Wednesday, 31 December 2008

17 Year Old Journal Entries.

I was 19 pushing 20. I am stabbing in the dark in terms of choosing entries, so am pinning tails on the proverbials (and ignoring novel notes). And my typing fingers will fall off much to your delight before too long.

i

How better I shrugged away sleepless nights three years ago. Is this the deterioration already? How pathetic this changing meat-lump can be at times! Or more likely, the coffee intake is lower than those furious days ~ or even the adrenaline... I miss the rock climbing. Staring in the spume and rain and wind at the blank wall of my 'Three Teas Please' made me young: the sense of 'mine', the combined terror and pride, and lust withal; none of this ache and dull staring at the ticking-tocking days and nights. There's something fine about the apparent impossible ~ a nick here, a crystal, a fossil, a pocket, and nothing else.

ii

Ah this flaming is wondrous! When firmly in the saddle, galloping over stony sea and running mountains, then does man become god. I am doomed to writing. I am now in now doubt. [?!] I cannot and never will help it. These moments justify my birth and ratify my death. Oh I want a son, and will one day have one. [You've got three now, you cunt!] So much tangling of hawthorn under oaks with loamy loamsome earth and unvaulted skies. Fire and ruby flames make havoc in my veins, and my blue-clay-woad flesh ruddies and moves, fingers and feet are like hammers smashed deep into the soil and gods, I live!

iii

Ah... it is worth it some days; I am glad of life; I smell the blood within the soil. But this strange mood of heavenly laughter never brooks communion. Love laughter is another, equally joyous thing. Life, laughter and love laughter are not the same as war and coupling are removed in their antipathy. I push away all souls in this spirit - even my beloved K---, and I know ah so well the transitory face of love. I am indifferant [sic] to all beings that walk under the heavens. This warlike urge fuels my life at the expense of all other living things. No, at all other sentient things. Plants and the sea are permitted to remain. It is impossible to love them when one wars, and both sensations are wondrous. Now they could drag me by their horses, tear me or burn me: I draw all life into me and my death means naught. These days, the thought of suicide is only present when I am at my most single - joyous warlike. There is not the single power-drive [sic sick stick fingers throat puke]. There is also the merging and destructive drive. One either blazes with the consciousness, or blazes with its deconstruction. Both ways let out flame, by channeling one's explosive heart through the lens, or by removing the lens first. Lens may be a misnomer. Let me say eyes instead. Love loves blindness, war loves sight. Both are holy, unholy too by nature, but affirming.

Well. Perhaps the secret of my happiness is this: a quick and efficient switching between the two? It is the interim that is bitter fruit, ashen and salt, billious in nature.


Hmmm. I was a wiser young man that I remembered. It probably reads like gobbledegook to you, but most makes sense to me. And fuck it! My prose style was better then (if a tad antiquated). That's really depressing. I've never learned how to write well in modern English. Let alone idiomatic modern English. Bollox [sic: bollocks] balls etc.

I know there are a couple of entries in that volume that describe exactly the same psychotic stuff I've had this year. Couldn't be arsed to find them among the 200 odd pages of closely written scrawl.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Gadfly and the Bullock

With pills, like a vice around me, swaddling me too tightly, I run my eye over the last week or two or four or eight or more, and consider deleting it all.

I have to look back to April and before to find a similar degree of intolerable flying. It comes on slowly, like a bullock in a field, munching away, plagued by the flies. Eventually he starts to run and buck, short bursts at first, just to escape the bites, but eventually the field is all flies and the bullock gallops madly, kicking, bellowing. I've thought longingly of doing a Deirdre and dashing my head full tilt against a stone at times over the last week. It is just the thought of being like this for the rest of my life: either driven mad by the gadfly, or packed in the deep-freeze in the abattoir. There just doesn't seem to be a middle ground.

I will see how it goes, and come clean with the psychiatrist when I next see him. There might be something more tolerable, something that allows me to function. If you don't ask, you don't get. I'm just tired of it. Tired of the screaming motor in my head; tired of the iron-maiden the pills make.

I was thinking of deleting. But I'm not going to for now. I thought the sight of all this frantic plunging and leaping should just get dumped in the bin - after all - what self-respecting bullock wants to watch his frolics on action-replay when he's trying to get calm?

If there is any worth in this blog, it is the fact that it is a narrative, and I hope honestly shows the soarings and the divings. Not to mention the mid-air collisions.

So. It's here to stay for now.

Oh well. Here's to a better 2009 for each and every one of you. D x

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Over the Hill

Well, sustained by a diet of depakote and sleeping pills I hid away in bed for twenty hours. Still only 1 and 1/2 hours proper sleep: and about a dozen 10 minute bursts. I hate sleeping pills. They just don't work. Anyway, enforced complete lying in a forced stillness, brain raging, brain shouting to just shut the eff up and sleep (oh, so, so peaceful, stilly nacht, etc) it seems to have done the trick. Feel suitably semi-demi-crushed and who knows, feel calmness is back on the way.

I hate and despise the speed a high can turn into hideousness. And I hate bloody zolpidem. What a horrid word. Makes my mouth taste like a globe of slime, gives me 12 hours of horrors - nightsweats, sleep-paralysis, panic, weird lines around the edge of sight. And doesn't even get me more than 90 minutes sleep. There must be better sleeping pills out there? The damn doc only lets me have these or zopiclone, which are just as bad.

