An essay concerning the reading, writing and commenting on dark poetry.
| Dark Poetry
First off, I want to make it clear that the following is simply my own feelings about this. Others will feel differently. There are no hard and fast rules concerning the writing, the reading of, or the commenting on dark poetry, or dark writing of any kind. Depression is different for everyone.
Dark poetry is something I write sometimes. Not all the time so perhaps it would be helpful if there was a category for it. This would make it easier for those that find reading such things disturbing or depressing. It is not written for that intent, at least not by me or anyone else I know that writes such things.
Why do I write dark poetry? I guess that there are two main reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, to put the things that I'm feeling into words. This is done with the intention of helping me to understand, to come to terms with something, to cope. Just the exercise of finding words means that I have to dig a bit deeper than I might otherwise do.
The second reason is to act as a release valve. When stress, pressure, depression builds up to a high level it needs an outlet. Some people paint, some play music, I write - simply because it is the only one of those three I can do at any level. It is a self-survival mechanism, without which I might well not be able to cope.
Why read dark poetry? Some of the strongest, most powerful pieces of poetry are dark in nature. Any kind of deep emotion, from the darkest depression to that moment of true love, lends itself well to poems. Anger is good too, as is desperation and longing. A feeling that runs deep will always inspire poems, simply because of its structure, or lack of it. You will, I think, find that a lot of this will be written in free-style so as to avoid the constraints over expression that more formal, rule-bearing forms place on the piece.
Some people hate dark poetry. There are those that are already depressed who will find that it makes them feel worse. There are also those that are depressed, deeply so, that find some slight comfort in being able to relate, in not feeling quite so isolated by their feelings. This is where having a category for it would come in handy, both for the writer, but more especially for the potential reader.
Commenting on dark poetry can be like walking through a minefield. I think the important thing to remember on a writing site is that it is the writing that you are commenting on. If I say 'excellent' I am talking about the poem, not saying 'it's great that you feel that way'. Comments about anything other than the writing should be done through messages, but even then you have to tread carefully. We are readers and writers, sometimes we become friends; we are not clinical psychologists or psychiatrists and we cannot diagnose each other.
Personally, if I am writing something dark, the last thing I need to see is a comment telling me how wrong I am to feel that way. I already know that. I don't need someone to come along and belittle my problems. A simple comment, showing that it has been read can be nice. A comment where someone says that they can relate to the feelings doesn't encourage me to feel that way; it simply says that somewhere out there is a person that understands how I feel, and that I am not totally alone. It doesn't make me happy, just that bit less isolated.
Having said that, maybe there are others that would respond to being told to look on the bright side. There are plenty of motivational sayings, and books, out there for those that want them. The thing is that when you are feeling down you should be allowed to feel that way. You should not feel like you have to hide it or hold it all inside.
I have heard that a fellow writer on this site has died. She was a writer of dark poetry. And I considered her, and I think that she thought of me too, as a friend. We did not talk much in the comments, but we did talk in messages. I can't help but feel that in some way I let her down, but in reality what could I have done.
There is, and always will be, a need for dark poetry to exist, in exactly the way that there is a need for sad or dark songs. That we feel that way is not wrong; it is simply a part of our lives. It is who we are and we should not have to feel condemned because of it.