Tag Archives: poetry

still + small

They told me I must be small

I must diminish so He could grow 

Their voices overwhelmed me

A cloud suffocating by day

A fire burning at night

I grew still and small

Waiting to be saved


I must decrease so He can increase


They taught me my spirit was defiant

I must tame my darkness so He could shine

Their voices sliced me down 

I cut off the pieces

That made me too wild

I pruned and trimmed my branches

Waiting to be whole


The tree You cursed has withered


Then I ran

I turned over their tables, exiled from their temples

They told me the further I fled

The unhappier I would be


They lied, and does not the Lord detest lying lips? 


Still and small, my spirit survives

Scarred and sacred, she still sings.


8 Famous Authors with Depression

ImageFrom everydayhealth.com

Mark Twain

“Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”

This eccentric author (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn) also suffered from a form of narcolepsy later in life, and would often fall asleep while in the middle of speaking.

Stephen King

“Monsters are real. Ghosts, too. They live inside us and sometimes, they win.”

Prolific horror writer King has written about his lifelong struggles with depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

“In a real dark night of the soul, it always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”

Fitzgerald led a party-hard lifestyle for most of his life, which ended at the young age of 44. He was also an alcoholic and had a complex relationship with his wife Zelda, who he ultimately separated from.

Sylvia Plath

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”

This poet is just as famous for her depression as she is for her writing. At 19, she made her first suicide attempt, and at age 30, she succeeded in taking her own life. Her only novel The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical story of a young woman who goes through electric shock therapy for her depression.

Tennessee Williams

“I’ve had a wonderful and terrible life and I wouldn’t cry for myself.”

Williams is famous as the writer of the plays “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Night of the Iguana,” but was also dangerously addicted to various drugs and alcohol as a way to deal with his anxiety. He got hooked on prescription pills and was once committed to a mental hospital for three months.

Anne Rice

“The world changes. We do not. Therein lies the irony that kills us.”

Mostly known for her vampire novels and now writing religiously-themed books, Anne Rice began her career after the death of her 5-year old daughter and a difficult bout with depression.

Emily Dickinson

“This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me.”

Since not much is known about this poet’s personal life, it is possible that she may have had depression, bipolar disorder, and/or anxiety. Though her poetry was never famous during her lifetime, the discovery of hundreds of poems after her death have ensured her legacy.

J.K. Rowling

“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope.” 

J.K. Rowling was struggling with depression when she began to write the famous Harry Potter series and has continued to deal with the complications that arise from the mental illness. The Dementors from her books serve as a metaphor for depression, as they suck the life force from their victims.




ImageTattoos are mainstream.

You all might as well accept that. They no longer designate a person who is a “rebel,” or someone who will never get a job, or any kind of delinquent. Anyone, from a grizzled biker to a Christian college freshman girl, might be sporting some ink.

It’s all about placement, like the real estate mantra of “Location, location, location.” I’ve been thinking about a tattoo for years, and have decided that I want words – small, simple text – on the inside of my wrists. It can be easily covered if need be, but is something I can easily show off as well, and most importantly, is in a place I can see.

Why tattoo, though? One of the many criticisms of tattooing is its permanency, but that is also one of its purposes. Yeah, it’s permanent. I want it to be. I want something meaningful to be literally engraved unto my body so I can’t forget it. It won’t wash off. Permanency is so important to some people that they get tattoos where their skin is literally carved into and the tattoo is the scar tissue that forms. I personally wouldn’t get this done (because I’m kind of wimpy about pain and knives), but I understand the reasoning. A lot of people think it’s body mutilation and weird, but it’s just sacrificing some personal comfort for a desired result. It hurts, yeah, but having the scar also means you don’t have to get retouches and go through more needles. I know some religious people who would think it’s some kind of sin or sign of self-hatred, or even that the cuts are parallel to pagan rituals where people would cut their skin out of grief for the dead, but if the tattooee has a specific reason for the process, then that’s what it’s about. There is such a thing as reading too much into something.

A tattoo would serve as a reminder of hope for me. I haven’t decided on the text I want, but I have options. One of them is a brief line from one of my favorite poems by Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gently into that dark night.” The phrase would be “blind eyes could blaze,” with two words on each wrist. To me, that line is a reminder to not give up even when it seems like all my strength is gone. I can’t necessarily see what’s ahead, but I’m still alive and fighting.

My other idea is also from  Dylan Thomas poem: “And death shall have no dominion.” It is from the first stanza, last two lines. “Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” It’s a victory cry. It’s a declaration of truth.

Poetry: William Butler Yeats


I haven’t read a Yeats poem that I didn’t like. The children of creative people, it makes sense that Yeats went into creating art in his own way. He was influenced by his poet friends and a strong interest in mysticism. In 1923, Yeats was awarded the Noel Prize in Literature and was the first Irishman to win it. His personal life is very interesting to me, as it involves the seemingly “classic” problems that poets face when it comes to love, such as adoring a muse, being rejected by the one they love, and having lots of affairs, with much younger women specifically.

My favorite poem of his comes from the third section of a larger poem entitled “A Man Young and Old.” This is “The Mermaid.”

A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.




thank God for jealousy

for yearning love


for loving silences, sharp knives

for nights of fire and punished crimes


thank God for sleeplessness

for the daily grind


for rat races, repetitive blame

for wide-ruled lines and waiting for rain


thank God for open wounds

for unhealed scars


for pink-rimmed eyes, pinched nerves

for lessons hard learned and prayers that went unheard

Poetry: Ingrid Jonker

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 9.30.47 PMI’ve been writing poems since I was ten and poetry has been my primary expression of depression. Over the years, I’ve gotten more into reading different styles and about the lives of poets. Currently, my favorite poet is Ingrid Jonker, a South African poet who wrote during apartheid and whose tragic life has been compared to Sylvia Plath’s. I first discovered her work during research for a paper on the poetry of South African women.

Ingrid was a prolific and highly-recognized poet, but her personal life was always on the brink of collapse. She was rejected by her father for her political beliefs (he was on the board responsible for the censorship of art and literature) and had a series of intense and painful romantic relationships, one of which led to the birth of a daughter. In 1965, Ingrid walked into the ocean and drowned herself. Her most famous poem, known in English as “The Child,” was read by Nelson Mandela during the first meeting of the democratic parliament of South Africa in 1994.

The child is not dead
The child lifts his fists against his mother
Who shouts Afrika ! shouts the breath
Of freedom and the veld
In the locations of the cordoned heart

The child lifts his fists against his father
in the march of the generations
who shouts Afrika ! shout the breath
of righteousness and blood
in the streets of his embattled pride

The child is not dead not at Langa nor at Nyanga
not at Orlando nor at Sharpeville
nor at the police station at Philippi
where he lies with a bullet through his brain

The child is the dark shadow of the soldiers
on guard with rifles Saracens and batons
the child is present at all assemblies and law-givings
the child peers through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers
this child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child grown to a man treks through all Africa

the child grown into a giant journeys through the whole world
Without a pass