Mental Health Poems

This is a fairly eclectic set of poems, but all of them in some way relate to mental health struggles, I think. First, we have a poem I wrote in high school, which I think reads as rather arrogant and self-involved, but not as bad as I expected, or as I think most of my high school poetry was:

“Wanderer in Darkness”

This poem, which I wrote while crying at my desk in grad school most of a decade ago is still one of my favorites. It’s about some of my experiences with depression and despair, but I am also proud of managing to write this extended a Biblical allusion, especially while on the edge of tears.

“Prayer of the Unelect”

Next, we have a poem that I wrote while escaping from my first attempt at grad school: it’s fundamentally about trauma and some of the not-very-healthy coping mechanisms I developed while trying to deal with it.


The following two poems are attempts to address my trauma about having been circumcised as an infant. The first, in particular, I am quite proud of, and am amused that it’s the closest thing to Talmudic commentary that I’ve written, since it’s explicitly a response to a line in the Talmud. The second, I think, is less good, but perhaps still worth reading

“A Precept in the Flesh”

“On Great Fields”

The last four poems, I am generally less satisfied with, but I think are perhaps worth including anyway. “The Changeling” was an attempt to write about some of my struggles with being an outsider because of autism. “Fire and the Sea” and “Dissolution” are attempts to express the pain of depression, though the former in particular is far too Byronic…it even quotes a bit of Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Finally, tapestry was meant to be about the difficulty of building a chosen family, but I’ve never really been happy with how it came out.

“The Changeling”

“Fire and the Sea”