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Sullivan the Poet


Posted Thu Aug 14th, 2008 5:54pm Post subject: For Stephen and all the other manic depressives out there...
'The Black Dog..'

Oh faithless cur! Black curse’d hound,
that soundless in my shadow walks;
Who dogs my heel by but a bound,
and in each footfall cunning stalks;
Then dare I lay to beg my rest,
pants dark and brooding ‘pon my chest.

And there in siege each wakeful hour,
assails my wits this mongrel spawn;
About my mind’s ill fortressed tower,
until the limp, exhausted dawn;
Yet still the beast no sojourn takes,
and with my faintest stir – Awakes.

While still its foetid breath pervades,
the farthest of my spirit’s deeps;
To spread again its visc’ral shade,
all sly from ‘top my chest it creeps;
To crouch upon my chamber’s floor,
twixt me and madness’ open door.

To seek the air in anxious flight,
I wrench my windows open wide;
But yet the dawning’s purging light,
braves not upon the fiend inside;
And tighter still my chest constrains,
to gulp what taintless air remains.

‘Til stifled thus I flee my room,
to soothe my throbbing heart a while;
And freed I of that morbid womb,
hap purge my breast its vapours vile;
But bright the sun and sharp the air,
serves nought to lighten my despair.

How bright the rays that blessed star,
serve but to black my shadow more;
All better questing eyes to bar,
the loathsome creature at its core;
Which sensing reason strain and crack,
climbs foul and heavy ‘pon my back.

‘Til bold it dares my shoulders rise,
where all on razor claws it hangs;
To snuff and huff and hid my eyes,
unsheathe its’ wetly glist’ning fangs;
In savour of the feast to come,
when reason must, o’erwhelmed, succumb.

And burdened thus about my days,
one foot within dementia’s hall;
My morbid melancholy plays,
the hell hound’s loyal, crushing thrall;
Until fresh tortures it devise,
and dreadful, frightless, panics rise.

Its breath all sulph’rous on my neck,
like fire begins my skin to burn;
All sense no longer at my beck,
as wretched knees to jelly turn;
While fearful lungs denied their fill,
ask thund’ring heart pound harder still.

Oh! would that heart seek leave to burst,
in those black moments if it plead;
To bear not one more hour thus cursed,
to cheat the beast I’d gladly cede;
But fierce as in my chest it leaps,
It labours on and silent keeps.

Until the dawn that gentle steals,
upon the day in tender lights;
That brave my chamber floor reveals,
to sweep away the terrored nights;
No curse’d hound acrouch the floor,
and there, shut tight, stands madness’ door.

My heart, once more, its frenzy stilled,
thuds softly in my grateful chest;
And greedy lungs once more swell filled,
while tortured nerves seek to their rest;
‘Til humour, freed, untethered lifts,
to look anew on being’s gifts.

To feel each blade ‘gainst naked feet,
I brave the nettles’ acid stings;
So clear the air, its perfume sweet,
conveys each note the skylark sings;
Cry Carpe Diem! – “Seize the day!”
While hell’s dark hound seeks other prey!

Then do I praise my stoic heart,
which gravely tried no mercy asked;
My will, all twist and tore apart,
that stood its ground though sorely tasked;
Their gift to me another dawn,
another breath so grateful drawn.

Though still a cautious shadow lurks,
the brightest day can not dispel;
For in my psyche’s darkest murks,
stands stiff ajar the road to hell;
Where in the pit its hunger burns,
until the beast, to feed, returns!

© Sullivan the Poet 2008

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