Poetry Break by Lily Antony

 Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.

~Rita Dove~


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 bliack dog of depression by Lily Antony


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

Bio:

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.

Other links:

Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) Paying Forward: Trigger of an Uncontrolled Chain reaction


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4 comments

  1. I rarely take interest in modern poetry, but for some reason I decided to read yours today. Maybe it’s because I suffer from depression. Your poem really touched me. Beautifully done.

  2. Lily,
    This is such an important view of depression. It grips so many people these days, and they are getting younger and younger. Two of my friends have lost their children to suicide. I think your poem is such an apt description with the growling dog and the cries for help. If we could all pay more attention and reach out I think it could change the outcome of some lives. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Lily – You’ve done a masterful job here in describing “the black dog.” Depression is always a difficult thing, both for the one who is suffering with it and for the loved ones who stand off in the shadows, not quite knowing how to venture past the black dog’s growl. But you poem so beautifully encourages a reach past the black dog to a warm embrace of friendship – which just could be the gift that silences the growl. Thank you and yes, Welcome back!

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