back to a time
when the black dog
hung around my neck
like a heavy yoke, I
could never be rid of
the terror that it
would not someday return
to seek me out and strike
me down again, and the knowing
how close I had come to succumbing.
I remember edging closer to the crowded
platform’s edge, too filled with fear to realise
the probable selfishness of what I was about to
do, only vaguely aware of where I actually was, but
just able to register that touch on my right arm
and the voice that quietly whispered, “I don’t really think
you want to do that.” I remember turning to see who’d said it
and seeing that there was just a crowd of people. Of the owner
of the voice there was no sign, but it had been enough.
It had been enough to make me realise where I was,
for the moment passed and I made my way back.
Back to the arms of the woman who had always loved me,
and who had carefully, lovingly, nursed me back to health
over such a long time. I wept. I put my head on her gentle
shoulder and I wept as I had never wept before. I wept for all
I still felt, and I wept for all the selfish anguish I would have
caused this woman had I let myself fall,
for that surely had been my intention.
©Joe Wilson – I remember…2014
This experience is my own. It followed a period of severe depression after a
subarachnoid haemorrhage in 1986. Thankfully the depression eventually lifted and
has long gone.