Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Self.......A poem by Pete Marshall

by Pete Marshall

She felt the chill of yesteryear
that touched her skin and scratched the spine
and blew through hope and distant tears
and curdled screams within her mind. 

She hung across a kitchen sink
with wrist that limped upon the bowl
A knife in hand that grazed her skin
in cries of help for none to know.

As waters steamed to scalding hot
the blood would swirl and run to clear
her tears would fall beyond her cheeks
in cries of help for none to hear.

She washed her hands and gently rinsed
the blood that stained her calloused skin
that bore the scars of OCD
and life that pained her thoughts within.


Reading through the poems of last weeks One Shot Wednesday one poem touched on me personally. It was by chance that Shewriting, AKA Sheila Moore, was spotlighted also at One Stop Poetry by Dustus a couple of days later. It was her poem She Writes LOVE on her arm that i am reffering. 

The poem stood out as it touched on a subject that hit a nerve, it wasnt about me but someone I know and am very close too. Her poem left me thinking about this person and that is why I have written my piece today.

Sheila wrote her poem in support of a charity, To Write Love on her Arms, which is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to present hope and find help for those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

Although I am a UK poet, I completely agree and support this cause. In the UK I have also used my work and my position with One Stop Poetry to support various similar causes.

Recently I did a spotlight on UK award winning poet Mat Lloyd and his poem, Blokes which was in support of the UK Charity C.A.L.M which does so much work to try and reduce suicide amongst young men within the UK.

A previous poem that I had written, Broken, was also in support of M.I.N.D, which is a UK Charity for better mental health.

Mental Health is an issue that still is treated sceptically by so many and yet throughout the World so many people are struggling to come to terms with their problems, when at times, all they need is somewhere to turn, some help to prevent them from suffering or, even worse, finishing their own lives. The Internet often gets bad press for the things that can be viewed and seen and how it can be used for bad things BUT the Internet is also a very powerful tool for helping unite people, throughout the World, and offer them hope... Together we can raise awareness on these issues and spread the word of so many good causes.

I have shared this poem with One Shot Wednesday, part of One Stop Poetry, which opens every Tuesday at 10pm UK time, 5pm Eastern Time, and remains open all day Wednesday. One Shot Wednesday is a platform where you can share your work, promote yourself, meet other poets and, generally, enjoy poetry


Brian Miller said...

great one shot pete...and great to spotlight the organizations as well...and as we band together hopefully we can help change this...nice.

Anonymous said...

beautiful write on a sad reality.

anthonynorth said...

An important issue. And it flowed beautifully.

Aquarius63 said...

A profound poem, a dark place to be. A beautiful portrayal of pain. Well penned.


Anonymous said...

Really hard write I imagine Pete, I love the way you don't shy away from these hard hitting issues. We all have at least one "friend" who has been through such torments.

Good on you for highlighting it.


Hope said...

beautiful words depicting a very sad reality

thank you

Gabriela Abalo said...

powerful, real, poignant!

great one shot!


signed...bkm said...

OCD is something real - the mind, what it does and where it can take us....a long road to finally conquer...bkm

Anonymous said...

Nice. i liked the flow in this. Very smooth.

Carrie Burtt said...

This is beautifully written Pete...thank you for sharing this and the thoughts behind it.

Teresa said...

Great poem on a sad subject. I think it's great that you can use your poetry to help organizations and bring a voice to those who suffer from mental illness.

Caty said...

powerful poem, Pete. I'm glad you touched on this.

River said...

A hard subject and you did really.

this is an unforgettable line~

and curdled screams within her mind.

shewriting said...

Bravo, Pete! "cries of help for none to know...cries of help for none to hear" - those words pain my heart because they are the reason so many die in the grips of their mental illness symptoms.

We must let those suffering know that there are people who want to know of their cries of help, want to hear their cries of help... because help is available through organizations such as those you mentioned and even in individuals who have been where they are.

For those who are out there struggling alone with mental illness, I say to you with love: We are here...please, let us hear your cries...

