Saturday, April 4, 2015



It's hard
to climb out of a painted grave
ochre on your palms,
pearls collapsed at your feet
fear in your arms

trapped in a box
with two many sides
flimsy, unsafe, yet much too tight
each wall a blind face of reason denied

drawn to a puzzle
for the sake of the wit--
break all the pieces,
then say you've solved it--

while a thready voice
goes on and on;
the more it belts out the story,
the madder its gone.

~April 2015

Posted for

National Poetry Month with Magaly Guerrero

Challenge: Feeling So Deeply It Hurts
Today Magaly's prompt is to exlore the confluence of pain and emotion, or as she says more clearly:
"With this poem, show how an emotion might increase physical pain, and vice versa."

Process note: neurasthenia: noun, dated : 1. an ill-defined medical condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance.
~via google

Image: Dora Maar, 1936, by Man Ray
Fair use via


  1. Where do you get these amazing images? A painted grave and collapsed it! And I love/fear that fav May Ray pic you used too.

  2. I can feel the panic that builds until it breaks into the madness. I really love the 3rd stanza!

  3. Breaking all the pieces is some people's only solution.

    Thank you >

  4. WOW! This is fantastic writing, Hedge. Your closing lines are spectacular.

  5. I imagine that many incurable conditions must make one feel trapped - your description of the box made me feel the claustrophobia and despair.

  6. That first stanza digs into the heart and squeezes memories... some not mine, but still painful. Like Kerry suggests, chronic "conditions [often] make one feel trapped", and more often those around the afflicted don't help at all. I've heard, too many times, patients being told "It's emotional" or the nastiest of all insults, "It's all in your head".

    Well, of course it's in the head; right there in the brain, sending pain signals everywhere; like a mad caretaker flooding the house trying to put out a fire only he can see... and drowning the inhabitant in the process.

    Your words paint the feelings in colors that are so clear that they can't be missed by anyone looking.

  7. have knocked my socks off with this one. Great work.

  8. Hey Joy--very effective. As someone who occasionally suffers from skewed perceptions--not in a clinical way--but I'm conscious of it eventually--I especially sympathized the the lines: trapped in a box
    with two many sides

    And all the word play is very clever here-- agh. All the mix-ups really work super well with the subject. Thanks. k.

  9. I've been there. It's especially insidious when there are 'pearls at your feet'. Beauties in the world--even beauties in one's soul--don't go away when one is in the box, one has just lost the ability to touch them.

  10. Your opening line is amazing. In this piece it is like you had an interview with pain and it opened its book of secrets and spilled them into your pen. I have my own pain issues, but nothing is like watching your child suffer.

  11. Absolutely amazing! Pulls you in and spits you out feeling everything all at once.

  12. This is so visceral and visual, all at once. The voices in our heads tell us so many stories, and I wonder, sometimes, who defines what makes us mad. (I'll keep listening.)

  13. " trapped in a box
    with two many sides
    flimsy, unsafe, yet much too tight"

    Echoed in my brain. Sometimes when pains too much the feelings of being trapped inside a place you can't break free can raise as much panic as the pain.

  14. I love the way you use the sensation of being trapped. A very economical poem, too. Each word important with none to spare. Very nice.

  15. Oh my goodness. I can see the feeling of trying to hold it all together while bit by bit you get eaten up from the inside. Powerful stuff.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

Comment Moderation Has Been Enabled