Tag Archives: depression

The hardest spell

Expecto Serotonin
The hardest spell
It needs joy to begin
Expecto Serotonin
Continued joy to win
To leave the dark hell
Expecto serotonin
The hardest spell

This may be the first time that I’ve managed a #triolet, the suggested form today at napowrimo.net: “For today’s prompt (optional, as always), I’d like to challenge you to write a triolet. These eight-line poems involve repeating lines and a tight rhyme scheme.”

I didn’t come up with “expecto serotonin”, it was a fabulous reply on Facebook when I wrote I wanted a Defense Against the Dark Moods class, just like Harry Potter has Defense Against the Dark Arts classes.

The beautiful wand in the picture was made by a wizard called My Son.


The hunger lounge

The preparations are finished I think

There’s a sofa on the left
where the coffee goes
(there’s room for cappuccinos, espressos, lattes and americanos)

A sofa on the right
where the sugar goes
(cake, cookies, chocolate, candy – we call it the C-section)

A sofa in the middle
with a ‘grease’ tag
(that’s where the crisps sit, the fried food, the melted butter)

There’s more:
a recliner for alcohol
a stool for nuts
on the sides you’ll find
a closet for compliments
and drawers for connections

The hunger lounge has everything
– everything but guests;
no matter what I ingest
it remains empty

I’m aching for a party
but there’s no one there

Today’s prompt at napowrimo.net was introduced with this sentence: “Our optional prompt for the day takes its cue from how poetry can help us to make concrete the wild abstraction of a feeling like grief.”


Black dog shelter

They’re hard to resist
these puppy-eyed
black dogs
of all breeds
who look at me

I can see they’d like to live with me
all of them
the sad one, the surly one
the grim one, the morose one
I tell them I’ve got a black dog already
but they don’t understand

They just look at me
and whimper

It’s not that I don’t like dogs
I do
It’s not that I don’t like black
I do

It’s just that
a nest of angry little puppies
got there
before you

The prompt for today at napowrimo.net: Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something mysterious and spooky!” I wrote this poem in anticipation of #NaPoWriMo. I was so eager to get started that I couldn’t wait. Then I did something I never do: I made a voice recording of it. I didn’t feel comfortable recording myself, so I started with a whisper, like a test recording. When I heard the result, I realised it fit the poem perfectly. I’ve tried to make a better recording afterwards, but all of them missed the unease of that first attempt. So I decided to keep that one.

Black dog shelter

Poem and drawing by Angela van Son

Things that could deliver

IMG_20190325_100332I’m not planning on taking a shower

though it would make me feel better

I don’t think I’ll comb my hair

though it could make me feel better

I might not brush my teeth

though it might make me feel better

I don’t want to go out of the house

though it will make me feel better

I don’t want to see friends

though it can make me feel better

I don’t want to exercise

but it shall make me feel better

Mental health note

a depressed brain

doesn’t want to


so don’t


for the




and be gentle



I’ll visit

a friend who

is healthy to be around

I’ll go there on my bike

and buy fresh bread to enjoy


my hair

is combed

and i pledge to you

I will brush my teeth (soon)


I repeat

a depressed brain

doesn’t want to


so don’t


for the




and be gentle

This poem may grow over time, if I find new important things to add to it. Feel free to contribute to it, build on it, make it your own. Yesterday I read poetry shouldn’t be therapy. That’s great advice to create good poetry. But today, I want to reverse it. I don’t need to write a great poem. I need inspiration to get healthy behaviour done instead of postponed. As procrastination coach, I work from the motto ‘by any (healthy) means necessary. If a poem does the job, let the job get done.

If you decide to build on it, please leave a link. I’d love to read it!

By the way, the prompt for NaPoWriMo day 10 was a very different one, on using local weather vocabulary. Instead I aimed for ways to improve my personal weather. I didn’t want to add another rainy poem to the gloomy ones I’ve written already… This poem is building on yesterdays one, called Things that fail to deliver.



