This poem is sort of like a found object. I was depressed when I wrote the first part, last fall; I was depressed again when I finished it last night. So…it’s a chronicle of depression? I hope you like it.
Some days, I feel ahead, and full of joy;
I fly around the worlds in my mind,
And map their verdant contours with an eye
That sees into the turquoise mystery.
I’ll taste a sweetened mocha on my tongue
And feel the gentle touch of soft white hands.
Some days, I scurry down a terraced hill
Into the waiting arms of those I love,
And find my laughter and my solace there.
On other days, I’m dogged by whispered fears—
The fear that I am never good enough,
That no part of my work is valuable,
That nothing that I see will ever change.
Will they befriend me, just to run away?
Is there a cell at Sinai just for me,
Beside the other empty, angry ones?
I fear that I’ll be emptied of my love—
Or worse, that all my noble words are vain,
For people are not saintly after all.
I am afraid to name my selfishness,
To wonder at the hardness of my heart.
I feel afraid to offer you my hand,
Because a gentle handshake hurts too much;
Sometimes when we’re together, I can’t speak,
Because I cannot know what you might say…
What can I call my soft timidity?
What name describes my fearful reticence?
Sometimes I call it sadness, sometimes fear;
Sometimes it blends with ancient pent-up wrath
And all my anger spills across the page
In scarlet, searing bursts of imagery,
In words as hot as arid desert sand.
I hope, one day, the rage will go away,
And leave me with the greening pulse of joy.
I hope to paint that joyous scene again,
The quick, effusive dance of laughing eyes;
I want to feel the sunlight in my veins,
Suffusing all my deeds with unity
And giving substance to my narrative.
I’ll see my sorrows bound with silver cords,
And feel anew the pulse of agency.