Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Blue Moon

Who are these spectres, simple charmers?
What demons cause this dreadful state?
What do they use to soothe their troubled lives?
Where do they mark and where inflict the harm?
                                                       the arm
What do they hope these actions will avoid?
                                                  a void
They cut and score their flesh to ease distress?
                                                 this stress
How do they feel then, something different?
And when the trickling blood becomes a balm?

© Marilyn Brindley

Reading today about Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton's history of self-harm, the story stayed with me when I saw these spectral shapes in the picture by Alfred Bloch; 'Summer Night 1913'. They looked like troubled souls and our recent 'Blue Moon' reminded me of the old belief that the balance of the mind could be affected by the moon (lunacy). Blue is a colour associated with sadness and these poor wraiths looks sad and somewhat numb. Perhaps relief came in the form of a knife.  

I used an echo verse, where the last syllables of the main line are repeated but with a different meaning. It becomes a dialogue with the echo commenting on what has gone before. It was a popular device in poetry of the sixteenth-eighteenth centuries. A good example is 'Heaven' by George Herbert or 'A Gentle Echo on Woman' by Jonathon Swift.

This is a contribution for 'The Mag' where Tess Kincaid gives us a picture prompt to get our creative juices flowing.


  1. very cool form...and great call and response feel to it....a scary tale it spins....the moon lunacy but also the cutters that try to gain relief in the blood letting....to feel...all very real...

  2. Remarkable how you turn out such delightful poesie each week, and so technically exact. Remarkable...

  3. Hello Marilyn:
    Such an effective poetic construction to convey your feelings on this most intimate and difficult of subjects. It is so very sad that some people feel the need to self-harm in order to address their emotional problems, thereby creating a vicious circle of events.

  4. Your troubled souls will stay with me for a long time.

  5. I like question format with the ending rhymes ~ Creative thoughts ~

  6. Interesting form...it worked very well here...excellent!

  7. Love the charm and intellect of this form, new to me..My poem's called Blue Moon, too..it had to happen!

  8. i like the different format of this with the question and answer..although the poem is sad..i didn't know this about victoria pendelton...shocking ...x

  9. Fresh and witty! The feel of repetition got me completely hooked.

  10. Oh my, your words certainly cut sharply through her darkness, and pain. Also, as I read it, I could feel your words could well explain someone using other means of destruction as well. I haven't heard of this form before, but again, you make me want to try it out myself! Marvelous post Marilyn.

  11. Your poem is thought provoking ~~ well done!

  12. Ten of fifteen years ago, our school district was receiving new students from an area across the ocean that had an overabundance of girls who cut themselves. Your poem reminded me of the tragic sense of self that those girls endured, Little Nell, and they were barely teenagers!! The 'balm-calm' at the end drilled it home. For me, your poem is so powerful and heart wrenching. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Extremely interesting, Nell. I like it very much and will look up other work that uses the same device. I'm rather surprised that I have never heard of it.

  14. You have captured so well the desperation of those many who self-harm. I like the poetry form, too.

  15. Indeed there are Rivers of blood flowing at the feet if these dark demons, i only just noticed it. ! . Thanks, i really enjoyed this .

  16. Very challenging topic yet wonderfully handled. Very moving. I also really enjoyed the air show RAF poem - enjoyed isn't right word - was moved by. k.