Commentary and Philosophy Poetry posted June 18, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
on mental health

Unyielding Trial

by jlsavell

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.


I've heard it called the "black dog". This thing. This abhorrent thing. You're afraid to move. Paralyzed to reach out. Terrified its name clings to you, like some millstone; heavy, infinite and mocking. Such a pitiful creature of foreboding. Rabid. Drunk with the power of control. What a bitch! The stench of its presence seeps into your pores.  Its frayed leash, a rotted albatross of emotional maggots snakes up the ankles. Slithers its way into your soul. Sucks the air.  Strangles your life-force without a care. They say it, too, laid at Churchill's feet.

The nightscape becomes an escape. You sleep beneath the same sky as the joyful. The one full of life. Yet, there are no stars to wish upon. To guide you. It's more like heavy black drapery, fastly closing the end of the play. Sounds are muffled. The is no encore of blessed dreams. Its last chorus were the lyrics of an outcaste. Silent isolation from an unloving world.  As the leaden curtains fall, the sensitive soul curls in a ball. Encased in a blackened stage. Trying desperately, futilely- to ward off the predators of mortality.

The monsters come. There is no closet to hide. No prayer of salvation. No flowing pen to ink the words of despair. Hoping against hope, the spilling cries and the sweat of dread in fractured sentences become the Shaman.

Dreams arrive in small fragments of sleeping through sleepless hours. Long dark hallways. Lost children with aged faces, hands wringing, tears streaming...wailing...begging you to carry their burden. But you can't,  for your burdens are too weighty. So Herculean, the strain blinds you to the same ones who struggle.

"You're not a good person! You're not a good person!" sqauwks the cancerous raven, who swoops out of nowhere.  The enraptured blackbird of doom and judgement. Flitting and shitting. Infecting your spirit with worthlessnes.

The bleak hallway stretches endlessly. Distorted. Doom resounds, echoes relentlessly. The sewage of grunge and poor choices begin rising at your feet. Down, down, drown , drown. Doors begin to bulge and swing from the onslaught. Familiar faces gawk and screech. Your gawd-damned relatives filled with pity, tough love scenarios, and exasperation screaming pious advice, "Swim! Swim! You can do it if you really want too."

Spin doctors, with white, bloodstained coats and sheepish grins, line the walls with paper and pen. Obedient dogs sit quietly beside, perky ears and lapping tongues. Pills spill, intended to kill...kill the black dog. The grotesque thing which brought you here, with fear to spare.

And you know, you know in your heart, dawn is coming. Its light is no consolation of new beginnings. Laughable. Yes, surely you can absurdity. Slut!  Dressed in enticing happiness, the redolence of fulfillment. Teasing, sashaying. Only to withdraw her offer as you grope...grope for hope...the real dope of renewed promises.

You are alone in a world filled with black dogs, nightmares, endless days and grey clouds. Through fear you cleave as lovers leave. Friends turn their backs and strangers balk. For who really cares and dares to see the heart where true life hides and longing resides. Longing to be free of the diabolical bully. Longing to gain control and life extoll.  Longing to be understood...understood  'It's not me, it's not's the black dog, you see!'

days fraught with sorrow
where dreams once danced within the mind
depression gloats


Poem of the Month contest entry


This is not biographical. I am just trying to relay how one suffers from clinical depression. I have a sister and many friends who suffer so, thus through their conversations is my inspiration. It is debilitating. Many great poets have battled this malady. Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Virginia Wolf, Anne Sexton.

and then of course 'Churchill wrote to keep the black dog of depression at bay'

Winston Churchill produced more words than Shakespeare and Dickens combined and became the highest paid journalist of his day.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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