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Table of Content

I. Preface

II. Depression
By: Charles Reznikoff

III. Cold Summers
By: Charles Bukowski

IV.The Lonely
By: Christina Perri

V. Alone

By:Edgar Allen Poe

VI. 45
By: Shinedown

VII. You’re Not Alone
By: Saosin

VIII. Epilogue

IX. Bibliography

 

Depression_by_Swiniaki

Preface

Depression is a silent illness that many people have, but few talk about. It makes a person feel as though the sadness that they carry, which is tremendous, cannot be spoken about because it is shameful. We live in a society where talking about mental illness is a taboo—because you cannot show you are physically hurting, then you must not be hurting at all. Severe depression can take years to work through, and some need medication to combat it. If left untreated depression can kill. By making the person suffer through so much guilt, anxiety, and latency in their life a person can be driven to suicide. This poem anthology is to show that depression is very real and so are the consequences of it. More than that though, it is to show that a person who has depression is not alone, and that there are ways to get help and it will get better.

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Depression
By:Charles Reznikoff

So proudly she came into the subway car
all who were not reading their newspapers saw
the head high and the slow tread—
coat wrinkled and her belongings in a paper bag,
face unwashed and the grey hair uncombed;
simple soul, who so early in the morning when only the
poorest go to work,
stood up in the subway and outshouting the noise:
“Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, I have a baby at home who
is sick,
and I have no money, no job;” who did not have box or cap
to take coins—
only his hands,
and, seeing only faces turned away,
did not even go down the aisle as beggars do;

the fire had burnt through the floor:
machines and merchandise had fallen into
the great hole, this zero that had sucked away so many years
and now, seen at last, the shop itself;
the ceiling sloped until it almost touched the floor—

a strange curve
in the lines and oblongs of his life;
drops were falling
from the naked beams of the floor above,
from the soaked plaster, still the ceiling;
drops of dirty water were falling
on his clothes and hat and on his hands;
the thoughts of business
gathered in his bosom like black water
in footsteps through a swamp;

waiting for a job, she studied the dusty table at which she sat
and the floor which had been badly swept—
the office-boy had left the corners dirty;
a mouse ran in and out under the radiator
and she drew her feet away
and her skirt about her legs, but the mouse went in and out
about its business; and she sat waiting for a job
in an unfriendly world of men and mice;

walking along the drive by twos and threes,
talking about jobs,
jobs they might get and jobs they had had,
never turning to look at the trees or the river
glistening in the sunlight or the automobiles
that went swiftly past them—
in twos and threes talking about jobs;

in the drizzle
four in a row
close to the curb
that passers-by might pass,
the squads stand
waiting for soup,
a slice of bread
and shelter—
grimy clothes
their uniform;
on a stoop
stiffly across the steps
a man
who has fainted;
each in that battalion
eyes him,
but does not move from his place,
well drilled in want

Poem Analysis:

Depression can happen to anyone, and for any reason. You could live a normal life and the normal of it all could affect you and give you depression. Normal life stresses, such as getting a job or finding a place to live can give you depression. This poem, “Depression”, really highlights that situation in everyday life can affect a person. Poverty, homelessness, a person doesn’t have to had gone through a traumatic life or have seen the battlefield to be depressed. The way that the author goes into detail about the a place that has gone to ruin and burned down, a great symbolism about how dreams burned down and shattered as the man stands in the middle and has his hat and hand wet from it. Broken dreams can affect a person and cause depression. The title even in itself is “Depression”, which is exactly the topic of this anthology. The use of words and different stories that the author uses is a great way to show the different reasons for depression, and the use of figurative speech helps bring the story’s scenery to life. The author doesn’t use overly confusing words or grandiose terms to confuse its reader. He does use a lot of symbolism. This poem isn’t has straight forward as “Cold Summers” and is not a first person narration, but that’s another reason why I like it. It shows that different people have depression, different people in different situations. I think that’s what touched me the most is that the problems that these people have and the reason why they have depression is some of the most common problems we have as a society today. Our biggest problems as a society today is mental illness, obesity, and poverty. Obesity and poverty can cause depression and a lot of people just say “Well don’t be fat”, “Don’t be poor”, or “Don’t be depressed” and it’s so much more complicated than that, and this poem shows it. It shows that different people with different stories have a harder time just not being in the situation they are in and that the depression that they feel is just so much more. It’s not something you can snap out of.

