Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Poetry for Symptom Relief

       I am forever indebted to the poets of the world. Poetry is often like word magic for my symptoms. It opens my eyes to a bigger world, filled with possibilities and hope. It has the uncanny ability to force me to take a step back and look at things in a new light. My ideas, dreams and inspiration, my humanity, are often rekindled after I read a great poem.

      I collect poems the same way I collect quotes of wisdom.1 I want them close by because they are a source of strength that I don't want to search for in my times of need. I randomly picked a few I keep on hand and put them below. Of course, people's taste in poetry varies as wildly as people's taste in music. I don't presume to know what poems might help rekindle anyone's hopes and dreams. I'm simply pointing out another tool I use to help alleviate symptoms. I hope they help.

       The following link will direct you to the Poetry Foundation. It is an unbelievable, free resource. You can search for poems, read poems, print poems, save a list of your favorites for easy access, listen to recordings of people reading many of the poems and even watch videos of people reciting poetry (both of which come in handy if you're unable to read due to symptoms). It is truly an amazing site. (


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
for when dreams go
Life is a barren field 
Frozen with snow.

~Langston Hughes

If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching, 
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

~Emily Dickinson


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master;
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
 And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

~Rudyard Kipling

O Me! O Life!

O Me! O 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?

That you are here--that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

~Walt Whitman

       Next week I'll be spending extra time with my amazing family. My wife and daughters will be off school for Spring Break. I intend to spend my free time having fun with them. That means I will only be posting to social media and will not be putting anything new on the site next week. Relaxing while spending time with them is one of my favorite forms of self-care. I'll see you on the flip side. We all send you love until then.
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       As always, I wish you wonderful mental health and great successes eating healthy meals. If you, or someone you love, is severely depressed or anxious, please click this link and you will be directed to the International Association for Suicide Prevention. It is a fantastic resource and is staffed by wonderful people.
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