Because I have never liked gravitational metaphors of depression.


…they always seemed backwards to me, all the stuff about “falling into a depression”, as if gravity would always pull you down into the dumps. So I wrote these, instead. (Don’t remember when, they’re in a giant file of my poems.) Because it seems to me the opposite, depression involves pulling yourself away from reality, against gravity.

Rising Into Sadness

When the world is a graveyard
Of dusty skeletons falling apart
And the sky cannot be seen
And even the pines are no longer green
I know that there have been
Too many words

Falling into Joy

Tossed for moments into living color sky
Ever falling back to a cushion of drabness
This is the way of the world, we said
Watching our eyes adjust to the dimness
Gravity works funny ways, said the world
For those who trust in words
Laughing to itself
As the ashen floor crumbled
Knocking the wind out of us
Smelling the soil as sky blinded our eyes
We had landed on solid green

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

10 responses »

  1. My experience of depression has never resembled the “trough” that a lot of people describe it as, either. It’s not a metaphor that I’d have come up with.

    I love these poems. I love the imagery, and the clearness of the writing. And that they are both very descriptive and concise, while a lot of writers tend to end up sacrificing one for the other at least a little bit.

  2. i’ve been looking for the right place to ask you this (after having made your aquaintance over on metafilter) – and this post, given the gravitational mood metaphors touched on above, seems a better pretext than most: what – if anything – do you make of the surfing&autism stories (recently on mefi too: )?

    not that i want to turn you into a litmus test for any autism related topic – it’s that your stance on treatment as such, as well as on unfiltered first-person experience called these stories (where the two are rather unusually combined) to mind.

    (i don’t surf, and i have no-one autistic in my immediate circle. but the idea resonated as sincere, and as a fresh, unfettered approach.)

    thanks in advance.

  3. There is a line at the end of the german poet Rilke’s Duino Elegy number 10 that says something similar — which could be translated from the german as —

    “And someone who normally thinks of happiness rising,
    would know an overwhelming feeling
    when they see how a happy thing falls.”

  4. Amanda,I am so grateful for your writings.Have you always had depression? And with this depression is there anger with it, sometimes or all the time?And do you have any idea what causes you to be depressed?Frustration, inability to communicate with someone on a certain level even?I am the grandmother of two Autistic boys, One is at a higher level that the other.His accomplishments at age 4 are outstanding but his behavorial problems are very hard on him and everyone around him.Just trying to understand what is going on in his little mind.He has speech and is progressing in that.What do you think most of the headbanging, screaming,tantrums are from ?Thank-you very much dear.

  5. Pingback: Ballastexistenz » Post Topic » I write like… a bunch of sci-fi authors?

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