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Cold Summers
By: Charles Bukowski

not as bad as it could be
but bad enough: in and out
of the hospital, in and out of
the doctor’s office, hanging
by a thread: “you’re in
remission, no, wait, 2 new
cells here, and your
platelets are way down.
have you been drinking?
we’ll probably have to take
another bone marrow test
tomorrow.”

the doctor is busy, the
waiting room in the cancer
ward is crowded.

the nurses are pleasant, they
joke with me.
I think that’s nice, joking while in the
valley of the
shadow of death.
my wife is with me.
I am sorry for my wife, I am
sorry for all the
wives.

then we are down in the
parking lot.
she drives sometimes.
I drive sometimes.
I drive now.
it’s been a cold summer.
“maybe you should take a
little swim we get home,”
says my
wife.

it’s a warmer day than
usual.

“sure,” I say and pull out of
the parking lot.

she’s a brave woman, she
acts like everything is
as usual.

but now I’ve got to pay for all
those profligate years;
there were so many of
them.
the bill has come due
and they’ll accept only
one final
payment.

I might as well take a
swim.

Poem Analysis:

This Poem shows depression in another light; Depression from a disease such as cancer is very common, certainly when recovery or remission is far away. In the Poem “Cold Summers”, the author talks about how his cancer isn’t end term yet, but that it’s bad enough since he hasn’t gone in remission. “not as bad as it could be but bad enough: in and out of the hospital, in and out of the doctor’s office, hanging by a thread”. The voice throughout the poem is very apathetic, very sad yet not so sad that you would think he is in severely depressed. The speaker sounds numb than anything, and is bitter about some things. He states “the nurses are pleasant, they joke with me. I think that’s nice, joking while in the valley of the shadow of death”. The title “Cold Summers” is to show that the speaker is cold because of his prognosis, even if it is warm. He feels sadness for the wives who are going to lose their husbands, including his wife. He thinks that some of the reckless things he’s done in his life is being paid for by having cancer and that the only way that it can be paid back is with his life. What really works for this poem is the tone and the word usage; it’s not too complicated, and flows very well as if it was someone’s thoughts. It transports you into the speakers mind, and shows what a cancer goes through. This really touches me because I have worked with many cancer patients and I always try to joke with them, hoping that it lifts their spirits because I can only try to be in their shoes, but I know that unless you have cancer, that you can never know the struggles. Depression is in everyone, and has many reasons for it, including physical illness; I try to keep that in mind when I have patients and try to joke with them and make them smile even just once during my shift.
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The Lonely
By: Christina Perri

2am; where do I begin,
Crying off my face again.
The silent sound of loneliness
Wants to follow me to bed.

I’m a ghost of a girl that I want to be most.
I’m the shell of a girl that I used to know well.

Dancing slowly in an empty room,
Can the lonely take the place of you?
I sing myself a quiet lullaby.
Let you go and let the lonely in
To take my heart again.

Too afraid to go inside
For the pain of one more loveless night.
But the loneliness will stay with me
And hold me til I fall asleep.

I’m a ghost of a girl that I want to be most.
I’m the shell of a girl that I used to know well.

Dancing slowly in an empty room,
Can the lonely take the place of you?
I sing myself a quiet lullaby.
Let you go and let the lonely in
To take my heart again.

Broken pieces of
A barely breathing story
Where there once was love
Now there’s only me and the lonely.

Dancing slowly in an empty room
Can the lonely take the place of you?
I sing myself a quiet lullaby
Let you go and let the lonely in
To take my heart again.

Poem Analysis:

The lonely is a beautiful song that shows how depression affects a person who just got out of a relationship. Depression can make you feel like a ghost of who you use to be, or who you want to be most. It makes a person feel like they can’t be social or that weight loss or gain seems impossible. Christina Perri nails this right on the head as she states in her song “I’m a ghost of a girl that I want to be most. I’m the shell of a girl that I used to know well.” The lonely may be a personification of depression as it takes the place of a person very dear to the person who is speaking to us, even stating that they are going to “let you go and let the lonely in to take my heart again.” The song starts very strong as it begins with “2 am, where do I begin? Crying off my face again. The silent sound of loneliness, wants to follow me to bed”. I can relate personally to this as I have cried at 2am and the sound of silence in the room feels more crushing than anything else. The worst part is having to fall asleep still feeling so much sadness and depression instead of falling asleep at least peacefully. The title “The Lonely” Refers to the personification of depression, sadness, and loneliness that Christina Perri goes back to in her song. This song is strong because it shows that a person feels truly alone and trying to sleep at night while depressed can be one of the most challenging things to do. That even singing a “quiet lullaby” is better than hearing the “Silent sound of loneliness”. This song uses the perfect words and symbolism to show how depression can truly be a terrible thing at night certainly for those who have it clinically or severely.

