Tag Archives: depression

Chiaroscuro

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I soaked up a soggy sense of betrayal
each time I failed to find a toenail gap
between cruel cuts of shrapnel and scorched waste –
a haven where red-eyed ash and steely scraps
did not mingle or seek to compete,
where nature remained unscathed.

Whispering, I would inquire:
who am I, and why?

Feel like a downy feather,
 fallen from an eagle’s wing, floating
in a pool of happenstance dirt.

Feel like the cracked shell
of an oyster that shaped a pearl from
a grain of sand.

Feel like a blade of grass
waiting for chance to decide whether
I may remain upright, or be crushed.

Feel like a bee searching
for honey on the surface of a gilt-framed
landscape depicting summer’s haze.

I have been patient amid the chaos
waiting to find the silence that would allow a reply
and today my answer was delivered to me:

I am a dark and light animal,
shaded to reflect this chiaroscuro planet.

We all contain darkness and light.
These qualities make the patterns which illuminate colour and scale.
They allow us life and give us sight.

I will still try to give the light a brighter hue
and cast some warmth within the dusk,
even as my limitations become clear to me;
I am so much more than dust, but
so much less than deity.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Level Plain

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When pain resides on a level plain,
rolling no boulders to crush your bones,
truth floats a soothing melody on the air.
But if you’re dropped on the street of dread and despair,
no poetry will meet you there.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

Gravity

It’s like an egg breaking inside your head;
a sudden flood that controls your mind, telling you
to run to the window and dive
down
down
down
to the soulless ground below.
In the instant before your thoughts recover,
you move across the room, ready
to turn your eggy impulse into messy reality.

Out of step with the moment, you feel
the shock of the drop forcing you
to release all oxygen from your lungs, though you want
to draw a greedy last gasp of cool air before
the end… and then you realise
it hasn’t happened yet.

Grasping for sanity, you clutch the back of a dining chair.
You shudder, knowing how close it was this time,
and you wonder, had you jumped,
how desperately would you regret your imminent death
in the few seconds before the concrete smashed your skull to shreds,
and would those seconds stretch
into eternity?

©Jane Paterson Basil

Shhh…

Guess I’d forgotten the depth of low –
forgotten how far down I could go.
Winged creatures more sinister than simple butterflies
have made a home in my heart.
They’re boring holes and sending messages,
warning me to hide.
I know they want to eat me but I’ve run out of fight.
Even the urge to search for comfort
has flown.

I hold the phone a distance from my ear,
in the unfulfilled hope
that I won’t hear the voices talking, questioning, offering goodwill, comfort, meals, walks and company, company, company, then moving quickly on to what he said, she said, who did what and isn’t it interesting.

No.
When you are drowning inside,
discussion is low on your list of priorities.

I say that I’m hungry.
This is true, but my mutterings about supper are just an excuse
to escape another one-way conversation.
Food is an dull complication to be dealt with later.

Good people, I love you. Please leave me alone,
or rather, don’t speak out loud.
Can’t you see that the groan which issues from my throat
is a strangled scream?
Please, please don’t reach out to me with sound.
I’m hoping that silence will keep the monsters under my rib-cage at bay.
If you have something to say, I would be grateful
if you’d just write it down.

Note for my friends: Don’t worry about me –  if I was still feeling this bad, I wouldn’t have managed to write the poem… such as it is.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Lighthouse

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Inhibited sky
hides day’s naked light
behind a blushing veil of cloud.
Bashfully, it dons its night time hues.
Below the sleeping beacon, dark ocean cools,
murmering its merciless melody
of endless, incidental
conquest.

Saline spray
lingers on skin and lips,
like the memory of a million kisses;
signposts on a highway to heaven or hell.
She wishes that she could pinpoint them all;
rinse away those that were planted by force,
retaining only the imprints of pleasure –
but thinks it too late.

Her eye
measures the drop,
the sharp surprise of rock.
Oh, to be taken by the reckless sea
 {{{ – enveloped in its fluid caress – }}}
not this ignominious nosedive onto stone,
bequeathing her decomposing carcass
as appetising fast food
for carnivores.

