5 of the Most depressing poems

In this post, “ most depressing poems” will be discussed, a brief introduction about depression and its signs and symptoms, some of the most depressing poems and then some FAQs related to the topic. 

Most depressing poems are:

  • “Complaint”,  Thomas Hoccleve
  • Henry Howard, “ The Soote Season”
  • William Shakespeare, “ Sonnet 29”
  • John Keats, “ Ode on Melancholy”
  • Poems of Gitanjali, Gitanjali Ghei


Depression is a mood disorder that is often called Unipolar Depression or Major Depressive Disorder. It is one of the most common and prevalent mental disorders.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), the two key symptoms of Depression are Depressed mood and the loss of pleasure and interest, Anhedonia during the same 2-week period. Apart from these two symptoms, Depressive patients also undergo other symptoms such as insomnia and hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation, loss of energy, worthlessness, diminished ability to think and concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation. 


Poem is a type of literature that is based on words and rhythm. It evokes certain imaginative awareness of emotional responses as well as experience through the language used and arranged with its sound, rhythm and meaning.

Poem is also defined as the collection of words that are used to express emotions and ideas, with or without rhythm. Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Some of the sign and symptoms associated with Depression are

  • Depressed and Low mood
  • Anhedonia
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Worthlessness and Helplessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Thoughts on ending life
  • Difficulty in sleep
  • Irritability and Agitation
  • Fluctuation in appetite
  • Difficulty in decision making.
  • Diurnal Mood
  • Significant weight loss
  • Lost motivation
  • Loss of energy

Natural treatments for Depression

There are different treatments for depression other than therapy, medication and counselling. And these are found to be effective combating the depressive symptoms. Natural treatments for depression includes:

  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Relaxation techniques and training
  • Arts
  • Catharsis
  • Listening to soothing and calming music
  • Breathing technique and deep breathing
  • Reading
  • Stretching 

Depression and Poem

It is known that writing poems is an emotional expression that heals the depressive symptoms undergoing by the individual with depression as well as breaks the stigma and taboo associated with depression.

People find it easier to vent out their emotions through such creative works or expression than to share it via dialogue or direct writings.

With this writing, readers, as well as the receiver, find it easier to understand their journey and to develop empathy for their journey and struggle.

Poems are believed to be thought-provoking and eye-catchy enabling the readers to relate with it and feel the pain.

Those who write poems find it easier to cope up despite the prevailing treatments including both medications and therapies.

Apart from writing poems, reading itself can have a significant impact on the mood and the stress level of an individual. Researchers have also found the effectiveness of reading on stress levels.  Silent reading for about 6mintues each day can reduce the heart rate of an individual, ease the muscle tension and also elevate the mood of the person. 

People reported that writing poems actually help them realise and remind them that they are not alone in this journey and others can relate to it. 

Thus, poetry can be of great help and healing for a person battling with depression because of the following reasons:

  • It distracts them from disturbing thoughts and feelings
  • For emotion ventilation
  • Allows the reader to relate to the feelings and sufferings
  • An effective and healthy coping mechanism of the depressive symptoms.
  • It helps the person to get better and a release of emotions.

Poems on Depression

Poets have addressed different topics of depression in their poetry work including the melancholic, the symptoms of anhedonia, loss of interest etc. Some of the widely known work on depression are:

“Complaint”,  Thomas Hoccleve

Hoccleve was not well known like his contemporary, however, his work “ Complaint” in the medieval period documented his suffering of Seasonal Affective Disorder, where the dark autumn after the harvest has brought in a sense of isolation and loneliness.

Henry Howard, “ The Soote Season”

It is one of the first English sonnets ever written in English however it is not that well known for many. The theme of the poem deals with the coming of summer and the transition from the state of hibernation to springing into a new life.

Despite the general trend of people falling into depressive symptoms during winter and autumn, this work narrates about the sorrows and suffers from depression during spring and early summer days.

William Shakespeare, “ Sonnet 29”

The content of the Sonnet deals with the feeling of gratefulness and gratitude and the experience of being in love. The focus was also on counting the blessings around and feeling thankful.

John Keats, “ Ode on Melancholy”

This work of Keats was widely celebrated and known. The theme is centralised on advice that was given when depression hits. Rather than opting for substance use and doing drugs when depressed, he focused on the seeking beauty and admiration of mother nature to battle with depression. Another theme of his work is on the finite beauty of everything around us and consequently reminding oneself that nothing stays forever and beyond. 

The poem deals with the combating of depression by focusing and appreciating the beauty of nature that we are surrounded with.

Alone, Edgar Allan Poe

The poem “ Alone” unveils the journey of Poe’s orphanage upbringing, the feeling of being lonely and alone battling with the emotional and psychological isolation and social solitude. His drug use and being an alcoholic took away his life early. So, the poem in an overview illustrates loneliness that is associated with depression and the feeling of disconnection. 

“It was not death, for I stood up”, Emily Dickinson

This poem uncovers the feeling of depression and despair underwent by the poet. It describes the feeling of lying close to death, but not death. She also talks about the loss of all feelings and colours when battling with depression. Most of her works laid their emphasis on death and darkness. The poem also focuses on how people evaluate their thoughts when depressed to understand the reasons behind it. 

