I think that some of the most emotionally stirring works of poetry are conceived in the most melancholy of times. The writer can climb into the heart of the most emotionally charged and painful moments of life and come out with a stirring work of art. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we are moved by the power of the deep emotion it provokes in us.
I am sometimes envious of a writer who can embrace a dreary day and produce something beautiful and passionate from all of its darkness and gray. When a writer can throw his arms around the very pain in the moment through which he is living, he creates something new and alive and it changes that moment forever. The birth of a poem or new prose can bring life into a day which earlier felt like death. It’s much like a maple tree in late winter which is tapped for it’s watery, sweet sap, and after days of cooking in the sugar house, we enjoy the amazing results—maple syrup. The landscape which once appeared so empty and bleak now produces something sweet and wonderful.
I think when we resist the melancholy, we only endure the day, but we don’t really ‘live’ it. We wish it away and long for something better to come tomorrow. Why not create something entirely new out of that moment? Try wrestling with those emotions, write them out on a page or paint them onto a canvas. I think you’ll find fresh romance is waiting for you in the midst of your melancholy.
Winter is a particularly difficult time of year for many of us. Robert Frost wrote a poem about the gray month of November which shows the coming winter’s bleakness yet grasps its beauty when he gazes on it through sorrow’s eyes. Explore his poem yourself:
My November Guest
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so wryly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell he so,
And they are better for her praise.
On one particularly blue winter day, I turned to confront my melancholy and moved my drama to the page:
I Am Gray
I am gray, my mind a cloud
hanging in the air over the city,
still and oppressive.
When will the wind blow?
When will my thoughts clear?
When will I move on,
floating in the sky,
revealing the sun once again?
I am sad,
my thoughts lie dormant,
waiting for you.
When will you move?
When will the air begin to stir,
the breeze begin to blow?
When will I have color again?
I am gray.
After I wrote this poem, my day began to fill with color and life. It was as if just giving birth to the poem brought a brilliant rainbow into the moment. Embrace your day in whatever form it arrives and live it—the romantic way.
Yours along TheRomanticWay!