Anyway, thanks for the comments on the last few posts - it's a rather ghastly window into my mind for me to peer nervously through in retrospect. I think I will leave it up as a warning to myself what happens when I don't take anything. It's not as if there is any ridiculous stress at the moment. Just being on the shelf, unemployable, in a recession, oh, and xmas.

Here's wishing all a happy new year. D

------------

edit, done a couple of substantial edits below - mostly in the spirit of being explanatory.

http://abysmalmusings.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-special.html
http://abysmalmusings.blogspot.com/2008/12/and-dont-even-get-me-started.html

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Eye of the Hurricane

If I spin as fast as the looney tunes tasmanian devil will I eventually stop? Batten down the hatches. All safe here. Just nervous exhaustion setting in. Hope all well in blogland. Over and out.

And Should

I delete the last 8 or nine or t10 posts?

Will anyone find it useful? Seeing me off?

Or is it just a great pain paeon and pile of poo?

Please, give your considered opinions here. I might just let this one stand. But as for tonight, unless I suddenly get 'insight' in the morning, and decide embarrassment is the greater form of valour, there may well be deletionsaplentyinthemorningnightalldx

And I Am Happy, More Than Happy, With My Lot.

I would have done a Herakles, and bitten off my pinky, and would still do so in a blink for the most gorgeous, captivating, sex-ridden, marvellous cat of a woman that ever walked the gritty soil of the planet. xxxxxxxxxxxx Thanks K

And Don't Even Get Me Started

On my Tarot Reading.

If I can read the cards, I know I'm in a bad way.






The Future
The Future if Change is Made

Now
The Past
The Unavoidable Inviolable Fates





7.Cr - XI - II
1.Dr - 9.B - XXIr

1.C - 3.Br - 14.Br
8.C - 8.D - IV
1.B - XIVr - 7.Br

It's just saying carry on the way you are if you know what's good for you.

Hock, Cock, And Smoking Marrow.

Why did I use my body as a piece of notepaper last night? I tried to reread today, but it made no sense. I must bathe. I must bathe. And the boys must be out. I don't want them to be corrupted. And I'm fed up covering myself neck to toe.

Regarding Sex

In an attempt at explaining the last post.

I feel dubious about writing about that side of mania. It is not flirtatiousness in me that spills the whatever over the page. But it is an awful and ghastly and sometimes wonderful aspect of that condition. I'm way beyond the pleasure principle currently. One day I'll try to write the definitive and most saucy gravypost about it. But that will only be achieved (like the hypersex thing) when one is calmer. And then the dubiety will kick in, and kick, and kick your brains out so it will never be written. Somehow we got muddy knees while the Christmas Veg was cooking. TMI. But will let it stand for a while. Damn it!!!! Or help!!!!!? Life is getting faster and fasserereaster anda farerstersdf fa

And Faster.

I need to go on a fast.

Or something.

I need a break from myself.

From My SELF.

Because I am utterly sick of Him.

To the bones, to the core, to the nugget of unreality that forms my meaning.

The phrase manic-depression is always interpreted as a dual concept.

My reality is that it is concurrent. It is Manic Depression - no hyphen. Or perhaps I've just read the phrase wrong all these decades. If I don't fit the sine wave, I can't be, eh? Hopelessly bursting out of my head, my framework of ribs, my sanity, my pathetic semblance of family ordinariness.

I will fucking survive.

I always do.

But have to remind myself, on, albeit, slightly more frequent occasion that I was used to.

dx

-----------

I am not going for another run. Not like last night. It's too damn brass monkeys. NO NAY NEVER

The Most Ridiculous Thing I've Ever Said

That I fancied a threesome with Nina Simone and Josephine Baker. But, I was paid the greatest Don Juan compliment of my entire life by my dear and darling wife, when I said, "I must have been mad when I said that, they'd tear me to pieces," and she cast her critical eye and also her caring eye, and said, "actually, (them being dead aside), you well might be surprised". Thanks, my love. But I still stand by my original opinion. :-D

(NB some material facts have been altered to make me sound worse)

And I really am going to persuade her to write the guestpost one of these days when she isn't shaking her head at me. x

----

edit, tomorrow dear? x

----

and links



Reasons for Deletions

I deleted a couple of posts recently, musical ones. I realised they connected me to people I know and love as friends. If they've found this place, respect the anonymity. That means you, Mrs McPhel and followers of her vids. Honestly, I mean it. I don't want to blush in the pub next time I'm enjoying myself. Life is shite enough without it being tainted by too much information, and this place is the place for the too much information.

Nursing Scratches and Bruises

Enter EDGAR disguised as a mad man

EDGAR
Away! the foul fiend follows me!
Through the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind.
Hum! go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
KING LEAR
Hast thou given all to thy two daughters?
And art thou come to this?
EDGAR
Who gives any thing to poor Tom? whom the foul
fiend hath led through fire and through flame, and
through ford and whirlipool e'er bog and quagmire;
that hath laid knives under his pillow, and halters
in his pew; set ratsbane by his porridge; made film
proud of heart, to ride on a bay trotting-horse over
four-inched bridges, to course his own shadow for a
traitor. Bless thy five wits! Tom's a-cold,--O, do
de, do de, do de. Bless thee from whirlwinds,
star-blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some
charity, whom the foul fiend vexes: there could I
have him now,--and there,--and there again, and there.

