Depression is the Grim Reaper
creeping before his time.
He haunts in the shadows of
the hallows of your mind.

Cloaked in a blackness, steeped in guile
there he lurks behind your smile,
sucking 'pon the life you breathe.
Gasping air, you seek reprieve.

Whilst all around you marches on
oblivious to your dying dawn,
you slip away from light of day
To save the failing fawn.

Then in your Judaean Desert
alone you face the beast
"Cast thyself down", the tempter sneers,
'til you demand he cease.
'Til  you demand he cease.


I wrote this to help me battle depression. Sometimes, through the process of writing, I am able to garner strength to battle the demons in my mind. I don't always know what makes depression raise its ugly head but I do understand what helps me battle through it.

The imagery of a Grim Reaper following me around the past few days has played strongly in my mind. The first verses came easily, almost without effort. The remainder came through trying to put to words what it feels like to battle with depression which led me to reflect on the Temptation of Christ where Satan tempts Christ to cast himself down to prove that angels would save him.

With depression, the Grim Reaper is always suggesting to cast away life before it is time. Even though Christ was being tempted to cast himself down to prove he would be saved, I have always read it with more mortal eyes as a message to resist depression's temptation to cast away life.

For me, battling depression means finding solitude. Some people need more extroversion but I require a high degree of introversion to ward off depression. I was thinking how Christ went off by himself to reflect and to fight Satan's temptations  in the Judaean Desert.

Some people feel sad when I close myself off while I am battling through depression. For me, it only makes me sad that other people feel sad. I'm not sad being alone. Being alone helps me rejuvenate my soul and allows me to feel whatever I am feeling without having to perform the parade of smiles.

Sometimes, while I am writing, wisps of words flit through my mind and I try to capture them to see where they will lead. That is the case with the "dying dawn" and "failing fawn". After writing it, I questioned, "why a fawn?" It felt right but I didn't really know why so I  looked  it up and found the symbolism fitting (i.e. in Buddhism, the deer symbolizes harmony, happiness, peace and longevity).

In the Temptation of Christ, victory came when he commanded Satan to depart. In a way, that is the process of getting through depression for me. It sounds simplistic to say, "Well,, just tell it to stop or leave". It doesn't quite work that way but the end result of breaking through a depressive episode feels very much like this - as if I have regained myself and commanded it to leave.

The last verse represents a very precarious slope in which, if the Grim Reaper is not defeated, a person might slip and a life might be cast away before its time.  This is the battle with depression.

I don't know why writing helps me but the process somehow helps me find the power to vanquish the enemy.

Disclaimer:  I do not pretend to know the first thing about writing poetry. I enjoy reading it. I've never studied how one is supposed to write poetry and didn't know there were rules until I was nearly an adult. I think if I had known there were rules, I never would have written anything for fear of failing. I always thought poetry was a free-for-all which is the reason it attracted me in the first place. Now I rely on it, as rudimentary as it might seem to true poets, as a means of expression. That's all.