Sunday, April 22, 2018

thin red line

I wrote this for SingPoWriMo 2016 (the local variant of NaPoWriMo), and was posted at my other blog. The poem is inspired by a news report on depression, on an actual case where a widow wanted to jump from her block of flats, and her mother-in-law talked her out of it.

image by dsnake1, done with Sketchpad 4.0

thin red line

Sanity and madness, life and death, is just divided by a razor cut. Or a thin red line, and that is why, tied between her wrist and that of her young child, is a thin red thread. Standing at the rooftop of her apartment block, with the rapidly sinking sun, the dark clouds do look so much closer. As the wind slips around her hair, her legs, she takes a step forward towards the edge, her hand tightly holding her child's, the blackbirds watching, squabbling. The ground below is a dark abyss and the lights of the city are just mocking eyes. And then a soft voice, so close, so helpless.

mommy, i am cold.

And all the fears and hatred and pity fly off into the night, as she holds her child, feeling her warmth and she cries it all out and the child puts her hands on the mother's cheeks, and she cries some more, and more.

She tears off the red thread binding them, then, like a lotus growing out of mud, holding her child's hand, she walks back down the stairs, back to their home, as the stars start to twinkle in the sky above.

candlelight -
her face


“I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed but all I could do was to get drunk again.” 

Charles Bukowski

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

the image sets the tone perfectly for you haibun - it is both a dangerous line to cross and also the threads which connect - well done!

22 April, 2018 23:54  
Blogger brudberg said...

Somewhere I've heard that talking someone of a suicide is the easiest thing you can do... just seeing a person will make all the difference... but we are all too scared to try...

23 April, 2018 00:32  
Blogger Sherry Marr said...

I am thankful she loved her child enough to turn away from that edge. You have painted this so clearly. I can see her and the child. There is a VERY thin line between sanity and the brain tipping over into madness. I have seen that in some people close to me. The miracle is so many of us stay grounded and steady.

23 April, 2018 00:41  
Anonymous Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

All I can say is wow! The story and your poem....both so real and emotional. That opening line was also incredible.

23 April, 2018 03:11  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

A great story. Well penned Sir.
And, a familiar situation ending with Charles Bukowski.

23 April, 2018 04:38  
Blogger Wendy Bourke said...

A moving and impactful haibun - brilliantly rendered. Awesome writing!

23 April, 2018 04:48  
Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

There is a thin line that separates us from depression.. from losing hope and plunging into despair. A most potent haibun.

23 April, 2018 05:00  
Anonymous dsnake1 said...


thanks for the visit! :)


That's why we have those SOS lines, in case a suicide needs to talk to someone. we have to really go inside a suicide's mind to understand what pushes them, and yes most times we are too scared to intervene.


thank you. i wrote this from a news report. i won't know what her mother-in-law talked to her, but she probably save a few lives, not just one.


thank you!


ah, Bukowski. familiar situation too, when i was very much younger. :)


thank you!


it is.
thank you! :)

23 April, 2018 11:55  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Very moving!

23 April, 2018 15:40  
Anonymous dsnake1 said...

thank you, Rosemary! :)

23 April, 2018 21:43  
Blogger Myrna R. said...

Such despair, then hope for the child. This was beautifully written. It exemplifies the pain of the suicidal.

23 April, 2018 23:27  
Anonymous dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Myrna. i liked to show that even in the deepest despair, there is still hope.

24 April, 2018 22:25  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

This heartbreaking and so well done.

25 April, 2018 03:25  
Anonymous dsnake1 said...

thank you, Mama Zen! :)

25 April, 2018 21:46  
Blogger A Cuban In London said...

Sad and powerful at the same time.

Greetings from London.

28 April, 2018 06:37  
Anonymous dsnake1 said...

Hi Cuban, glad to see you! :)

28 April, 2018 22:13  

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