Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sonnet: Sad Harvest; Back to Depression

Sad Harvest

There is no madness like hatred of self.
It’s not confined to those with diagnoses.
There is a poison book upon the shelf
That makes allowance for all psychoses.
You wake; you dread yourself; you dread your mind
Where deadening thoughts orbit like lifeless moons,
Still, have sufficient gravity to grind
Your music down to an ice cream truck’s tune.
Wake, you could wake—but how would you even know?
The vulture on your shoulder keeps you blind.
Communicate by smells. By touch. By show.
Endure your looping brain—pause is rewind.
Sad harvest that a human being should turn
Upon itself. Shackle, beat and burn.

If the sonnet is depressing, well so it is. I am not well. I am more pretending to be well than formerly, seeking activities to distract the central maelstrom of self-despite. I wonder if any here have read “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.” Throughout the book the protagonist preserves a despite for himself, no matter how much he helps the land to which he’s been transported. He’s more than a reluctant hero; he’s a self-despising, cynical hero who feels helpless and at the same time responsible for much of the tragedy that besets his new world. I don’t claim to have his powers, naturally, but I identify with his feelings toward himself. I think the series is pretty good for the fantasy genre.

How shall I greet the New Year? “Same as it always was.” These artificial divisions of time do little to center me, though those who celebrate en masse must enjoy a different experience. I’d like to wear a lamp shade on my head, but I’ve only done it once at a party with fellow psychiatric residents. Except that we be surrounded by other revelers, it is hard to capture the spirit of a holiday. There is the religious exercise for Christmas, but I am not that devout. Church makes me weep anyway.

I’m fragile; I’m not well. I refrain from crying, it upsets my wife. Sometimes I can’t help it. I wish I could say the new antidepressant has improved things, but it only did so temporarily, and then my melancholy descended back in its miasmic inevitability.

Nine months of depression for a manic-depressive is not unusual. But it is extremely painful, and it seems the brief happy times I have had within that span are such anomalies that I can hardly relate to them. Clearly I need for more social interaction. While involved with other people I feel better, think less about myself; the afterglow lasts about an hour but it is better than no contact at all. I am, after all, a gregarious person when not beset by a major depression. To encounter me now would be different; I am not that person, more of a listener, more of a background shadow. But if buoyed up by the circumstances, by the conversation, I can occasionally exceed my melancholy and participate—and once I do I am well-received as an “interesting person.” Little do they know how much I bore myself.

I’m truly sorry to begin this year with another confession of depression, but the tears that crease my face as I write can admit no other truth, and dissembling on a blog would make a blog pointless—unless it was simply a shill for promotion.

Back to 3 Kilorats,



  1. Sorry to hear you're down, CE.

    If it makes you feel any better, everything is a shill for promotion.

    I've blogged about this very point at http://www.- just kidding.

    I'm not really sure whether I feel happy or depressed. I'm too ADD to consider it heavily. Usually I'm just playing a role.

    Thanks for the sonnet.

  2. Lots of force in this piece. Especially like the lines:
    The vulture on your shoulder keeps you blind.
    Communicate by smells. By touch. By show.
    Endure your looping brain—pause is rewind.

    Very strong.

    Sorry about your fragile days, but I do appreciate your words CE. Thanks.

  3. damn blogger!
    let me comment!

    It's a very good sonnet, I like this one a lot.


Please share your opinion!

Unexpected Light

Unexpected Light
Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008 ON SALE NOW!