This is a poem that I actually wrote and then briefly forgot about. It was only when reading through a notebook and finding a folded up piece of A4 paper that I discovered it again. I think it was written some time in the last two weeks, but somehow I’d just tucked it away and forgot that I’d written it.
It’s poem that has a couple of different influences. Partly I think it’s about mental health. Not just my mental health, but peoples’ in general. It’s about not being able to get rid of the darker moments, the lower moods, which is something I’ve had to put up with for a short while now, but something that lots of other people have probably struggled with for many years. So, I’m not moaning or feeling sorry for myself; I know others have things much, much worse.
I think the other influence or meaning behind this one is that I’ve been suffering with an injury – it’s been about 7 weeks now – and it just feels like it’s never getting better. So again, something I can’t seem to shake off. (Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong; less shaking, more relaxing?)
Pursued I feel like you defy description. I don't know how to cope with you and words almost fail me. Every label seems not to stick, neither adequate nor accurate. You're definitely not a friend, but not a stranger all the same and a cloud hanging over me can actually pass on the wind before returning, whatever the forecast. This is a nagging doubt, a feral dog trailing too close at my heels, craving trust, but up to no good. An excrutiating headache, pressing down, a torchlight shone in my eyes or maybe a spotlight exposing me when I feel the need to hide. A flare in a clear night sky, marking me out, just as I find sanctuary for the night. A light that offers no illumination, but lets me know that there's to be no rest, no safety, nowhere to serve as an escape, just an uncomfortable reminder that tells me to keep moving, because at times like these, slowly, tentatively, like an old man shuffling around the room to find the candles in a power cut, that's all that I can do.
I don’t know if feeling this way is a legacy of lockdown and all things Covid or simply just another stage in my life; an age thing perhaps. But where before any sense of feeling low was fairly easy to shake off, lately I’ve not been able to. So ‘Pursued’ seemed the perfect title for the poem as it’s absolutely how I’ve felt both mentally and physically and how I imagine lots of people who are struggling feel too.
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