Storm still

KING LEAR
What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
Couldst thou save nothing? Didst thou give them all?
Fool
Nay, he reserved a blanket, else we had been all shamed.
KING LEAR
Now, all the plagues that in the pendulous air
Hang fated o'er men's faults light on thy daughters!
KENT
He hath no daughters, sir.
KING LEAR
Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! 'twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.
EDGAR
Pillicock sat on Pillicock-hill:
Halloo, halloo, loo, loo!
Fool
This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen.
EDGAR
Take heed o' the foul fiend: obey thy parents;
keep thy word justly; swear not; commit not with
man's sworn spouse; set not thy sweet heart on proud
array. Tom's a-cold.
KING LEAR
What hast thou been?
EDGAR
A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled
my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of
my mistress' heart, and did the act of darkness with
her; swore as many oaths as I spake words, and
broke them in the sweet face of heaven: one that
slept in the contriving of lust, and waked to do it:
wine loved I deeply, dice dearly: and in woman
out-paramoured the Turk: false of heart, light of
ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in stealth,
wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey.
Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of
silks betray thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot
out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen
from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend.
Still through the hawthorn blows the cold wind:
Says suum, mun, ha, no, nonny.
Dolphin my boy, my boy, sessa! let him trot by.

Storm still

KING LEAR
Why, thou wert better in thy grave than to answer
with thy uncovered body this extremity of the skies.
Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou
owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep
no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three on
's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings!
come unbutton here.

Tearing off his clothes

Fool
Prithee, nuncle, be contented; 'tis a naughty night
to swim in. Now a little fire in a wild field were
like an old lecher's heart; a small spark, all the
rest on's body cold. Look, here comes a walking fire.

Enter GLOUCESTER, with a torch

EDGAR This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins
at curfew, and walks till the first cock; he gives
the web and the pin, squints the eye, and makes the
hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the
poor creature of earth.
S. Withold footed thrice the old;
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
Bid her alight,
And her troth plight,
And, aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas Special

Ok so I've just been for about a 2-3 mile run, naked, across the fields. I left my clothes behind the village chapel. I tell you, it is lovely living out in the sticks. The former is the one reason and the only reasonI haven't fought to drag my family back to a place where PEOPLE live.

Mud is cold on the soles.

My dearest was utterly unimpressed, which made me feel cast off from every angle.

But tomorrow is (thank god) Boxing Day, and a New Day, and a Ning Nang Nong of a Day. And first on the agenda is going to see a Mummer's Play that a bloke from Benbecula (sp?) used to run, and he's had a gargoyle carved in his memory at Glos Cathedral. And I knew him since I was 6. And he was the warmest star of a man you'd ever hope to meet. And always went barefoot. (Til he got too old). And 50 smackeroons of mine went towards it too. But, unveiling is tomorrow.

God bless him, whatever unmneaning that phrase has. And the same goes for Pinter. The last of our third rates. (We haven't had 1st or 2nd since Lawrence).

Take care all, and by the by, the nettles are vicious up here.

----------------

Update, just been for another.

It sounds worse I imagine than it actually is. After all, who on earth is awake around here at this time of night? Ok, so I probably gave twelve steathy poachers a good laugh and a story for the pub.

I'm ok. Honestly.

Merry Christmas Every One

----------------

Edit, 28th Dec.

Just feel the urge to justify, explain, make amends, rationalise my behaviour.

The urge to run naked through frosty legdeep mud and thighdeep briars isn't the irrational part. The judgement of risk is not necessarily irrational either. The irrational judgement comes in the weighing of consequences. After all, if caught, could well be banged up for a while. The risk: the night was as dark as a night could be (yes, running into barbed wire hurts). The urge: when the inside of my head is a constant scream for a bit of peace, a bit of pain and intensity works wonders. Not necessarily healthy, but understandable. I promise you, for that two minutes while you extricate yourself from the blackberry bush you've just fallen over into, into foot deep mud and all... for those two minutes the shout in the head shuts up and contents itself with saying: "Ouch.... ouch... OUCH!... ooh! OW!"

Yes, very bad behaviour. I'd hate for my kid's classmates to get to hear about it. (File that under the 'weighing of consequences'). Better than doing something really fucking stupid though, like the unmentionable exit.

I also hate the revealing aspect of that sort of behaviour: the mendicant subduing the flesh with cold and thorns (I'd have made a good hermit); the old bloody sacrificial Jesus cliche (I blame the schooling); the vile exhilaration of doing something so stupid that it makes you laugh with dumbfounded amazement... the atavism... the feeling of "Ha take that Lawrence with your whippy pine branches, try some brambles next time" oneupmanship... In other words, I revolt myself, and most of all, I revolt myself by being able to pull the motives out of my personality like the thorns I pulled out the next day.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The Eve of St Agnes

One of my favourite poems from my youth. Enjoy, and a Merry Christmas to all. D


The Eve of St. Agnes - John Keats
I.

ST. AGNES’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman’s fingers, while he told 5
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem’d taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin’s picture, while his prayer he saith.
II.

His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;
10
Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
The sculptur’d dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
Emprison’d in black, purgatorial rails: 15
Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat’ries,
He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails.
III.