Christina Rossetti, “ Shut Out”

The things that we lose attain or earn a value worth more than their actual value and our craving for things that we lose but also for the things that we can have are the central theme of the poem. That’s the definition of Melancholic as per the poet’s experience and also focus on the inbuilt or the ingrained ability of people to seek substitution for the things that were left behind and are no longer in their control. 

“Tarry, delight, so seldom met”, A. E Housman

This poem narrates the feeling of heartbreak as well as melancholy in a beautiful way. Another theme of the poem is on the transience of happiness and the understanding that it will leave us, however, our never-ending struggle of getting a hold on it.

“Aubade”, Philip Larkin

The poem is on Larkin’s way of realising about death and how every morning during the dawn he keeps the thoughts of death close to him. It also has an underlying meaning that one can extract creative and great artwork despite the overpowering negative and dark mood.

“ Tulips” Sylvia Plath

“Tulips” was based on the theme of blackness as well as emptiness. She describes giving up her clothes to nurses, her history to the anaesthetist and her body for the surgeons; these have an underlying meaning of desolation. The basic idea behind this symbolism was to provide a picture of the depressive state and their world deprived of meaning and feelings.

Mentioned above are the most popular and widely known poetry works with the underlying theme of depression. The poets had journalled their experience and journey of undergoing depressive episodes and their feelings.

Most Depressing Poem: Poems of Gitanjali, Gitanjali Ghei

Gitajali was a 16 year girl from Meerut. She was diagnosed with cancer in Mumbai and had succumbed to it. During her journey, she had written several poems reflecting her pain, struggle as well as solitude expereince. 

Her poems were all dark and depressing that uncover the lived experience and mental state of the cancer patient. 

One of her poem was Farewell my Friends:



My friends

I smile and

Bid you goodbye

No, shed no tears

For I need them not

All I need is your smile.

If you feel sad

Do think of me

For that’s what I’ll like

When you live in the hearts

Of those you love

Remember then…

You never die.

Bi Polar Depression and Poem

Bi Polar mood disorder is a type of mood disorder where depression is a significant symptom. Those who are diagnosed with bipolar experience both high and low in the mood. 

Two of the greatest poets who suffered from Bi Polar Depression and put their feelings and journey in their work are Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Path.

Virginia Woolf

She lived through the phase of world war and was known for her exceptional writing on a depression poem titled “ Angels” in 1919. Her work mentioned illnesses that don’t completely define a person. Apart from the episodes of melancholic and depression that were noted in her work, she also mentioned the pleasure, joy and the jolly moment of life. 

Sylvia Path

She shares her depressive episodes and experience with her poem “ Tulips” which is a descriptive piece of poetry where she wrote about the feeling of being in depression and emptiness. 

Another theme of the poem was her lifelong experience and the struggle between two extreme forces that are life and death. Throughout the writing, she wrote about feeling and the experience of being inanimate through the depiction of a tulip.

Ernest Hemingway

He was a novelist and a poet who suffered from an undiagnosed depression. HIs depression source can be traced back to his service during World War 1. Most of his works centralised and revolved around the theme of tragic and traumatic incidents that were experienced during the war period. Despite that, his work also highlighted the joy and sorrow experienced in everyday life.

Poets diagnosed with Depression and Mania 

Manic is known for unreasonable euphoric, intense mood, hyperactivity and delusion. Bi Polar Disorders also exhibit such symptoms of manic.

Anne Sexton

Her poetry is personal and exclusively deals with troubled relationships caused by depression and mania. “ The Fury of Rainstorms”, her poem, deals with the unique ability that she has to deal with the inner turmoil of depression. The concluding remark of the poem was laid on her self-reflection and with some humor. 

FAQs: Most depressing poems

What is the saddest poem ever written?

Spring and Fall by Gerard Manley Hopkin written in 1880 is believed to be the saddest poem ever written.

What is a sad poem called?

Elegy. Poems can express different types of emotions and sad poems are known as Elegies that express lamnet.

Is Poetry good for depression?

Yes, poetry can be a great healing to the writer as well as to the reader. 

What is a dark poem?

Dark poems are those poems with negative themes in a poetic way. It is often linked with horror genres as well as cultural-fashion subculture in society. 

Which is the longest poem in the world?

Mahabharata is the longest poem ever written in history.

How do you write a depressing poem?

First way to write a depressing poem is to brainstorm the idea or an emotion that can be set as a theme for the poem.

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.


In this post, “ most depressing poems” was discussed, a brief introduction about depression and its signs and symptoms, some of the most depressing poems and then some FAQs related to the topic. 

The Saddest Poem Ever Written


Herrin, T. (2020). 7 Depression Poems: What The World’s Greatest Poets Can Teach Us. betterhelp. https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/7-depression-poems-what-the-worlds-greatest-poets-can-teach-us/

Ripatraozone, N. (2014). The saddest poem ever written. MM. https://themillions.com/2014/07/the-saddest-poem-ever-written.html

Smith, J. (2018). How Poetry Helps Depression and Could End Depression Stigma. healthyplace. https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2018/5/how-poetry-helps-depression-and-could-end-depression-stigma

Tearle, O. (2019). 10 of the Best Poems about Depression. interesting literature. https://interestingliterature.com/2017/03/10-of-the-best-poems-about-depression/

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!