Deep Gloom and Despair One Dark, Bipolar Night

When sick with gloom and mental pain,
I all alone bemoaned my state
like one that had slid back again
into despair which damned my fate.

Disconsolate beyond midnight,
I troubled dear God with my cries
as I bore this bipolar plight
with burning, red, tear-laden eyes.

The night was long—I was distraught;
I longed for rest, to help forget
this sorrow’s hold that’s got me caught—
like victims of a crashing jet!

Inside, I felt the Reaper’s scythe
as I thought of my suicide;
I could slit my wrist with a knife
or swallow pills to end this sad ride.

Or, like Sylvia Plath, I can
stick my head in a gas oven;
it’s painless—sure. (But then why plan
an end that’s clichéd and so certain?).

I have thought of Virginia Woolf,
how she drowned herself in a lake:
I, too, felt swallowed in a gulf
of swirling sadness that could take

me to my death! Why did I feel
so alone and unloved now, as
if no one cared? Why did I feel
so lonely and unvalued? How was

I to know—that had I killed myself—
would all my loved ones have missed me?
“Yes,” I thought:—so I willed myself
to live (as I now turned misty)!

So I then found solace in this—
that family and friends did care;
and if I died I would be missed:
so I endured the Deep Despair.

And then sleep came. And I had peace.
And in the morn, I woke to arising—
Joy broke in and gave me new lease:
and thus my life I ceased despising!

–Ngoc Nguyen

An Elegy for Dear Mother

Dear Mother—I longed for your love:
so when you passed away I wept;
as your spirit rose up above
my stinging tears, which were inept,
flowed as we began to remove
your cold, silent corpse as it slept—.

Days passed—they gathered for your wake,
a soothing time that was not sad
or grave as they tried for my sake
to pay their respects and seem glad:
as you laid there (to never take
a breath again), I could’ve gone mad!

The hour arrived—the funeral
took place on a cold, winter morn
as if dream-like, strange and surreal.
Distraught, I felt bereaved and torn
as the last rites and burial
made me shrill with grief from Death’s scorn—.

–Ngoc Nguyen