Hope in Dark Places
HOPE IN DARK PLACES
Poems about Depression and the Christian
David GrievePoems providing a Christian perspective on times of depression
This is a slim volume of poems about depression and the Christian by an Anglican priest who retired following a breakdown. Dedicated to all with mental health illnesses, the poems, flagged as being about ‘the companionship of Christ within [depression]’, range from relatively free flowing and raw confessions to more tightly formed and disciplined prayerful meditations. Grieve’s confrontation of what he considers a taboo subject is brave and direct (‘I dare, as a Christian, to be depressed’) even when God’s response to suicide is imagined (‘This, also, is my beloved child. / There was no more that she could do.’). However, the attribution of an explicitly stated therapeutic intention to the writing directs readers away from some of its poetic subtleties. This becomes particularly apparent when a well-intentioned epilogue and a concluding set of ‘resources for further help’ are appended to the verse like the helpline number at the end of a TV drama. This book unintentionally provokes questions about the purposes of poetry as well as the intentional ones about the presence of Christ in mental illness.
Reviewed by John Moss
Reflection / Meditation / Spirituality