A combination of things came together today in order to create this poem. I’m reading a book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser, and just finished a chapter where he asked a question on how important a role a poet gives himself or herself in the narration of a poem. Is the poet the narrator or is a fictional character assigned that task, and how much of the narrator is revealed? Next, I had an email discussion with a friend about depression. Finally, The Sunday Whirl http://sundaywhirl.wordpress.com/, wordle #21, had the words: urgent, simple, pockets, jolt, build, now, dignity, cut, bold, scrape, roaring, pass.
I don’t think I’ve experienced a day of depression in my life, but I’ve seen it and worked around it hundreds of times. By using the tools from the first five chapters of Mr. Kooser’s book, I put a little more thought into this poem than usual, and I had to put on a persona I’ve never worn before. I have no idea if it worked or not.
By Mike Patrick
Nothing is urgent anymore.
He trudges, hands in pockets,
staring down at the sidewalk.
Leaden clouds hang over him,
he’s deaf to laughter from the park.
His body seems to shrink away.
Food has no taste.
Dinner is the closest container in the pantry
. . . if he remembers to eat.
Once so bold—he faced life,
roaring in its face,
daring it to pass him by.
He grabbed life,
held it against him; made love to it.
Now, at the age when everything should be simple,
even his dignity is gone.
He no longer cares who sees him cry.
She had been his anchor.
She could jolt him out of darkness.
She could make him live.
She could make him feel.
She . . . was gone.
Along with her,
everything beautiful was cut from his life.
Everything meaningful had evaporated.
There was nothing left to build.
Oh, he’ll scrape by—for a while.