The mind can be a frightening or comforting place. Some people may be scared of what they may find there; others may go there in search of safety or to hide their secrets from themselves when the impact of life's experiences or mental illness become too unbearable, overwhelming or confusing.
Underneath the sorrow and helplessness of depression, there is always hope, for there is always a new day. For some, even joy can take them to extremes of mood and emotion, to a place where everything seems to move too fast and they lose sight of who and where they are.
This collection of poems explores these extremes of emotions. While these poems express the anguish of emotional pain and fear, this is necessary in order to truly experience the joy of being alive. There is always hope that life can be lived with a sense of peace and understanding and being.
Sid Harta Publishers
Sid Harta Publishers
Excerpt from title poem:
I lay in my field.
The drooping heads of wheat formed a flaxen rainbow against a sky so blue that it could burn through the irises of my cornflower coloured eyes ... the wheat closing in on me, folding to form a warm and comforting cocoon, sweet with the heady fragrance of freshly baked bread ... that it had yet to become.
What had I yet to become?
The heads of the wheat swayed with glee; somehow I think they heard me ... just a whisper.I spread my arms wide to make a wheat angel in my field of fancy ... they wouldn't even know I was here in my little coffin, safe and alone, thoughtful and silly, heavy and happy.
Thoughts drift into my mind like little loops of silk spun by summer spiders. They dance in my head, reaching out for other thoughts that stand in line, waiting to be passed along to the next partner, like a sophisticated square dance ... Some of them may touch or collide, yet not connect; some may link arms and prance away, content to have meant something to each other, even if only for a moment, just like the awns of wheat that bow to greet their partners ... against their stage of blue.
I need to run! I need to feel the stalks of wheat lash my face and snag in my hair, gold meeting gold. I need to relish their sweet smell mingling with the freshness of the salty sea breeze ...
The wheat seems to part just a second before I touch it and I allow my arms, my angel arms, to fly out behind me, my chest pushing forward, my beating burst of happiness, pushing forward, my heart leaping out ahead of me and looking back at me, smiling and loving ... loving me.
Faster, faster the freedom of it all! My coffin is far behind me and only God can see that I was ever there, laying heavily in the haven he grew just for me.
For the first time, I run because I am free
And not because I fear
I run because I feel
And not because I bleed
I run towards the smell, the sight and the sounds of the sea to burst through from the golden fields and run, run, twirling with open arms to throw my thoughts ... my tiny dancers ... into the ocean to dissolve and bubble and drift away ... upon my stormy sea ... of cornflower blue.
© Annette Hansen 2004
Other poems in this title:
Hope and recovery
The sunlight blinds me for a moment as I clamber over the stone edge
I look at my hands; they are sore and dirty ... I don't remember the sunlight coming closer ... but I am grateful to see the garden again.
As I walk away from that well - the cold, ugly, lonely place - I do recall the journey, but now the pathway is straight, the gravel has become lush, green grass beneath my toes and the branches barely stroke my cheeks.
The well is still there ... at the bottom of my garden. But if I don't look, maybe it won't know that I am still here.
The isolation of childhood depression
If I could stand against the mirror, would I feel its cold?
Or is that chill from deep in me that seems so very old?
I'd like to wipe the fog away so that I might see
All the people playing there, just outside of me.
I try to see those faces, but the looking glass is thick
I try to paint their smiles and frowns, but cannot make them stick
Do you think that I could find them if they fell upon the floor?
I am so tired of searching, can't find them any more.
I'm sure that they would rather live out there in the sun
Where they can each be who they are and not have to be one.
Freedom through thought
The white-capped waves blur beneath my body, to form a rush that is mirrored in my eyes; eyes that close, but still see those thoughts and hear the splashes and feel the sinking ... and though it frightens me, I am flying towards hope and leaving behind, many miles beneath me, all that I no longer need or want to feel, or think, or be.
High enough to touch heaven
Where we began.
Finding comfort in darkness
I go to my place of soil and stone
It knows me and greets me at the gate ...
A silhouette follows my footsteps.
A shadow attached to my toes creeps and crawls
to join the girls that dance around the trees,
who pause, peer and pray that the still of my heart will save them,
one night soon ...