Northward he turneth through a little door,
And scarce three steps, ere Music’s golden tongue 20
Flatter’d to tears this aged man and poor;
But no—already had his deathbell rung;
The joys of all his life were said and sung:
His was harsh penance on St. Agnes’ Eve:
Another way he went, and soon among 25
Rough ashes sat he for his soul’s reprieve,
And all night kept awake, for sinners’ sake to grieve.
IV.

That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;
And so it chanc’d, for many a door was wide,
From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft, 30
The silver, snarling trumpets ’gan to chide:
The level chambers, ready with their pride,
Were glowing to receive a thousand guests:
The carved angels, ever eager-eyed,
Star’d, where upon their heads the cornice rests, 35
With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts.
V.

At length burst in the argent revelry,
With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
The brain, new stuff d, in youth, with triumphs gay 40
Of old romance. These let us wish away,
And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there,
Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,
On love, and wing’d St. Agnes’ saintly care,
As she had heard old dames full many times declare. 45
VI.

They told her how, upon St. Agnes’ Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of delight,
And soft adorings from their loves receive
Upon the honey’d middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright; 50
As, supperless to bed they must retire,
And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.
VII.

Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline:
55
The music, yearning like a God in pain,
She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine,
Fix’d on the floor, saw many a sweeping train
Pass by—she heeded not at all: in vain
Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier, 60
And back retir’d; not cool’d by high disdain,
But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere:
She sigh’d for Agnes’ dreams, the sweetest of the year.
VIII.

She danc’d along with vague, regardless eyes,
Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short: 65
The hallow’d hour was near at hand: she sighs
Amid the timbrels, and the throng’d resort
Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;
’Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn,
Hoodwink’d with faery fancy; all amort, 70
Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn,
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.
IX.

So, purposing each moment to retire,
She linger’d still. Meantime, across the moors,
Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire 75
For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,
Buttress’d from moonlight, stands he, and implores
All saints to give him sight of Madeline,
But for one moment in the tedious hours,
That he might gaze and worship all unseen; 80
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss—in sooth such things have been.
X.

He ventures in: let no buzz’d whisper tell:
All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords
Will storm his heart, Love’s fev’rous citadel:
For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes, 85
Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords,
Whose very dogs would execrations howl
Against his lineage: not one breast affords
Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul. 90
XI.

Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came,
Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand,
To where he stood, hid from the torch’s flame,
Behind a broad hail-pillar, far beyond
The sound of merriment and chorus bland: 95
He startled her; but soon she knew his face,
And grasp’d his fingers in her palsied hand,
Saying, “Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this place;
“They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race!
XII.

“Get hence! get hence! there’s dwarfish Hildebrand;
100
“He had a fever late, and in the fit
“He cursed thee and thine, both house and land:
“Then there ’s that old Lord Maurice, not a whit
“More tame for his gray hairs—Alas me! flit!
“Flit like a ghost away.”—“Ah, Gossip dear, 105
“We’re safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit,
“And tell me how”—“Good Saints! not here, not here;
“Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier.”
XIII.

He follow’d through a lowly arched way,
Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume; 110
And as she mutter’d “Well-a—well-a-day!”
He found him in a little moonlight room,
Pale, lattic’d, chill, and silent as a tomb.
“Now tell me where is Madeline,” said he,
“O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom 115
“Which none but secret sisterhood may see,
“When they St. Agnes’ wool are weaving piously.”
XIV.

“St. Agnes! Ah! it is St. Agnes’ Eve—
“Yet men will murder upon holy days:
“Thou must hold water in a witch’s sieve, 120
“And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays,
“To venture so: it fills me with amaze
“To see thee, Porphyro!—St. Agnes’ Eve!
“God’s help! my lady fair the conjuror plays
“This very night: good angels her deceive! 125
“But let me laugh awhile, I’ve mickle time to grieve.”
XV.

Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,
While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone
Who keepeth clos’d a wond’rous riddle-book, 130
As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.
But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told
His lady’s purpose; and he scarce could brook
Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold,
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old. 135
XVI.

Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
Made purple riot: then doth he propose
A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:
“A cruel man and impious thou art: 140
“Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream
“Alone with her good angels, far apart
“From wicked men like thee. Go, go!—I deem
“Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst seem.
XVII.

“I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,”
145
Quoth Porphyro: “O may I ne’er find grace
“When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer,
“If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
“Or look with ruffian passion in her face:
“Good Angela, believe me by these tears; 150
“Or I will, even in a moment’s space,
“Awake, with horrid shout, my foemen’s ears,
“And beard them, though they be more fang’d than wolves and bears.”
XVIII.

“Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?
“A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing, 155
“Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;
“Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,
“Were never miss’d.”—Thus plaining, doth she bring
A gentler speech from burning Porphyro;
So woful, and of such deep sorrowing, 160
That Angela gives promise she will do
Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.
XIX.

Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,
Even to Madeline’s chamber, and there hide
Him in a closet, of such privacy 165
That he might see her beauty unespied,
And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,
While legion’d fairies pac’d the coverlet,
And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed.
Never on such a night have lovers met, 170
Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.
XX.

“It shall be as thou wishest,” said the Dame:
“All cates and dainties shall be stored there
“Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame
“Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare, 175
“For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare
“On such a catering trust my dizzy head.
“Wait here, my child, with patience; kneel in prayer
“The while: Ah! thou must needs the lady wed,
“Or may I never leave my grave among the dead.” 180
XXI.

