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The SAD and the Happy

Updated on July 10, 2013
Poet George Bacovia
Poet George Bacovia


by George Bacovia

My loved one plays the piano while
Outside the snow falls ruinously, -
The town's in darkness, as though
It was snowing in a cemetery.

My loved one plays a funeral march,
And I'm perplexed and wonder: why
Should she be playing a funeral march ...
And it snows as in a cemetery.

She cries, she's fallen on the keys,
And groans, as fevered, heavily ...
The piano dies in a discord
And it snows as in a cemetery.

And I tremble, and I spread her hair
Over her shoulders; I too cry ...
Outside the town remains deserted,
And it snows as in a cemetery.

English translation from

winter solstice flickr
winter solstice flickr
arctic in winter
arctic in winter

what is SAD

George Bacovia(1881 - 1957), the Romanian poet who wrote the above lines, must have suffered of Seasonal Affective Disorder, condition which affects 12 percent of Europeans and some 35 millions people in United States. Much more may be in Canada, but for this country I couldn't find a statistic.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter blue is a illness that it is caused, among others, by the absence of bright light. It is said that it starts in the early autumn and lasts until late spring, usually may. The symptoms are:

Daytime sleepiness

Decreased energy and concentration

Craving sweets (I can't get enough of them)

Decreased interest in work or other activities

Increased appetite with weight gain

Increased sleep and excessive sleepiness

Lack of energy

Social withdrawal

Depression that starts in fall or winter.

The Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle

The experts say that absence of light or dim light trigger the pineal gland to produce melatonin, a substance that makes us sleepy. In normal circumstances pineal gland releases melatonin at night and stops with the sunrise. Another substance that have been link to the light is serotonin which is a neurotransmitter to the brain. The lower the serotonin level is, the worse the SAD symptoms are.

The good news for the northern hemisphere inhabitants is that the winter blue season is half way gone. On December 21st is winter solstice. That means that people living in northern regions experience the shortest day while people living in southern lands have an increase in day light. Places above the 66 degrees (where is the little symbol for degrees on the keyboard?), 33', 39" north, also called the Arctic Circle, will be in complete darkness while places bellow 66 degrees, 33', 39" south, also called the Antarctic Circle, will have 24 hour of daylight.

The hemisphere situated north of Equator makes up 90 percent of Earth's population and most of its land. Some 700.000 people (my estimates) live above the Arctic Circle.

Countries that have territories above 66 degrees latitude are: United States (Alaska)


Denmark (Greenland)





winter solstice

For all the people living in northern hemisphere, the winter solstice means that the day time will start to increase. Every day the sun will set few minutes later, until the summer solstice which will occur in June 21st, 2011, when the process reverses. For people living south of Equator, the day light will decrease till the summer solstice. Waiting for the sun to make its way up on the sky, people have invented winter carnivals, festivals and other form of gathering, as a therapy against SAD. Some other treatments are exercise or light exposure. But for people like George Bacovia, the Romanian poet, there is no other way out of winter blue than writing. Here is one of his winter poems:


Lonely, lonely, lonely,
In a distant suite—
Innkeeper’s asleep,
Empty are the streets,
Lonely, lonely, lonely…

Raining, raining, raining,
Time to get real drunk—
And listen to the void,
--Melancholy funk,
Raining, raining, raining…

No one, no one, no one,
And I don’t give a damn—
For a long time, no one
Has known where I am
No one, no one, no one…

I tremble, tremble, tremble…
Irony—my fate
I leave up to you—
And the night is late,
I tremble, tremble, tremble…

Always, always, always,
Wandering, it seems
Won’t do anymore—
Frost over my dreams,
Always, always, always…

Lonely, lonely, lonely,
Time to get real drunk—
Hark the falling rain,
Melancholy funk! Lonely, lonely, lonely… (courtesy of

Slow, Nicu Alifantis


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