The Shadow

I see a shadow in the mirror that I barely recognise

But a stranger in my room? No, I think not

But then, could I be mistaken? I’m not sure if I’d know

So, I carefully take aim and fire a shot

~~~

There’s a scream to be heard but is it him or is it me?

Is he wounded, lying bleeding on the floor?

Does my heart possess a scar or open wound to see?

Or has he crept very quietly out the door?

~~~

But, it’s late now; nearly black and the night is pulling in

Can you see him? Is he hiding out the back?

I am cautious, naturally; almost scared to take a look

Is he sane; a simple fool; a maniac?

~~~

There’s a monster in my mirror, and he’s staring back at me

Leave politely, shut the door and go away!

He won’t listen to my pleading, and he doesn’t hear me cry

Now it’s dark, and he’s bedded down to stay.

(Image source unknown)

30 thoughts on “The Shadow

    1. Thanks for reading, Jeff. I didn’t deliberately write it as being a man – it just happened naturally. I think the reasons behind it are all the bad experiences I’ve had with men during my lifetime. However, that definitely doesn’t make me a staunch feminist or anything like it—no offence to any men who happen to be reading.

      1. Oh, no offense taken. When I think about the monster in the mirror, there’s a high likelihood that the monster is me–though by no means a surety. Also, my own monster could be feminine depending how the monster presents itself. But, if we’re looking at the law of percentages, the monster for everyone is almost assuredly male, because we men have an innate tendency towards monstrousness.

    2. Hi Jeff. I was going over this poem that I wrote at the beginning of August and rereading your comment. On thinking some more about my writing here, the shadow not only represents the male relationships in my life that have been disastrous but as you rightly guessed, I think the shadow is more me than those relationships. We all have a shadow side (as Carl Jung describes and writes about). It’s often hard to admit that, however. It’s an interesting topic, and I know only a little of Jung’s theories but know enough to own my shadow. I hope you and your family are well.

    1. Thank you, Selma. Glad you liked it. I’ve no idea what I’m going to write next. Something cheerful, perhaps, after this and the last poem I wrote 😊. I’ll have to get my thinking cap on xxx

  1. Ah! That shadow that lurks inside of us all. The more I’ve learned about and discovered him recently, the more free I’ve become than ever before. What a splendid work of artistic reflection! 👏

    1. Thank you, Christopher. Yes, you are right. I do recognise myself in the shadow or the monster even though, perhaps, I’d rather it not be there. But then, that wouldn’t be very realistic. It’s interesting that you say you now feel freer since discovering your shadow. Perhaps, I, too, will get to that stage rather than letting the thought ‘haunt’ me. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you so much for such kind words, Ann. That means an awful lot coming from someone (you) whose writing I’ve always enjoyed and admired. I’ve always loved your style of writing. It’s so open and honest. Thanks again x

  2. Just curious, Ellie. Is this a dream sequence? A recurring dream sequence? I certainly hope not. But I have my fears! And you have your fears. You call your poem, The Shadow, though it is an image in a mirror. So, therefore it is not a reflection. There is no one in your room but you. It may be hard to believe, but believe you are safe. The Shadow is more scared of you than you are of it. It cannot exist without you to see it. Breathe softly. Breathe slowly. Close your eyes, and The Shadow is gone… At least for now…

    1. Hi rawgod. Thankfully, it’s not a dream sequence or even a recurring dream. I think we all have fears – often unspoken ones, although I find it easier to express mine through poetry. Over the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve written a mixture of poetry (some dark, some humorous, some emotional or sentimental) and many general posts about what’s going on in my life. They’re all very different, but each of us has so many aspects of ourselves, some of which are seen and others are not. Because ‘the shadow’ is in the mirror, I see it as a reflection of myself – perhaps, the Shadow Side that Carl Jung spoke of or the two sides of the Chinese Yin and Yang. Each of us has ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in us. Sometimes, when I am very stressed, as is the case at the moment, my thoughts tend to be very inward-looking, even self-critical to a certain extent. Thank you so much for your comforting reassurance, my friend – it means a lot to me coming from someone as passionate as you. The more I discover and read about you, the more I realise we have a fair bit in common. I will remember to breathe – it’ll help alleviate some of my current stress. I used to meditate and found it wonderfully helpful. I don’t know why I’ve let it lapse. Perhaps, now is the time to get into that again. I know, from experience, how beneficial it is. Have you ever practised it?