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Alone
By: Edgar Allen Poe

 From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Poem Analysis:

Depression can make a person see themselves as different as other people, and Edgar Allen Poe opens up with just this statement “From Childhood’s hour I have not been, as others were”. Edgar Allen Poe had a horrible life full of misery and loss starting at a young age when he lost his mother to tuberculosis. This poem “Alone” Rings out to me because it truly shows Poe’s depression. He states he was not like the other children, and that he was not able to bring forth the passions that he had (“I could not bring My passions from a common spring”). He couldn’t get happy about the things that made him happy, which depression often does. It’s hard to truly be happy about something because depression makes a person feel like they have an anchor in their heart. He saw the demon that was his depression from everything that could be beautiful and terrible to him. He saw it as the demon that was in his view, always. Poe uses a lot of descriptive words to show the many things in his life that should be beautiful and terrifying, making this more terrifying that all he sees in the end (since it is the last line in the poem) is “of a demon in my view”. What really rings out to me is that he wasn’t happy like the other children, he wasn’t able to bring forth the joy or the sorrow that was in him—he was numb to the world. He was alone. The title in itself shows how depressed he was by stating simply “Alone”. He could not love anything with other people, he didn’t know how to be social or to have a friend. Depression makes us distance ourselves from people and see ourselves as too different to interact with them. This poem speaks out to me because it really shows how a person can isolate themselves because of depression, and how it can ultimately cost them their happiness.

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45
By: Shinedown

Send away for a priceless gift
One not subtle, one not on the list
Send away for a perfect world
One not simply, so absurd
In these times of doing what you’re told
Keep these feelings, no one knows

What ever happened to the young man’s heart
Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart

[Chorus:]
And I’m staring down the barrel of a 45,
Swimming through the ashes of another life
No real reason to accept the way things have changed
Staring down the barrel of a 45

Send a message to the unborn child
Keep your eyes open for a while
In a box high up on the shelf, left for you, no one else
There’s a piece of a puzzle known as life
Wrapped in guilt, sealed up tight

What ever happened to the young man’s heart
Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart

[Chorus]

Everyone’s pointing their fingers
Always condemning me
And nobody knows what I believe
I believe

[Chorus]

And I’m staring down the barrel of a 45,
And I’m swimming through the ashes of another life
There’s no real reason to accept the way things have changed
Staring down the barrel of a 45

45
Staring down the barrel of a 45

Poem Analysis:

I chose this song because I truly believe that it shows what suicide truly is. Many people who have never had suicidal thoughts wonder why people do it and what thoughts are going through their minds, and this poem does a beautiful job of painting what depression can lead to—suicide. Pain, guilt, and change are all central causes of which depression spirals around. The guilt of not doing “What you are told” and messing up a major aspect of your life. When a person breaks down and contemplate suicide it does really feel like they have “slowly fell apart”. What makes this poem work is that it’s not overly complicated; it’s to the point. The speaker is holding a 45 caliber pistol to his head and thinking about what his life was like before, and how he doesn’t want it to change. Many people end their lives because life has become too much, and the pain that they are feeling is greater than what they can cope with. This point is clearly shown when the speaker states “Whatever happened to the young man’s heart? Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart”. The meaning of the title 45 is the caliber of the gun he is holding to his head. This song really speaks to me because I have been there, unfortunately. Depression can push a person to their limits and then beyond. It can feel that the world is being “absurd” and you wish there was a perfect world where you didn’t feel this bad and all the things that happened could be taken away or washed away. When the author mentions the unborn child I believe that he is speaking about the people he leaves behind and the guild he feels because of leaving them and the pain they will have when he pulls the trigger.

