When the world is silenced, and you find yourself under
The roots of the brier bush with no light.
“You can not”
Embrace the limp earth.
“You can not”
Morsel on thorns or make mud pies in the shade.
Your eyes white
And fetal posture seem to fuse your spine together.
All you know
Is bitter spite, and shattered mirrors.
“You can not”
Embrace such existential wisdom–
“Learn from”
Those mud stained knee caps, and
“Toughen up”
“Pull yourself together” –oh, jigsaw cut life.
“I can not.”
Walking through dark-set burrows of thick
breathing shadow.
The sound of bird song seems to you
“The Devil.”
The blossom scent of impending spring
Is odourless.
The world is forgotten, lost under strangled roots
Fused in fear.
“You can not”
“I can not,” “you can not,” “I can not.”
© Iain Sutherland, 2013

19 thoughts on “Shadows

      • It’s hard to explain. The imagery your words convey to me is sharp, each phrase creating a stark picture with crisp lines. There are quite a few staccato words in it. Which I don’t really see, I feel. I feel the sharpness of it. It’s a starkness in my mind, yet intangible because it feels like each image wisps through my mind carried on a mist. The emotion of being closed off to people’s suggestions permeates my perception of this poem like I’m seeing it from far away, while hiding inside myself. It’s on a white piece of parchment far away in the blackness of my mind’s eye. Yet so incredibly crisp and clear. I can’t really explain it.
        This poem reached me more than most, sometimes your structure or word combinations (or both) leave me confuse and largely unaffected. But this one did something. I’m just can’t explain what.

    • Thank you for your kind words! I wrote this poem is response to an article that was arguing, “Depression should be embraced.” I drew heavily upon my own experience through depression over the last two years. I’m glad it feels real. I have lived these lines.

    • Yea, that’s the tricky thing with depression. There can be so many reasons, and forms. What I’ve experienced in the past is more the negative thinking side. I never saw a counsellor or anything…I just battled through it.

      • I battled mine during high school.

        I’m still here so I didn’t off myself.

        I think for a time I had a chemical imbalance because it wasn’t until I was on my second type of antidepressant that I turned myself around. It was like I couldn’t clear the negative clutter in my mind until that point.

        Attitude and reaction to the world around you is more influential to people than they think.

      • I’m glad you got through. I think this poem has to be one of my favourite just because it generates such good discussion.

        Antidpressants, in my opinion are often too quickly prescribed, but also in a lot of cases it can be the only way out. It’s a tough line to tread.

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