invisible spreading darkness darkness darkness,
deprived of light, at risk of everything,
first balance goes, then senses, one by one;
no covers-over still, no subtleties persist,
for survivors standing naked and exposed,
damp and raw, in November’s ice-edged rain,

as complexities of task elude and escalate
and relationships slide off the scale;
drenched in lactic acid, parched of dopamine,
the mind trap tightens, straitens, cramps,
transfers, distorts, magnifies and grips,
far beyond a passing agony the body knows full well,

coiling round itself, inexorably
closing, closing, closing shut….
keep it open! open out!! out Out OUT!!!
Think clearly: pressure’s on,
relentless, rises, increases, overwhelms,
to be absorbed / returned, deflected / leveraged,

by all my faded powers and life’s experience,
applied to keep it open at whatever cost;
not closed, which if it falls just once
will lock howeverlong,
until new cause may, sometime, prise it open….
and redeem my sanity. Again.

for now, this time, can I exhort cohorts?
all hands called to the pump
it’s fight or flight – again, always –
and it’s impossible to leave;
so roll your sleeves up, boys,
roll up and Heave!! to keep it out, at bay,

keep your discipline, maintain your shape,
rely on your friends and stick together;
but is there fun or joy to lace this struggle
and light it from within, as winter’s dark comes on?
to help attain, retain some inner poise and calm?
as I wrestle with the nameless one

from whom no light escapes,
no shadow nor reflection and – at times – no shape,
but all fear’s hallmarks seen most clearly
in the corner of the eye;
the beast that never leaves but only sometimes
sleeps, or is assuaged, for now.

…. for who will lead or guide us, to find a path,
or make one? and, in the balance, intercede?
to – one day, maybe – find the ties that bind us
to this fate, this low horizon, false and shabby dawn,
in the cycle we inhabit, of days months years;
those born inside a cloud and reeking of despair….

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