those images.
While Olin doesn’t wrap up on a notably optimistic note, she can figure out what has control when she doesn’t. She understands that the capitalist culture around her does much more, perhaps more than she could to guide her own life. She wishes to be away from this, but she can’t, so she’s happy to settle down in her place for a “fever dream.”
- To Our Land – Mahmoud Darwish
To our land,
and it is the one near the word of god,
a ceiling of clouds
To our land,
and it is the one far from the adjectives of nouns,
the map of absence
To our land,
and it is the one tiny as a sesame seed,
a heavenly horizon … and a hidden chasm
To our land,
and it is the one poor as a grouse’s wings,
holy books … and an identity wound
To our land,
and it is the one surrounded with torn hills,
the ambush of a new past
To our land, and it is a prize of war,
the freedom to die from longing and burning
and our land, in its bloodied night,
is a jewel that glimmers for the far upon the far
and illuminates what’s outside it …
As for us, inside,
we suffocate more!
Darwish describes “our land,” his home Palestine, as a region both glorious and damaged in this compelling poem. He discusses both the splendor and the anguish that envelops him, and he talks about how forces outside of the country are accountable for their destiny. He wrote several new poems to try and describe his battle with anxiety in the middle of a war.
At the conclusion of the poem, he flips the attention internally and extends all that he has stated about the land to himself. He explains how inside, / we suffocate more!” even if there is turmoil outside. Here though, feeling unable to alter it, he depicts what it’s like to be nervous about what is happening around him. To create an image of his own internal depression and anxiety, he cited the example of his land and his immediate environment.
- To be, or not be, that is the question (from Hamlet) – Shakespeare.
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovere’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.
In the English language, this is presumably one of the greatest works, and it focuses very evidently on the subject of anxiety. This sad poem is a significant part of Hamlet, Shakespeare’s play, and the main protagonist lays bare the whole of his depression and anxiety throughout this soliloquy. He discusses the troubles of choosing as to if life or death is best and whether the afterlife is better than the life he is dealing with today.
The entire speech captures the fear of the uncertain and the distress induced by the world around him with no or little real control. In a place of high authority, even when he is the heir to the throne, he does not have control over all the situations that govern his life. This induces him anxiety and depression, and in Hamlet’s soliloquy, Shakespeare portrayed those emotions beautifully.
Of course, although reading about another’s’ poetic experiences with anxiety is inspiring, it is indeed essential to approach anxiety head-on. Please start taking the next move if you face distress and need someone to speak to and consult a therapist or counselor to support you. Reading a poem about anxiety will help you feel noticed and understood if you are dealing with anxiety.
This article has listed a selection of poems if you battle with anxiety or anxiety seems too much at times, which hopefully will offer you comfort and support. Realize that if you deal with anxiety, you are not alone.
This article explores different poems about anxiety.
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FAQ: Anxiety poems
What causes anxiety?
Extreme anxiety can be caused by a major incident or a build-up of minor stressful events, such as a loved one’s death, job stress, or ongoing financial concern. People with some forms of personality are more vulnerable to anxiety disorders than others.
Can anxiety be cured?
Anxiety disorders react quite well and sometimes in a brief period to treatment. The precise approach to treatment depends on the nature of anxiety disorder and its intensity. But in general, with counseling, medications, or a mix of the two, most anxiety disorders are treated.
Do I have an anxiety disorder or just anxiety?
Before a test, most individuals are on the verge, but a person with an anxiety disorder would be nervous many weeks ahead of time and may suffer severe symptoms just before and during the test. Natural anxiety is often fleeting if there is an active anxiety disorder, and the symptoms can last for days or weeks.
Drake, W. (2018, October 18). Poems About Anxiety To Help You Relax. Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/anxiety/poems-about-anxiety-to-help-you-relax/
Poems of Anxiety and Uncertainty. (n.d.). Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/collections/101584/poems-of-anxiety-and-uncertainty
Shakespeare, W. (n.d.). Speech: “To be, or not to be, that is the… Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56965/speech-to-be-or-not-to-be-that-is-the-question
Top 9 Poems About Anxiety. (2020, May 27). Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.regain.us/advice/anxiety/top-9-poems-about-anxiety/
Rich, A. (n.d.). What Kind of Times Are These by Adrienne Rich. Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/51092/what-kind-of-times-are-these
Emerson, R. (n.d.). Hamatreya by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52341/hamatreya
Everyone Gasps with Anxiety by Jeni Olin – Poems | Academy of American Poets. (n.d.). Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://poets.org/poem/everyone-gasps-anxiety
Darwish, M. (n.d.). To Our Land by Mahmoud Darwish. Retrieved December 02, 2020, from