Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
Depression, often described as the black dog, is very difficult to deal with. Many times, due to the mood swings of the person who is depressed, people tend to stay away from them. The stigma and misunderstanding associated with depression often deprive the person of the much-needed support to overcome it. I have personally seen the trauma of many people, including close friends, who suffered from chronic depression. Through this poem, I share my thoughts on this “Big Black Dog.” Though this topic has disturbed me from the days I was a teenager, I wrote this on the day I came to know about the sad demise of the American singer and song writer Chester Charles Bennington.
The black dog
I see him walk past my house every day;
He never lifted his eyes from the bay,
Never seemed to notice people or what they say;
Every day his big black dog followed him all the way.
He was never seen without this canine.
Both their faces were dark without a shine,
He never talked or smiled,
He was bound by fear of some kind.
None in the avenue tried or cared,
To give a warm wish or friendly smile.
To approach the man with the dog, none dared,
None had a pleasant chat with him in a while.
I know that dog! I know him close.
A dark one peeped in life when I didn’t choose;
Then my heart was filled with gloom;
My fears arose of the awaiting doom.
Then I felt a warm touch and friendly hug,
This magic renewed me from rags.
Yes, this was the magic which brought in the beam,
It drove away the black dog, he was nowhere to be seen.
Today, I knew a paying forward was due.
I walked to him as he crossed the avenue,
The dog growled and its fury grew;
Unbothered, I held out my hands, “Friend, how are you?”
Startled, he lifted his head and looked at me,
In his face, a cry for help I did see.
The canine kept growling and barking at me,
But the lost glow in his eyes was what I yearned to see.
This repeated the next day and the one after,
Each day the dog grew smaller and his growl milder,
My friend lifted his eyes and his face grew brighter,
I knew he had conquered his captor.
The next time you see a black dog’s captive.
Look beyond the dog and hear the captive’s silent cries.
Jackson, Williams, Hemingway or Chester we wouldn’t have lost,
With a bold warm friend, if they were close.
Lily Antony (L. Joseph)
Lily Antony (L. Joseph) is an Engineer by profession with a post graduation in Business Administration. Her first attempt at writing was at the age of thirteen. Her other interests are painting and handicraft.
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