So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.
The lover’s endless minutes slowly pass’d;
The dame return’d, and whisper’d in his ear
To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
From fright of dim espial. Safe at last, 185
Through many a dusky gallery, they gain
The maiden’s chamber, silken, hush’d, and chaste;
Where Porphyro took covert, pleas’d amain.
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.
XXII.

Her falt’ring hand upon the balustrade,
190
Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
When Madeline, St. Agnes’ charmed maid,
Rose, like a mission’d spirit, unaware:
With silver taper’s light, and pious care,
She turn’d, and down the aged gossip led 195
To a safe level matting. Now prepare,
Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray’d and fled.
XXIII.

Out went the taper as she hurried in;
Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died: 200
She clos’d the door, she panted, all akin
To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
Paining with eloquence her balmy side; 205
As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.
XXIV.

A casement high and triple-arch’d there was,
All garlanded with carven imag’ries
Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass, 210
And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
As are the tiger-moth’s deep-damask’d wings;
And in the midst, ’mong thousand heraldries,
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, 215
A shielded scutcheon blush’d with blood of queens and kings.
XXV.

Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,
And threw warm gules on Madeline’s fair breast,
As down she knelt for heaven’s grace and boon;
Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, 220
And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
She seem’d a splendid angel, newly drest,
Save wings, for heaven:—Porphyro grew faint:
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint. 225
XXVI.

Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees: 230
Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.
XXVII.

Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,
235
In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex’d she lay,
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress’d
Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;
Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;
Blissfully haven’d both from joy and pain; 240
Clasp’d like a missal where swart Paynims pray;
Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.
XXVIII.

Stol’n to this paradise, and so entranced,
Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress, 245
And listen’d to her breathing, if it chanced
To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,
And breath’d himself: then from the closet crept,
Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness, 250
And over the hush’d carpet, silent, stept,
And ’tween the curtains peep’d, where, lo!—how fast she slept.
XXIX.

Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon
Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
A table, and, half anguish’d, threw thereon 255
A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet:—
O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!
The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,
Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:— 260
The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.
XXX.

And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender’d,
While he from forth the closet brought a heap
Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd; 265
With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
Manna and dates, in argosy transferr’d
From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,
From silken Samarcand to cedar’d Lebanon. 270
XXXI.

These delicates he heap’d with glowing hand
On golden dishes and in baskets bright
Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
In the retired quiet of the night,
Filling the chilly room with perfume light.— 275
“And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
“Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:
“Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes’ sake,
“Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache.”
XXXII.

Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm
280
Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream
By the dusk curtains:—’twas a midnight charm
Impossible to melt as iced stream:
The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam;
Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies: 285
It seem’d he never, never could redeem
From such a stedfast spell his lady’s eyes;
So mus’d awhile, entoil’d in woofed phantasies.
XXXIII.

Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,—
Tumultuous,—and, in chords that tenderest be, 290
He play’d an ancient ditty, long since mute,
In Provence call’d, “La belle dame sans mercy:”
Close to her ear touching the melody;—
Wherewith disturb’d, she utter’d a soft moan:
He ceased—she panted quick—and suddenly 295
Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone:
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.
XXXIV.

Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,
Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:
There was a painful change, that nigh expell’d 300
The blisses of her dream so pure and deep
At which fair Madeline began to weep,
And moan forth witless words with many a sigh;
While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;
Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye, 305
Fearing to move or speak, she look’d so dreamingly.
XXXV.

“Ah, Porphyro!” said she, “but even now
“Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
“Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;
“And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear: 310
“How chang’d thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear!
“Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
“Those looks immortal, those complainings dear!
“Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,
“For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go.” 315
XXXVI.

Beyond a mortal man impassion’d far
At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
Ethereal, flush’d, and like a throbbing star
Seen mid the sapphire heaven’s deep repose;
Into her dream he melted, as the rose 320
Blendeth its odour with the violet,—
Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
Like Love’s alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes; St. Agnes’ moon hath set.
XXXVII.

’Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:
325
“This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline!”
’Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:
“No dream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!
“Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.—
“Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring? 330
“I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine,
“Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;—
“A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing.”
XXXVIII.

“My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!
“Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest? 335
“Thy beauty’s shield, heart-shap’d and vermeil dyed?
“Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest
“After so many hours of toil and quest,
“A famish’d pilgrim,—saved by miracle.
“Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest 340
“Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think’st well
“To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel.”
XXXIX.

’Hark! ’tis an elfin-storm from faery land,
“Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
“Arise—arise! the morning is at hand;— 345
“The bloated wassaillers will never heed:—
“Let us away, my love, with happy speed;
“There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,—
“Drown’d all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:
“Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be, 350
“For o’er the southern moors I have a home for thee.”
XL.

She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
For there were sleeping dragons all around,
At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears—
Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.— 355
In all the house was heard no human sound.
A chain-droop’d lamp was flickering by each door;
The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,
Flutter’d in the besieging wind’s uproar;
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor. 360
XLI.

They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;
Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
With a huge empty flaggon by his side;
The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide, 365
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide:—
The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;—
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groan.
XLII.

And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
370
These lovers fled away into the storm.
That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
Were long be-nightmar’d. Angela the old 375
Died palsy-twitch’d, with meagre face deform;
The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.

