Poem: Not By Power

Not By Power

The wind cannot settle.
Blowing from the sea, then
from the shore, then
along the beachline.
It swirls and twists and changes direction.
One moment salty and dank,
one moment full of the bouquet of summer flowers.
Your hair ruffles.

You have the smallest of headaches.
A tiny pain behind the eyes.
You squint into the sun. Too bright
for you to enjoy. Even the waves,
the soft waves of a perfect day,
are too loud. Too uncertain.

The demons have had their way with you this morning.
Dancing inside your head,
never long enough for you to take aim,
a swarm of gnats, with sharp little teeth.

There are two choices in such times.
You can leave. Seek silence.
or you can wait it out. Wait
for the wind to settle, Wait
for the sea to settle, wait
for the gnats to blow with a new wind
somewhere else,
and reclaim this bit of shore
as you empty yourself to the tides,
made free again not by power,
but persistence.

About this poem

Now and again a reader from my book writes me and congratulates me on beating depression.

You (or at least I) don’t beat depression. You battle it. You survive it. You, if you are lucky, outlast it. And then start all over the next day.

The picture was taken in Chatham, Mass. On Cape Cod.


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