~by Marsha Steed Keller

Sometimes we do it all. Sometimes we think we can do it all, and sometimes the ‘all’ falls into a pile of broken dreams, shattered promises and difficulties at our feet. Once I had it all, and then one day I woke up to the realization that nothing I thought I had existed any longer. Now that I have a degree in Psychology, I realize I was in a major depression, but at the time, I just thought that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ and needed to ‘try harder.’ I hung on with my bare fingernails teaching Seminary and clinging to my sanity through gospel study. It was a slow and painful personal climb back to joy. It took at least a year and at the end of it, my marriage was a casualty. That thin glimmer of hope was what I clung to, what pulled me from the depths of my personal hell back to the light of faith and wholeness.

I wrote this at the time, and even as I read it from the present where I have returned to a solid foundation and a joyful life, I remember acutely the feelings, the hopelessness, and the anguish. It is a poem written in Concrete form, which means that the actual layout of the words and letters create part of the art.


Black wells are useful I do suppose for
Discovering water, or perhaps oil?
Deep, unyielding are they, pulling
Down into the depths of darkness.
When I descend into my own
Well of distress and despair,
The sides seem to smother
And encase my spirit.
I hold tightly to a
Glimmer of hope
That when I
Reach the
I’ll find
Of valued oil
Pushing upward
Returning to the top.
Ever remind me please,
While I descend once more
There is not a well deep enough
From which I can not rise back again.