Seven Deadly Sins

Ok, I'm just back from playing some gorgeous music with gorgeous people. But for some reason I'm thinking of the seven deadly sins. Why? Why not?

Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.

Ok, lust, sloth and wrath go with the territory. Not guilty regarding the others.

But tis how we act, not how we feel, that makes the difference.

What I mean is, I am a dog, heart and soul. I have never let myself off the leash. We have our nature, and we have our capability.

I've not sinned.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Artaud

"All true language
is incomprehensible,
Like the chatter
of a beggar’s teeth. "

And

"It is almost impossible to be a doctor and an honest man, but it is obscenely impossible to be a psychiatrist without at the same time bearing the stamp of the most incontestable madness: that of being unable to resist that old atavistic reflex of the mass of humanity, which makes any man of science who is absorbed by this mass a kind of natural and inborn enemy of all genius."

Who here has read Artaud? He is fantastic. Was fantastic, in every sense of the word. If you haven't, here is a wee wee taster. He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, but the current consensus appears that he would be in the manic-depressive camp if he was around today. NOT THAT IT MAKES ANY BLOODY DIFFERENCE.

First link is to quotes, and that is the one to click. Second is to biography, if you are still interested.

----

edit, if any of you are film buffs, he holds the cross in the Falconetti silent version of Joan of Arc.

p.s. Thank you Miss G for introducing me to Mr A.

Xmas Holiday

I get the feeling everyone on the blogosphere has stopped for xmas.

Well, just to let you know, Monsieur Abysmal does not stop for Christmas, and he would if he could, but he can't and so therefore he won't. Stay tuned for excessive excesses of self-indulgent shite over the festive period.

Shit Nugget Word Salad



I look at my posts on here, and see buckets of turds. The sheer fact some of you wade through my slurry in the hope of finding a golden nugget hidden away gets me to sleep (on occasion) with a smile, and makes me wake up (on occasion, if I have happened to sleep) with a smile.

I know I posted about blogging responsibility not that long ago, but the more I post, the more that question shakes itself threateningly above my head.

In a nutshell: when I write on here:

First, I try to set down where and what and who I am at that moment.

Second, I try to make people smile, either at my expense, or despite my expense.

Thirdly, I occasionally attempt to be vaguely educational.

Fourthly, I hope that I am, once in a while, slightly entertaining.

I can't think of any other motive for writing. I could be writing into a notebook to be tossed onto the fire when it's full. Having an audience is a bizarre and sobering experience. I have no idea whatsoever why any of you read the shit I write. Because it is generally a shallow heap of moronic truisms, jazzed up with a facile and slight capability for the english language.

I'm flying like a bad one this month. My apologies. I am trying my damnednest to keep myself on the correct side of propriety and politeness. And thank god succeeding so far.

All I am saying is: do not take anything I say seriously.

Please.

Take care all. Dx

--------
edit/p.s. why oh why oh why does blogger blur one's photos? Silly.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Tomorrow/Today

Ok, so my mother is staying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DfDVQ0pdfo (please click the link, I can't embed it, but it's Rostopovitch playing beautifully, if not how I like the piece to be played personally...)

And my darling best friend since 16 turns up tomorrow with his hyper family. It's also stubborn manic boy's birthday party, and the neighbours and their three girls are over too. I'm going to make lihapullet (sp?) Finnish meatballs. Combination of pork and beef cooked in sour cream. Served with ideally lingonberry jelly, but a Finn I've got rather close to over the last 2 years is so jealous of our redcurrant jelly (from our bush in our garden!!!! [his exclaimation marks]) and has told me it is perfectly acceptable, culinarily-wise, to do so... so I'm not worrying.

So, trying to calm down, but today I entertained my father and stepmother; then my mother and stepfather arrived with my halfsister and her boyfriend. Then at last they all went home, apart from my mother who is here til Monday, and I know we will skirt the dangerous waters of talking seriously til then.... Oh and tomorrow... Oh yes, I've already mentioned that.

Anyway, regarding darling bestfriend, just assume any latenight comments or posts tomorrow are bound to be as pissed as tonights. Or far far worse. :-( (It always happens, it will happen). God, years and years ago (at least 10 or more) we both decided that if we *were* gay, we'd have ended up a couple. ... I say thank god we're not, because we're still friends.

If you're reading, MR PINK, then a big wave from MR DIRTY BROWN.

Merry xmas everyone*

* I'm sure there are at least another 20 posts before the new year, but you never know, eh?

Love and x's

Crude, But Hilarious

Friday, 19 December 2008

Mental Illness and Creativity.

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, for a good while in fact, and Seaneen's post about the same subject the other week had the effect of a spur in the flank of my laziness and ineptitude, but that same flagrant torpor and that distillation of maladroitness that make up my general nature have won out until now. (Coughs, clears throat with the leaf-rake, wipes the Dettol sponge over the flysheet of his hippopotacampus, squares shoulders with masonic implements, and blinks while trying to catch his scurrying thread through the eye of the Camel's needle)... I feel the urge not to break this into paragraphs. But in(outa)sight wins the day again, and paragraphs, from the mowing heaths of gibberish, I summon you hence...

There we are, digestible chunks. Where was I? It is indeed exceptionally irritating when one is expected to spin gold from the horrible sludge of one's brain. Most mad people are not creative, and most creative people are not mad. However, it's not as simple as that.

