Tuesday poem: Depression is not

January 30, 2012

Tuesday Poem

Depression is not

It is not a dark Baskervillean hound.
For me a black dog is a plump,
peaceful stealer of sandwiches.
Hardly an entrée to self-murder.

It is not a boiling cloud, conjuring
a thunderous storm, energetic
Frankenstein forks spearing brain.
That has a bright explosive tang.

The thoughts lie aborted, disjointed.
Synapses refuse to pass on interest.
Joy, love and pleasure ring no bells;
Esmeralda vanished, cathedral burned.

Taste dulled into pap, gagged by lack
of living buds; music rhythmless noise.
And touch a kind of necrophilia with
the living body corpsed.  Visitation

of a mute frigid deafness.  No dog’s wet
questing nose implicated, no sharp bite.
But every day a dullard rock to roll uphill,
and Penelope weaving holes, every night.

P.S. Cottier

This is from my first poetry collection, The Glass Violin. One of the worst things about having been depressed is that is deprives you of the simple, snarly joy of being in a really bad mood. You begin to think you’re sliding back into depression, which is, in itself, quite depressing. If, however you start checking that you have enough pills to knock yourself off if you do slide back into depression, then you probably are going that way. If pain persists, please see your doctor.

If, on the other hand (and don’t we all have more hands than Kali?) people being ‘nice’ to you because they know you have had depression makes you want to say really, really inappropriate things to them, then you’re probably just in a foul mood. Enjoy it! Even normal people have moods. And they end, usually within a couple of days. Before you know it you’ll be finding things (such as the Indian cricket team’s recent performances, for example) amusing again.

For more Tuesday poems, some sadly bereft of helpful medical tips, click on the quill above the poem.

I realise for the past month or so, I’ve only been posting on Tuesdays, for the Tuesday poem. Must break out of summer slackness, and enter into an orgy of posting, now that the cricket and tennis are over. If only I could find something worth saying…

8 Responses to “Tuesday poem: Depression is not”

  1. Tim Jones said

    Another fine poem, Penelope – the black dog as “plump,/peaceful stealer of sandwiches” most of all.

    I share your summer feelings of lethargy – and am trying to shake them off now that my last excursion of the summer is over. Fortunately, the cricket season here has another couple of months to run, so I will have a ready nostrum to hand for any outbreaks of productivity.

  2. pscottier said

    Pleased to hear you’re ensconced in front of your computer, Tim, back to the wall and nose to the grind-screen. I have always wanted to use that word ‘nostrum’ in a poem, but I fear it would instantly render the work somehow quaint (rather than clever and quirky). Thank you for liking this one!

  3. Helen Lowe said

    I appreciated the way the poem moved from what depression is not, to what it is–a reality that as a reader I really ‘get’ from lines such as “But every day a dullard rock to roll uphill,
    and Penelope weaving holes, every night.” A strong finish to a strong poem.

  4. pscottier said

    And of course, being a Penelope, I was the one weaving those holes. (Or the errant chemicals in my brain, anyway!) Thank you for your close reading Helen. (Another lovely Greek name.)

  5. A. J. said

    love it! The fiery no – this thing is not as the others – but I’m finding it hard to read some of the words under the quills – still – a good incentive to buy the book 🙂

    • pscottier said

      The quills lift up Alicia, to show myriad hidden poems. They are also scented…

      Thank you for your liking of the fiery aspects of the poem.

      Go on, give into the impulse and buy!

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