      1. I have, but it is different for me. I might describe my life as living in a semi-meditative state. I do not always succeed, but I try to continuously be in contact with my inner spirit, my life force. I examine almost every action — or non-action — to see if I acted within my belief system, or chose not to act because of my belief system. Even my comments to you are usually fully examined. I do not approve of everything I do, but I can at least say I try. I have a motto that may or may not still be on my emails that goes something like “Live every minute of every day to create memoriries you will not forget, or regret.” That motto helps me when I start to lose control, though sometimes even it is not enough.
        You speak of a dark side. Yes, we all have a dark side. But I try my best not to let it affect the way I interact with other living beings.
        It wasn’t always that way, I did a lot of things in my life in retrospect I wish I had not done, but I try to use those times to learn how to better control that side of me. I am constantly trying to improve myself to be the best perspn I can possibly be, according to me and no one but me. I daresay my standards are higher than most people would ever consider.
        So, about meditating, I am actually not very good at it. I studied under a Tibetan rinpoche for a while who asked all his acolytes to meditate daily, but I could never achieve the focus he required of us. My thoughts never settle. Everything I think lrafs to other things to think about. It is like I suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder when I try to meditate. I have to fpllow all the sidepaths to see where they take me. They often lead me to discoveries about my self or life itself that I would have missed had I maintained my focus.
        A line of poetry I once wrote said
        “it is said the brain of a dinosaur was the size of a pea,
        But its mind was a universe within it.”
        That described me. I may be numan, but I think far beyond what many humans are capable of. This sounds like an egotistical statement, and well it might be, but still it is true. I let my mind encompasses the universe, and more.

  3. You are a fascinating man, rawgod. I don’t think I’ve ever read an account of someone as complex as you. And I thought I was pretty complicated! Please, take this as a compliment and not a criticism. You say you have regrets about things in the past that you would handle differently now. I think many people regret things they did or didn’t do. It’s just that not everyone recognises that in themselves. I’m very aware of my mistakes and regrets and also about, perhaps, not living life to the full as much as I could have done. Nevertheless, I’m relatively happy in my skin now but recognise that there is always room for improvement. Was there a catalyst that caused you to change, or did it just happen slowly? Do you mind telling me how you decided on your pseudonym (I assume it’s that) of rawgod (you don’t have to answer that question or any of my other questions if you’d rather not? I will, naturally, respect your view and decision). I really like the quote about the dinosaur that you wrote. It’s very apt. Sorry if I ask too many questions. I’m just a curious person and like to take an interest in other people and what makes them tick. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with me.

    1. Thank you, Kate. It is indeed me confronting an aspect of myself, although when I first wrote it, I didn’t recognise that and thought it was coming from my feelings of having had some really bad and abusive relationships with male partners in my life. It’s hard to admit the dark side of ourselves,, but we all have one. It’s just easier not to face up to it, but then, that wouldn’t be the truth of the poem. Thanks for recognising that. X

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I do put my heart and soul into my writing, especially my poetry – it’s the only way I know how to write. It has to be genuine, heartfelt and authentic. Thanks again. Ellie x 💜

  4. gorgeous writing! I’d be thrilled if you’d write a guest blog post for my site! My blog is for anyone who loves writing, books, and all the arts. If you think it might be fun or helpful to have my followers meet you, here’s the link for general guidelines: https://wp.me/p6OZAy-1eQ

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, da-AL. I appreciate it. I never know what to write for guest blogs and haven’t done one before. I don’t always have ideas for my own blog, so I’m unsure if I could come up with anything as a guest blogger. However, I will take a look at your guidelines and think more about your offer. It’s very nice of you to ask me, though. Ellie

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