In The Jaws of the Black Dogs

The following poem was written by a friend who I met while performing with him in “Great Expectations”. Robert is a beautiful man who fills me with a sense of the marvelous.

I do not know why
this black dog follows me
but she has always been there
as I pick my way along the river bank

stepping from stone to stone
and she pads along quietly
for the most part

from time to time
friends walk with me
for a while
beside the water
now sun-dappled and graceful
now stone-dark and taut
and they do not notice her
unless I gently point her out

they will ask me to sit with them
and have some tea
and I decline
she does not like the firelight

but sometimes
I pretend she isn’t there
and I sit with them
and drink
and share a song
and then I see her
at the edge of the moonlight
and I take my leave

I try to imagine
her absence
and it grieves me
there is comfort
in the presence of her
in the knowledge of her
but she gnaws
my soul
my shoes are ragged
and still we limp along

and always I know
somewhere ahead there is a waterfall
and always I know
I will not be able
to stop walking

– Robert Benz

And, I must mention the book “In the Jaws of the Black Dogs” by John Bentley Mays. This book is a fairly unvarnished look at what living with depression is like. For me, it was a breath of fresh air in that I showed me I wasn’t the only one  who felt like this. Some might find it hard to read as it no-holds-barred description of pain. But there you go. Clicking on the image will take you to Amazon, but I encourage you to go find it in to a real book store.

John Bentley Mays - In The Jaws of the Black Dogs

John Bentley Mays – In The Jaws of the Black Dogs

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