Poem: A King Lear State of Mind


Finding myself still beating against battlements

And ropes of bondage from which I thought I’d

Been freed, in a King Lear state of mind, I paced

The meadows besides The Wye, uttering

Imperatives and imprecations to the heavens,

Beseeching them that I might transmute the

Prison bars of rage into compassion, and from

The cauldron of rebirth, emerge re-liveried in

The soft vesture of gentleness’s garments


Once I reached the woods, and the arboreal

Conspiracy of aspen and beech could be heard,

The boiling waters of my madness began merely

To simmer, and the bare-branched advice of my

Sylvan counsellors soothed me into the fading

Consciousness of Celtic dispassion


“You are what you seek,” preached the first beech.

“And you can never be divided from what you hide;

And all that hides from you in protective fetters,

Will but dive nakedly into you later on.”


“I am that I am,” The River Wye put in,

“And there is no obstacle in the measureless

Flow of time that I cannot rend by sailing through.

You are your own daughter – you are the channel

Through which madness reworks itself to be wisdom

For later ages.


“But, for now – be mad. Let your gall grow uncorrupted

On the acornless branches of Oaks, so that in taking on the

Gall of your fellow men, you can cleanse them for the eventual

Softness of truth’s articulation.”



Soothed and soothsaid, I wandered on.

No lightning struck me – nor was I pierced

With crippling winds – but slick coldness slithered

Around me in the clutching coils of hypothermia –

But I was willing to die in those woods if I was able

To deliver the help of which I was the messenger.


I saw all the people of this path,

From tourists abroad, to the old

Celt’s laugh, and the vision of a

White horse counselled me a purity

Of course: you must kill yourself to

Get where you’re going


I thought I had heard enough –

I thought all was to ‘let go and

Give up,’ but sometimes lesser

Aims must be miscarried to make

Room for gentler ambitions


But let go of what? Give up what?

Let go this body, this mind, this brain,

This heart – let go this sky that pinions

Me with the sweetness of its gravitas –

Let go of dreams, too fragile to hold,

Yet so heavy, they conduct the creak

And crush of my ribs, and turn the

Muddiness of every night into the

Northern Lights?


All I will give up is the misery of ego

And clutching, and walking back through

The Symonds Yat Woods, the red kite

Carries me back to Monmouth



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