Firstly, there is a preponderance of mad-creative people - by which I mean that more creative people are mad, and more mad people are creative, than would be expected, going by the general population. The two cohabit well enough for the two conditions to be given the high-falutin description of a correlation.

Secondly, the 'mad' people who benefit are generally the 'less' mad. Or the 1st degree relatives of the mad. For instance, cyclothymia and BPii have a far higher correlation with creativity than BPi and schizophrenia.

Thirdly, there appears to be a strong correlation with psychoticism expressed as a trait, and creativity (see Eysenck). This increases as psychoticism increases, with more widely and wildly differing frames of reference being brought together, bearing gorgeous fruit, and then decreasing as the frames of reference are torn apart, letting all logic drift away into incoherence.

Eg. The cat pounced like the flick of a whip. Very close frames of reference: cat/cat'o'nine tails/whip. But the cat pounced like the flick of a bridle... Ok... so cat/cat'o'nine tails/whip
/leather/bridle - the sense begins to wander - too weak for the sense. And then the cat pounced, bucking against constraints... We're leaving commonsense...
Etc. Apologies, first simile that came to mind. (edit, I can't resist: "the cat pounced, leather-lick quick"... hmmm...)

There may well be some biasing factors: mad people can't survive in steady stable professions as easily as in the creative professions. Perhaps. But it is interesting to note that there is a correlation between madness and hard scientists too. Then again, hard science is just as much an oddball pond as poetry.

In conclusion, there may well be creative benefits, so long as the madness is not too disruptive, for which read the degree of psychoticism* doesn't overwhelm the organising and editing part of the intellect.

And yes, I know I have kept my tongue in my cheek writing this. I just wish I was either a tad less nuts, or else clever enough to take advantage of it.

Further reading:

Eysenck - Genius - The Natural History of Creativity

Koestler - The Act of Creation
Jamison - Touched by Fire
Goodwin & Jamison - Manic Depressive Illness (chapter 12 - pretty much a rehash of the previous)

* I'm using this word in the psychological sense of the trait of psychoticism, not the clinical sense of psychosis, although they hie from the same stable.

----

edit, and if anyone has any better 'cat pounced' metaphors, then share them here, and we can make a case study :-)

Disorder of the Day

Just been over at Lola Snow's who has been talking about personality disorder, with a lovely little test. Go and read it, it's far more entertaining and witty than what's below.

Results:

Paranoid: Low
Schizoid: Low
Schizotypal: Very High
Antisocial: Low
Borderline: High
Histrionic: Moderate
Narcissistic: Moderate
Avoidant: Low
Dependent: Low
Obsessive-Compulsive: Moderate

Strange. I had to go and look up Schizotypal Personality Disorder as you do, cos the results were telling me to.

Ok: symptoms:
  1. Ideas of reference (excluding delusions of reference) - NOPE
  2. Odd beliefs or magical thinking that influences behavior and is inconsistent with subcultural norms (e.g., superstitiousness, belief in clairvoyance, telepathy, or "sixth sense"; in children and adolescents, bizarre fantasies or preoccupations) NOPE
  3. Unusual perceptual experiences, including bodily illusions FORMER YES, LATTER NOPE
  4. Odd thinking and speech (e.g., vague, circumstantial, metaphorical, overelaborate, or stereotyped) SOME THAT INHABIT THIS WHIRLING SOD OF EARTH MIGHT BIND MY LINEAMENTS THUS.
  5. Suspiciousness or paranoid ideation NOPE.
  6. Inappropriate or constricted affect DEPENDS IF MANIC OR DEPRESSED OR BOTH
  7. Behavior or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar SEE ABOVE
  8. Lack of close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives NOPE
  9. Social anxiety that tends to be associated with paranoid fears rather than negative judgments about self MAYBE
Ok, so out of 9 we have 4 definite NOPES, 1 definite MAYBE, 3 MAYBEs that are easily explained by the manic-depression, and 1 PROBABLE.

I don't think it seems so likely. Silly online tests. The other week when I was flying, I took a mania evaluation, and went nearly off the scale. For the sake of amusement I asked my wife to try it. She was almost in the severely manic category. I reckon the psych who drew it up had never tried bringing up three small kids - you HAVE to be somewhat manic, else they'll devour you bone and sinew, and slurp your brains for pudding. Point is though, the test was at least 1 1/2 categories skewed towards the severe end. You could feel a bit flustered I reckon, take that test, and worry you needed hospitalisation.

Insomnia Back to Front

So, tried to be a good boy, and got to sleep by midnight. Only to wake at half-two. Oh well, tomorrow/today is another day. Have just got up because I was bored with staring at the ceiling. Oh, there's the milkman again. Put a log on the fire. Sit staring at it. Kids will be up in couple of hours. If I don't feel sleepy in the next hour then I'll put the kettle on for the beginning of the new day for the rest of the house.

Keep safe all.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

The Shambles

Career... ha. Getting back to work. Hmmm. I dearly want to, because I'm going stir-crazy in this bizarre form of house-arrest I find myself in. (I live out in the howling wilderness, and apparently, for the safety of myself and other road users, I'm not allowed to drive at the moment.)

