Lifting a Mood

You could focus on poems of celebration: Weddings, for example,
unless your parents fought all the time, or your own marriage is fraying,
or you worry you’ll never marry; then it all
mocks you, every hopeful blessing and jubilant wish.
So you could move on to poems about birthdays,
as long as they don’t address the perils of aging
or the void the years have left in your wake; perhaps,
then, poems about getting better
unless you’re one of those people whose nose wrinkles
at happy talk when you’re feeling bum, your eyes squinted
against the too-bright sunshine, sweetness making you ache
the way sugar sets a decayed tooth throbbing.
I’m sorry, but when I’m sad
I want to crawl into the shadowy silence
of unhappy poems: elegies, apologies, farewells,
the death knell tolling, black branches dripping
as the rain intensifies. I may cry, letting
the wound drain, or I may rouse myself,
bored with the grayness of it all. If I’m lucky,
some majestic image or lovely phrase,
although draped in mourning or full of thorns,
will distract me and I’ll forget to be sad.
Multiply negatives and you get a positive result.


Prompt source: Write an apologetic/unapologetic poem (Poetic Asides 2012 April PAD Challenge Day 3); What is the best poem to read when you’re feeling sad? (NaBloPoMo, April 2012 Writing Prompts Day 3, BlogHer).

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