I am awake.

That sense of dread,

Get up, what’s the point? Keep my eyes closed,

Stay in bed,

But no point either, no rest for me; no sleep.

The day is night, the morning dusk

That perpetual sense of loss,

Yet, get up, I must.


How do I start a day, where do I begin?

One foot first, and then the other,

Brush my teeth, brush my hair,

in case you see that I don’t care,

Or get a hint of my insanity.

No good-hair-day for me,

A Groundhog Day of unbearable similarity.


The sun comes up but for me it never rises,

And so, to dress, but what to wear?

All my clothes are grey to me,

I don’t need to suit another,

Why bother with sartorial surprises?

For this perpetual, deathly winter’s day.


In the bathroom mirror, my face is grey

And tells me how I don’t fit in,

To your world, your lives,

With nothing to offer or to say,

Of your flamboyant work, your goal.

And I am circling you all

A distant lonely, small grey fish

That cannot join the sparkling shoal.


I’m not here, this isn’t me,

You don’t know who I am; I have dis-ease,

Look beneath, look further, deeper,

Ignore my look of confidence and breeze,

And you might glimpse,

My dark offensive sleeper,

Why I don’t deserve to be known,

Why I may contaminate you with my need and shame,

And then you would never look at me again, the same.


But you will never know, the real me.

I can walk, and talk, and scratch a smile,

Write, present, negotiate,

Click, log on, log off, make coffee, tea,

I stood at the water cooler and laughed,

About your recent date,

And you sat with me and saw the lunch I ate,

And queried how I stay so thin.

But you won’t be with me later

When I scrape my dinner into the bin.

I will never give you the impression,

That you don’t know me as I really am

And that I suffer, mutely, from depression.


John Harris      September 2017