In such a ferocious place,
to be quick is to be too harshly dead;
not her imagined romantic dissipation,
but yet another beaky invasion.

She considers;
shall she precipitate
this cheapened technique
to attain irreversable decay?

With a final, longing glance,
she steps off the catwalk,
her spiral descent
no shocking
freefall,
after
all.

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~

©Jane Paterson Basil

Phoenix

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It’s often when the world seems kind, the foe leaps in to steal your mind
of all the hope you’d held intact, and horror robs your brain of fact.
Rotating blades within the gut increase their stretch, til faith is cut.

It aches so much you can’t conceal the pain.
It cuts so deep you can’t conceal the pain.

The steel has reached your pounding heart, and sorrow’s played its bitter part.
Beneath your feet, the faithless floor tips and sways, while you implore
kind entities to feed your soul, yet screaming silence steals your goal…

and echoes that, this day, you’ve gone insane,
and you believe, this day, you’ve gone insane.

Hell’s bells then toll to tell the world the thread of life has been unfurled,
and Satan’s servants draw their claws, as teeth glint green in gnashing jaws.
You smell the sulphur, feel the pulse, as with a shudder, you convulse.

You tell yourself that you can take the strain,
You chant the mantra “I can take the strain.”

The Devil’s terror bends your bones, and you collapse, as he postpones
your future, by the coal-black joke of wrapping round you like a yoke.
Now panic rises; he erases all remaining hope-filled places.

Though bound and blind, you need to break the chain,
to live through this, you need to break the chain.

With drumsticks banging at your heart, with churning stomach ripped apart,
as arid lungs choke ragged breath, you sink towards ignoble death —
’til courage rising from the mire, brings you a hint of lifespring’s fire.

So thus you learn that you will rise again,
and now you know that you will rise again.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Tears

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Sometimes when brightest day appears like darkest night,
and though you try, you can’t perceive the brightness of the light;
when rain paints window panes, yet fields and streets are dry,
and grief conceals the kindly shine in every eye,
you may smile to hide the brackish corners of your mind
but truth is there, that all who care for you may find.

Yet still you smile ’til you believe your cheer is real,
in self-deceit your mind will cheat, and not reveal
the hurt you hide behind the thick facade,
as laughing, you wrap blankets round each glassy shard.
And so, from day to day you live your life this way,
to flee the debt of pain you fear you cannot pay.

Your head feels heavy when you wake and rise from bed,
and as you dress, your arms and legs feel numb and dead,
yet still, you laugh as if your heart was light as air,
as if your life was bright with ne’er a care,
and still the ache lies hidden somewhere deep within,
in some secret, unseen place beneath the skin.

Then suddenly, a friend unseen may intuit the key,
and in creative act of generosity,
unlock the door that frees warm healing tears,
releasing all the memories of hurt and fears.
And so you weep, in gratitude and pain,
until it all escapes, and you are real again.

And thus, by meditation’s gentle act,
You flee from fantasy, and turn to fact.
You balance all the good and bad, and weigh it up
in honesty, and find the liquid in your cup
is mixed, ‘twixt sweet relief and  bitter pall;
with seasoned palate, you can sup it all.

No need to hide from daily pain and rising strife –
The beauty of the gifts you’ve gained, sustains your life.

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I haven’t been deeply depressed, as this poem suggests, but I have been submerging emotion. My rhyme was inspired by the thoughtful act of my intuitive FanStory friend, Judester, who yesterday published  a post which  took me for a virtual walk around her estate. The beauty of the surroundings made my spine tingle. I felt as if I was walking through a forest, and it was my home. Everything was designed and built in the way I would have wished, using recycled and freely aquired materials.  When I read the note beneath her post it said “I dedicate this story to Sanejane. Just a happy little story“. Sanejane is my FanStory name, and to me it was far more than just a little story; it was deep meditation.  On reading the dedication, I wept, at last setting free all the unshed tears for the attack on my daughter.

©Jane Paterson Basil