Thank you for the mention as well. I agree that we can use the internet to increase awareness on these issues and spread the word about the help that is available.

Awesome One Shot!

Monkey Man said...

Having a daughter with OCD and the hand washing behavior, this hits too close to home.

SuziCate said...

She felt the chill of yesteryear
that touched her skin and scratched the spine
and blew through hope and distant tears
and curdled screams within her mind. - you portrayed this reality in a way that few can put into words, brilliant work to reach inside like that.

Beachanny said...

You are a great man, Pete Marshall, besides being a great poet. This week your prose was as powerful and important to read as the poem itself. I salute you and these causes. So many suffer so long in silence whether they give in or endure. Thanking you...Gay

Anonymous said...

A sad and disturbing story, which you have narrated so well here, Pete...
We, the so-called "sane" ones often fail to recognize the sanity in those whom we deem as mentally challenged. I think you have highlighted this very beautifully here, my friend..
And with the right light on the right institutions and organizations, you have opened up many an avenue for us as well.. Thanks for this post, Pete..

Hosted like the perfect host indeed! Bravo!

M G Reignier said...

Solid, man. Liked it.

Christine said...

An amazing piece. Such a poignant poem about the stark reality of some people's lives.Well done.


Marcus Goodyear said...

I like the blood that runs clear. And like others said before me, I appreciate the summary of One Stop from last week with the links to several organizations. You are a doing a good service, Pete.

Asobime said...


I can't say enough about your work and support of this issue: mental health. It is so necessary, and can be supported and ignorance attacked in different ways.

I recently published "The Zar Tales", from the Zar ritual, something that Middle Eastern women embrace because it is the only vehicle in many countries where they can address the issues of oppression in their societies....and be supported by others for mental health. It is a ritual that is very old and now is being attacked by the Sharia, the religious officials. It is one of the few things culturally that women have to alleviate mental issues. It is their only form to address so much oppression that comes from their societies. It saves lives actually, because suicide is rampant there.

The poem was straight to the bone...beautiful. It is so good to see such work with a higher purpose and vision.

It was a moving and haunting piece of work.

Lady Nyo

dustus said...

Your quality of person shines through your words and concerns for people suffering. The wonderful lyrical flow is overshadowed in this piece by the overall impact of the lines.

hedgewitch said...

A difficult topic. So few seem to know or care what hell mental illness is for those who deal with it, and the common idea that it's something that's an embarrassing personal problem that can be overcome just by wanting to hard enough just makes things harder. An excellent poem and kudos to you and to Shewriting for addressing the issue so meaningfully.
P.S. And in answer to a less serious question,yes, some of us over here do like Brussels sprouts with out turkey(oven roasted with sea salt and a little basalmic vinegar..mmmm.)

Anonymous said...

Great writing.

Emmanuel Ibok said...

This was sadly sweet Pete...You painted the picture clearly...nicely written.


Eric Alder said...

Drawing inspiration from another's work is a compliment to both of you, and your post will undoubtedly inspire others as well. Nice job, Pete!

Claudia said...

wow pete - thanks for this - the poem and pointing to the different organizations. there are people, who need our help and it's fantastic if we can make a difference with sth we do, wether it's poetry or sth else

Anonymous said...

lovely flow, hard hitting imagery and a touching topic ! Bravo !!

The Exception said...

Pete - Your words rang true and cut close - There is always much more that goes on benath the surface of a life - and the suffering that people experience.

Steve said...

Liked this a lot - mostly-stunning work. Two nits:

1.) The first stanza, "She felt the chill of yesteryear / that touched her skin and scratched the spine /and blew through hope and distant tears / and curdled screams within her mind. ". . . This reads too passive, too cushion-wordy, lessening its impact.

Suggested (or like-minded edit): "Yesteryear's chill / touched her skin, / scratched her spine / and blew through hope, distant tears / and curdled screams within her mind" - Given how horrible OCD is, short, sharp and brutal works more effectively. (I write this as someone who's lived with someone who has OCD - and has it himself, in a less intense way.)