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You’re Not Alone
By:Saosin

It’s just like him
To wander off in the evergreen park
Slowly searching for any sign
Of the ones he used to love..

He says he’s got nothing left to live for
(He says he’s got nothing left…)
And this time I think you’ll know..

You’re not alone
There is more to this, I know
You can make it out
You will live to tell

She’s just like him
Spoiled rotten
Confused by the lies she’s been fed
And she’s searching for no one..
(But herself)
Her eyes turn to green and she seems to be happy
That she is here
And this time I think you’ll know…

You’re not alone
There is more to this, I know
You can make it out
You will live to tell

You’re not alone
There is more to this, I know
You can make it out

(There is more to know)

We’re not alone
There is more to this, I know
You can make it out
You will live to tell..
(So tell me)

You’re not alone
There is more to this, I know
You can make it out
(Make it out)
You will live to tell
(Live to tell)
You’re not alone
There is more to this, I know
(And I know)
You can make it out
You will live to tell..

You are not alone.
You’re not, you’re not alone.


Poem Analysis:

This poem is a message to everyone who is depressed that “You can make it out, you are not alone, and you will live to tell”. It’s a message about suicide prevention and that there are other ways and that it will be okay. Depression is a terrible “silent illness” that is hard to see from the stand point of a person wanting to help and it’s hard to talk about from the sufferer’s point as well. A lot of times depression will make a person feel as though they are alone. Depression can make a person feel as though the people they love are walking away from them or they’ve changed; “To wander off in the evergreen park, slowly searching for any sign, of the ones he used to love.” A lot of times a person with depression will say that they have “nothing left to live for”. What makes this song work is the repetition of “You are not alone” because it does take a lot of repetition to a depressed or suicidal person that they are not alone for them to understand that they aren’t and rethink their thoughts. That they will live through this, that they will “Live to tell”. The girl who is spoiled rotten might be one who had a good life but is still depressed, and doesn’t know who she is anymore. She becomes alive though as she realizes that she is here, that she is alive and that she has a way to find out who she is. Depression is terrible and people who are contemplating suicide or who think that the pain they feel is too much need to be reminded and told over and over again that they are not alone, they will get through this, and it will be okay.

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Depression, and other “Silent” illnesses like it have been a common social problem in our society today. One of the biggest issues is that no one will speak about it—those who know of it are too scared to talk about it and those who have it are embarrassed about it because it has been shamed as a “Weakness” to have depression. A person who has depression feels alone and isolated by their own fears that they are not good enough for anyone around them. Different people can have depression and there are different reasons for depression. Traumatic pasts do not have to be the only reason that a person has depression. This anthology was meant as a way to show the different types of depression and the different reason people have them. It was to show, as well, that the belief that people with depression were alone, and that people have gone through this and they have come out of a it a stronger person. The pain of loneliness can sometimes destroy a person and tear their heart apart, and they commit suicide. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This anthology is to show also the mentality of people who commit suicide or have thoughts of committing suicide at the time of the breakdown. Depression is terrible, suicide is horrid, but there is always help and no matter what no one is alone in this.

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Bibliography:

Art comic strip:solar-citrus.tumblr.com

Art painting: “A state of Depression” By Nicoletta Ceccoli (featured Image)

“Depression” http://swiniaki.deviantart.com/art/Depression-60274662

Academy Of America Poets. http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/charles-reznikoff. 2010. 27 09 2014.

AZLyrics. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/christinaperri/thelonely.html. 2010. 27 09 2014.

—. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/saosin/yourenotalone.html. 2010. 27 09 2014.

AZlyrics. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/shinedown/45.html. 2010. 27 09 2014.

Boyle, Russel. http://russellboyle.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/cold-summer-by-charles-bukowski/. 24 05 2014. 27 09 2014.

Last FM. http://www.last.fm/music/Saosin/+wiki. 16 01 2014. 27 09 2014.

Perri, Christina. http://www.christinaperri.com/about. 2014. 27 09 2014.

Poe Museum. http://www.poemuseum.org/life.php. n.d. 27 09 2014.

Poetry Foundation. : http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/charles-bukowski. 2010. 27 09 2014.

—. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175776. 1993. Poem. 27 09 2014.

—. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/182062. 2014. 27 09 2014.

Shinedown. http://www.shinedown.com/about. n.d. 27 09 2014.

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