And they will disappear like tiny tornadoes,
The desire for peace
I want a peaceful walk where time has gone
To scatter my thoughts and leave no trail
A place to shelter and dream of tomorrow
With nothing but peace to find me
A journey through mania
I surge through the tunnel with the sides just out of reach
Intensity escalates as reason scampers away
A rush, a surge, a tidal wave battering my armour and pounding me senseless
Riding up on the crest of the flow, bouncing fitfully,
THE TOADSTOOL AND THE ROSE
The contrasts between light and dark
The rose will never know the dark
Its petals cannot reach
It chooses not to take a look
What can the toadstool teach?
I can teach the rose to hide
To hang its head in shame
For if you come to visit me
I'll never speak your name
For where I live there is no light
No warmth of nature's sun
Emotions deep are poison tears
From these we cannot run
The insidiousness of manic depression
I fly and rise and flutter
Towards my branch, I see
But darkness steals my perch
Right out from under me
I have no wise old owl
No forest and no tree
Just lying in the darkness
Depressive little me
A tribute to those pets who love us
Oh golden fur and eyes of night
Sparkle clear and glimmer bright
So vital, new and very wise
I see myself in those bright eyes
And when one day his light is gone
I'll dream of him and carry on
I'll know then it was no surprise
I saw myself in those bright eyes
Escape from emotional pain
If I wasn't here, where would I be?
Some place where God could value me
Or maybe too he'd turn away?
Not knowing I had things to say
Either way there'd be some peace
Up amongst the clouds
THE WHEELBARROW MAN
Tiny hands cover my face, a blanket covers my body
I disappear, but my ears still hear
The rolling sound of one wheel turning
The boots, the barrow ... the breathing
I don't understand why he comes here at night
To keep me from my nightmares
There's another place for me where the thunder rolls
Where the wheelbarrow man takes our souls
And smiles his evil smile
BLUE AND GREY
Understanding life with manic depression
I bounce out of bed and I love the freshness of a new day...
Every moment has the promise of learning ... of seeing the colours and hearing the music of the world I live in.
... but soon that energy piles up inside, falling over itself, competing for space in my body...
I can't sit still and I can't think still ... nothing works ... everything is disconnected ... including me.
I don't know life, I only care about dying.
Please don't judge me by my face
My eyes will tell the truth
Please don't judge me by my actions
My intentions tell the truth
Please don't judge me by my solitude
My heart it holds the truth.
The memory of trauma
Can one stil the mind long enough for the memory of life to wander in?
What fills the gaps when there is no life to speak of?
Like a slideshow, all that we remember is shown to us, over and over.
Is there time or a chance to choose what we like to see and erase what remains?
I choose to see all that I love and all that I crave
I even choose to see all that hurts me
I can turn off the light and shut down the machine
but I'm still here ... still running ... still seeing...
all that I am.
Living life with fear
I let her come forth, this girl who is brave
I wish to say sorry that she is my slave
I lend her my being, but never my soul
I settle right down in my tiny grey hole...
I think I can make it to safety inside
I just want to be me and not have to hide
But one touch or one word could make me unfurl
So I send her instead
My subsitute girl
PEACE IN A PACKET
Suicide - symptom or solution?
No, not again.
How can I feel so black and so yellow all at once?
Like a daffodil streaked with the greasy blackness of oil
that makes me slip, slide away.
I pace the floor, I think of life
I cannot stay and I need to go
My saviours are here ... peace in a packet
It's the energy of me that condemns me to death.
This time I have it ...
SOME BRIEF REVIEWS
Annette's book is an interesting read. Some of the work is confronting and gives you an insight into the mind of a bipolar sufferer. True to form however, some of the work is masterful in its diverse emotion, taking the reader from the depths of darkness to the giddy heights of mania. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it takes pride of place on my bookshelf.
Interesting how we have both chosen a different way to describe the same pain. I can see why certain parts of my story appealed to you. The other thing your poems have in common is that they develop more depth the more they are read.
Mark Fitz-Walter (author: 'The Monsignor and the Madman')
Your poems reveal to me a disciplined and assured ability. You show a powerful command of language, a fluidity, evocative, smooth, confident. There is a comforting sense of rhythm and a quiet balance. The poems speak of the well nigh unbearable pain of an enduring, persistent ache. The overall effect is very powerful and reassuring.
'THE MONSIGNOR AND THE MADMAN'
Written by Mark Fitz-Walter and published by Sid Harta Publishers, I can highly recommend this book to readers who might also enjoy 'Senses of Being'.
A well-written and thought-provoking monologue, it can be read many times over without losing its impact on the reader. A man who has lost a relative to suicide attempts to come to terms with the impact of the act on both himself and those around him. This book challenges the reader with new viewpoints on the issue of suicide and brings understanding to those left behind.