2.) Explicitly mentioning "OCD" at the end of the poem shatters the poetic web you've woven. The second you mention OCD explicitly, it reads like a service/commercial message - surely there's a more poetic, work-consistent way to convey this?

I suggest this as someone who likes your work, a lot - otherwise, I wouldn't bother commenting on it. I would like to see you knock this motherf**ker out of the yard.

These are, of course, just suggestions. It's your work: what does YOUR gut tell you? :)

Myrna R. said...

So glad you strive to raise awareness about mental health issues.

Tina said...

This touched me. Mental illness is so misunderstood by so many. Those of us with issues are struggling along, not just with our own particular battle, but battling the skeptics who say it's "all in our minds". Thanks for using your talent to support the cause. Thanks for what you're doing to show people that we have an ILLNESS, with medical causes, just like any other disease. It just happens that what's not functioning correctly is our brain. Were it our pancreas or some other organ, we wouldn't have this struggle for acceptance and understanding. I wrote my One-Shot before reading this, but in it I expressed some of my current struggle.

Mama Zen said...

Thank you for writing this.

Anonymous said...

Pete, your poem today has moved me, as has your support of the charities and organisations you've mentioned. This is a subject very close to my heart too. I've lost people to suicide, and contemplated it myself, so it's wonderful to see folks other than me also taking this seriously. Just wanted you to know that your words are appreciated. :)

Anonymous said...


haisley said...

Hi Pete!!!! What a nice poem....Sometimes we've got to help our self if no one is coming to help us...Happy Thursday!!!!!!

Maureen said...

Thank you for sharing your very powerful poem, Pete, and for offering its background.

I'm a believer in the idea that poetry can save you. It has me.

kkrige said...

Definitely a powerful piece Pete on a topic that leaves so many feeling alone. You bring unity in your words & that is a beautiful thing.

Lili said...

a sad truth to the ugly side of obsession or an obsessed depression... =(

June_Butterfly said...

Deeply felt.I have a friend who have cut herself out of depression.We made a pact.She can throw all her anger at me,as long as she promised she won't cut herself,again.Sometimes she still fails.But unlike before she is learning to control her feelings.

This is truly close to my heart,too.Thanks for sharing this to us,Pete!

Cor said...

This was a beautiful and sad poem. Unfortunate that this is a reality that many face. It is too bad that people face this reality alone without anyone knowing. Thank you for sharing.

Pete Marshall said...

thanks to everyone for your kind comments and encouraging support...these are great causes and will always benefit by promotion of the subject matter.

Steve...a great comment and i appreciate your remarks...i can understand where you are coming through, especially as this matter is close to you..its like you so wanted this to be some much more and for that i am truly grateful. Both your comments i can agree and disagree with...buts that typical of me...with regard to the first i dont think i could have found it im myself to write the way you suggested which is why its a great suggestion for me to take on for the second i agree and disagree...yes by using the term OCD i did turn this into a commercial...when i know i could have used better phrases but at the same time i wanted this poem to be a commercial because it was about the issues and i wanted it to be understood directly..however i accept what you say "broken youth" would have been a better term as a direct replacement...thanks though for your feedback...and dont ever feel guilty in your commentary..i appreciate it...all the best to one and all and thanks for taking the time to read this..pete

Anonymous said...

She hung across a kitchen sink
with wrist that limped upon the bowl
A knife in hand that grazed her skin
in cries of help for none to know.

This has an all to familiar ring to it Pete. Thank you for the clarity in presenting an act that most never (thankfully) realize.

Only the switching of the letters OCD to bipolar disorder would make it more eerily real for me.

Thank you for addressing this dark area of life. Thank you also for commenting on my site and reading past the bipolar mention.

Great work...thanks so much.

Arts web show said...

This was quite a painful but profound read.
I think this one is a winner for sure

Shashi said...

Its powerful though very sad expression .. Pete, and I feel it. Very good and inspiring writ up after the verse too.. thanks for sharing...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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