Have you met the Black Dog?
But I am not always aware
Of his brooding presence.
He never forces his attentions,
But let the natural sway
Of life have its way
With me and he is there.
If I acknowledge his hold over me
And face him down,
Overwhelmed I drown
In the baleful depths of his stare.
The blackness saturates every pore.
The abyss yawns;
Temptation beckons me
To submit to his vice-like embrace.
Suffocation follows my submission,
Midst the whirling cloud
A dead weight, loud
In its silent, crushing pain.
At length he yields his grip.
Stillness in the deep;
A rock beneath my feet;
A deafening emptiness heralds a glimmer of hope.
I cry with relief at his departure.
He sits benignly,
Eyeing me with a fixed and watchful look.
The Black Dog will never leave for good.
A friend by my side,
Ready to chide –
And to return should I misuse others – or myself.
The black tentacles encompass my heart,
The reddish purple, lava-like, swirls in my guts,
My breath shortens and accelerates,
My heart rate tunes into the changing movement
And adjusts itself accordingly.
My whole system is on alert,
Remembering why it is doing this.
What happened to me in days gone by
When I was ill-equipped to deal with
A situation related somehow to this new alarm.
My body is wise beyond imagining.
My body knows what it needs to do
To warn me of imminent danger or potential pain.
Some elemental precognition sets in motion
The familiar warning system.
I greet this feeling with some fond familiarity;
“Hello Fear”, I say, “I wonder why you are here today?”
Always the fear informs me. I thank it.
As I acknowledge it, Fear gives me space to survey it,
To compute the necessity for action – or not.
What I fear has not yet happened.
That is its wondrous paradox.
The object of fear may be physically before me,
Or an anticipated happening,
Tickling the edges then the forefront of my mind.
“Fear”, say I, “I am willing to negotiate.
“We shall share intelligence.
We can work out together what I need to do.
Do I need to fight, really? Do I need to flee, honestly?
Let me rest in your embrace instead.”
Accepting Fear’s feeling, I listen to its silent communication.
As I see it in its clarity, it passes through me,
The clinging thoughts flying away like thistledown.
Fear is not vanquished – it is honoured and listened to.
All that remains is the truth of now.
Fire Fairy, Web Weaver,
Mythical yet skilful.
Connected to the Earth.
Pet lover, people lover,
Gatherer of the suffering.
Coming to full power now,
Independent spirit, but
Thriving on connection.
Sensitive and vulnerable,
Yet task master to boot.
Mixing her magic, with
Potions in her cauldron.
Adding what is needed
For the treatment that’s required.
I’m grateful that she’s human,
This lovely force of nature.
Worthy of her longings,
Unique and precious soul.
Mo’s rivals in close order.
It seemed East Africa conspired
To find a new marauder.
‘It’s suicidal’ came the whisper
Of the keen observers.
But no, the athletes worked as teams
To test Mo’s true resources.
Again, again it swelled and surged,
New leaders in the battle.
But Mo held steady, two thirds back;
Those mind games proved his metal.
At 12 laps down of 25
The crowd began to wonder.
Could even Mo survive this test –
This man they sought to plunder.
From time to time Mo passed the field
As if to show his presence.
They surged again, not breaking him,
Field down to 12, the pace increased
Again – the stats will show this.
But still they went, relentless in
Their quest to have Mo vanquished.
The last 4 laps in 3 mins 10,
Mo spiked and jostled often.
400 metres still to go –
Opponents would not soften.
With one lap left we dreamed the dream,
The sound in great ascendance;
Then down the back straight, stumbling hard,
Mo dug for all his weapons.
Again he gathered all his strength,
He pushed into the top three.
With 80 metres still to go,
Mo strode out to make history.
“YOU LEGEND, MO!”, the cry went up
From Stratford ‘s great arena.
60,000 rose as one,
Saluting his achievement.
That race was harsh and brutal, and
Mo’s rivals were the real thing.
They threw the kitchen sink at him,
But Mo could not be beaten.
A fairytale you gave us, Mo,
Through grit and huge endeavour.
Arise, Sir Mo, you truly are
Great Britain’s National Treasure.
I’m over all of this,
The striving to be somewhere else,
Or someone else.
To be prettier, slimmer,
Or cleverer, or more successful,
In the future.
To constantly look beyond today,
Backwards or forwards.
Life‘s progression delivers progress
Without my help.
Its lessons fluctuate in their gravity
With a curious wisdom.
I’m still alive, I still survive,
So why not thrive,
Experiencing and embracing every nuance
Of today only?
I open my heart fully to the mysteries,
To the joys and sorrows
That may occur today.
Today’s happenings are unique,
Never to be repeated.
I don’t want to miss a moment.
Bring it on, I say!
A kindly word,
A cheerful smile,
My morning stroll –
About a mile.
The dog’s soft fur,
His jaunty gait,
The ‘stop and drop’
That makes me wait.
A turn of phrase
That makes me grin,
Bring warmth within.
A welcome call
From someone dear
Can always bring
Its special cheer.
A tasking task
At last complete,
Between good friends –
That seek no end.
The simple joys
Of nature’s goods,
Now in the woods.
This little ditty
Now I’ll cease.
Come rest, my soul,
Be still, at peace.
I am enough.
Solitude has finally taught me this.
I am enough, because it is all that I am.
I was born enough; I will die enough.
Solitude surprised me; an unexpected gift.
The wheels of my life swirled around for a while,
But, without the traction of interference,
Of their own accord they gradually slowed and stopped.
For a while there was a kind of catatonic, fearful stillness.
Who am I, if not in relation to anyone or anything else?
Almost imperceptibly, I noticed a stirring in my inner being,
A watering from my heart’s essence,
Filling up and nourishing one step at a time
Those parched places within my soul.
Some call this God.
I have the certain knowledge that any growth from this nourishment
Will be the growth of my true self.
The solitude may not remain,
But I will always know the sweet congruence of that feeling when it arises.
Nothing anyone can do or say can change the heart of who I am.
And neither should they.
I am enough.
You are enough.