16 November 2009

At Ease

I remember reading Jane Kenyon's poems at one of the worst points in my depression. Her collection "Constance" sat on my bedside table and I read it over and over and over again. She described the pain and anguish I was feeling better than anyone (save Sylvia Plath) I'd ever read. The words in this piece, from "Having It Out With Melancholy," pressed against my pain like a tourniquet, making it surge before it dwindled:


Once, in my early thirties, I saw

that I was a speck of light in the great

river of light that undulates through time.

I was floating with the whole

human family. We were all colors -- those

who are living now, those who have died,

those who are not yet born. For a few

moments I floated, completely calm,

and I no longer hated having to exist.

Like a crow who smells hot blood

you came flying to pull me out

of the glowing stream.

"I'll hold you up. I never let my dear

ones drown!" After that, I wept for days.

I read these poems now, the poems that pinpointed my agony, made me feel less alone, brought on wave after wave of uncontrollable tears, and they're like memories of a battle. They're the stories you tell about a scar.

I still feel as though I'm floating now. The days are flowing by, but for once, I don't feel disconnected, adrift, aimless. There's no one, no malevolent thing, to snatch me out of the light. The fear has faded, the panic is gone.

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