This black dog of mine
is a bit of a mongrel
though admittedly
I wouldn’t care for a pedigree one

This impolite piece of shit
humps the leg
of everyone who feeds it
with pleading puppy eyes
acting all cute
and very, very hungry

I’ve made him a bag
all covered up in smiles
to carry him around
take him everywhere I go

I cough when he barks
or rather sneeze
– it explains the tears better

Just like any mongrel
he showed up one day

I didn’t understand
when people asked me about a black dog
sharing my plate with me
or pointed out
where he slept on my bed

I was certain I knew what dogs look like
Four legs, a tail, a face that doesn’t look
like a cat’s one, I mean
it’s not that difficult, right?

I still find it hard to see him
but I can feel him
licking my hand
He gives a paw when I ask for it
I just can’t teach him how to play fetch

“Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else?” The prompt at napowrimo.net was a positive one.

This poem is dedicated to all involuntary black dog parents. I wish you a leash, a collar, a muzzle and a good veterinarian.


Show don’t tell (paint by numbers)

Depression, perfect crime of the mind
unsolvable, a technical achievement
mysterious, unattributed, unkind

Depression is a joke
where no one’s laughing
Depression is a movie
screened without light


Show, don’t tell
I can’t be bothered –
You want a poem painted in black?

Mark my words
with a giant marker
or use spray paint
for all I care

Today’s prompt was the scent of a flower. Safe to say I’m off prompt – as we are always at liberty to do. The prompts are there to provide inspiration, not pressure.

This poem demanded to be written and it demanded to be shared. I obey.

Day 27 of #OctPoWriMo done. Four days to go…

Unfree matter

What is one to do
when one has a head that doesn’t stop
that’s on full time
that doesn’t know how to take a break
that doesn’t do empty
that laughs at zen
that cries at zen
that screams for control
that tries, tries, tries to keep the void away
and anger and fear and all threats
whereas the absence of those, is the absence of life too

I can’t say I long for death

dead flowers is as far as I’ll go, and easily
cause I’m not very good at taking care of plants
they don’t talk to me
I don’t talk to them
and I’d probably be pissed off if they DID talk to me
because COME ON there are too many people talking to me already
pulling my strings pushing my buttons and i have buttons everywhere EVERYWHERE
I could be a goddamn shop
a haberdasherie

not a hasherie
that would be a Dutch drugs boutique

I want pills pills pills
not that I don’t dislike pills, I do
but I need them
I want happy pills
HAPPY pills
can you imagine that?
there was at time when I wouldn’t even take paracetamol
and now I want pills pills
pills that will make everything better
pills that will make me feel better
pills that will keep me from losing it with my child
because I’m endlessly fed up with his behaviour
and then feel totally embarrassed because the child’s seven for pete’s sake
shouldn’t he have a mother who keeps it together
who raises him so that she never feels the need to flip a finger
who moulds, him shapes him
grinds him like a coffee bean
and turns him into the best coffee in the world –

now that you mention it
it doesn’t sound nice to utilize your child to make coffee

what is one to do
when one has a head that doesn’t stop
that’s on full time
that tries, tries, tries to keep the void away?

This was today’s prompt at napowrimo.net: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.”

I really wanted to try this prompt before I read other people’s work, to see what would happen. Now that I’ve written it, I want to post it straight away instead of saving it for day 30. Let’s see what tomorrow brings 🙂

No bop, no glory

Well, the sky was grey, but she never complained about it, because everything was grey anyhow, so she didn’t notice that sky, she didn’t even look at it, really.

Colour is overrated anyhow, you know, all those poets and painters always going on about it, but truth be told, colour never fed the hungry and didn’t attain world peace either, right? So bugger off with all your pinks and yellow and greens. Ash grey and cinereous will do, thank you very much. Tyrants!

So 6 lines, 8 lines, circles, squares, what do I care? Bop ‘till you drop, but make it fast, I have other things to do.

Again, I tried my hand on one of the prompts I’ve skipped, and digressed 🙂 I wanted to keep this for later this month, when I’ll have to do a day of travelling. But I feel really bad after a huge fight with my son this morning, so this fits my mood. And the amount of inspiration I feel at the moment to create something new 😦

I’ll have to have another go at the bop some other day: In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain.

Here’s a beautiful example of a bop, by a fellow participant: She just could not conform to their ways.

I bet

I bet
when a black dog
is depressed
it has a white man
in its head

To bark or not to bark
that’s not
a friggin’ question!

It’s National Poetry Month again! This poem is loosely based on the first prompt on napowrimo.net. Day 1. Happy reading and writing everybody!