Saturday, February 12, 2011

Waxing placid, sitting ceremonious

Vaughan Bell calls this lyric by rapper Akala "a remarkably accurate account of the learned helplessness theory of depression:

It's just something inside my head

I wasn’t born this way
My condition was learned
Once bitten twice shy I don’t wanna be burned
When you travel a passage
That leaves your heart ravaged
Your mind waxes placid to limit the damage
Your reaction is passive
Whether you like it or not
You cannot win whether you fight it or not
Your brain swallows the pain and buries it instead
Now.. It’s just something inside my head.

I am reminded of another dispatch from the post-traumatic emotional graveyard by that whispering 19th century rapper, Emily Dickinson:

After great pain, a formal feeling comes —
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs —
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round —
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought —
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone —

This is the Hour of Lead —
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow —
First — Chill — then Stupor — then the letting go —

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