I was just thinking... pondering... hallucinating drafting my CV - haven't needed to for about 10 years... and imagining the interviews... ha ha ha ha ha! Sorry, the prospect is too funny to contemplate. I really want to be doing something, I'm not being encouraged to do anything by my MH team, and I know I'm not up to doing anything. Multipolar attitude problem.

In the interview: "Is there anything else you'd like to ask or tell us?"

I'm mad. I suffer from an unpleasant variety of manic-depression. The benefits outweigh the possible um... complications... honest! I'm a great team-player, so long as I'm in charge. Yes I know the last employment I was in, I did really well, so well in fact I realised I could do a better job and set up in competition on my own... You'd see me for at least one week a month! When I'm up, you won't believe the new directions I'll take your company! Aggressive? Only if I'm told what to do by a fool! But tell me to lead the men over the top towards the wire and I'm your man! Yes Sir! This interview is ridiculous. If you want a boring, lazy, idiot, why didn't you say so in the first place? My last year's salary? £45000, according to the accounts, but I know they must be wrong. It couldn't possibly have been as high as that, but I won't accept a penny less, after it's been adjusted for cost-of-living inflation. Interpersonal skills? I like your earrings, they really suit you. Ugh! I couldn't possibly work with that carpet. If I get the post, can you change it? Right, now, here are MY terms and conditions...

What do you mean, "Welcome aboard?"

CPN Popped In on a Flying Visit!

After listening to me gabbling for five minutes, he gave me a jaundiced look, said "I can tell you're skimming over lots of stuff at the moment. Phone me if it gets too much." Then went, helping himself to a freshly baked cupcake on the way out.

We have an understanding of sorts. If I don't ask for help, he respects it.

He's a good chap.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Playing with a Yoyo Above a Mirror

Sorry about the last. Sometimes up is down and down is up. My mood wanders on zebra-coloured graph-paper. Just have to try not to smash the mirror. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Temporary Miserable Moribundity

But I know tomorrow is another day.......

And it will arrive.

There is always another day, until there is no other day, and inshallah that will be out of my hands.

I'm going to wait til the morning.

I'll wait to the evening after that.

I'll keep waiting, because firstly, I know this is an aberration, a temporary feeling. And secondly, I know that beyond, and beneath the first, I want to live.

Certitude.

Solidarity.

People like me survive. It is a habit, hard-learned.

Learn the habit.

Why give up when you know that the worst life can offer you will always trump death?

Don't give up.

---

And I'll see you all in the morning.

And a proleptic thankyou for the fact that I will be here in the morning.

You are all rare stars in the firmament.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A Day in the Life of a Coffee Cup



Something I did to take my mind off things back in June. It's Bartok in the background. Hope it entertains someone.

Not much to report here. Went into town this morning, very tense by the time we got back. I was backseat-driving in what I thought was a humorous fashion.... hmmm. Sorry dear! (edit, Dear says "Sorry too!")

Monday, 15 December 2008

Questions and Ramblings

All too often I catch sight of myself in the mirror, and demand of my reflection why I don't take myself or my mental health as seriously as I probably should - or at least as seriously as everyone seems to be telling me I should. I think in part it is complacency: despite a chaotic life over the last quarter century I have always muddled through and survived in some form or fashion. I don't really enjoy inspecting my history too rigorously, because I start to see the various embarrassments, ghastlinesses, horrible scenes, wonderful sillinesses all strewn in my wake like some old dustbin bag that the foxes have had a go at.

That chaotic and muddled self is the only one I've known. I didn't recognise the person I became on the anti-psychotics, nor the mood-stabilisers. It feels like too high a price to pay for stability: the renouncing of my precarious at the best of times sense of identity.

So, complacency, and cowardice too, perhaps - not brave enough to turn over a new leaf, forge a new self, deny my shabby, comfortable rags for a sober double-breasted business suit.

Part of me is convinced that stress is my trigger par excellence. To be honest, stress had built up to intolerable levels over the last few years: the job, the nature of the business, running the business, a growing family. I can't help thinking my mind just said "Enough! I'm out of here!" Again, cowardice.

But now it's forced a complete upheaval on my life: lost me my business, my right to drive a car, my prospects of re-employment in the field which I'm an expert in... It's not so much out of the frying pan into the fire as tipped onto the compost heap for the worms and rats to fight over. (Excuse my melodramatics).

But there is one thing that gives me pause, and makes me wonder how seriously I should be taking myself. (I know I should be serious, but if I didn't laugh I'd cry). Ever since February, when I stopped taking the quetiapine, I've suffered from such a sensitive brain, it drives me nuts. Every jolt of emotion, arousal, surprise, intellectual recognition, all feel like a burning rag swabbed over my brain from the back of my crown to the top of my forehead.

I've asked the shrinks and doctors about it, but they just mouth silently like goldfish: "Blop, blop, blop..."

I have four guesses:

i) the last episode fried my brains completely, and in a way totally different in degree to what I've been used to over the years.

ii) the quetiapine screwed up my brains - google dopaminergic super-sensitivity.

iii) the amount of whisky I put back in the bad time in the spring pickled my brain.

iv) the number of times I beat my brains against the wall scrambled my brains.

Does anyone know of anyone with this symptom? Because it is making life far more difficult that it could otherwise be. It is like having no skull.

Answers on the back of a cold compress please.

Take care everyone.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Tom o'Bedlam

The title of the poem below the last post comes from this anonymous ballad circa 1600. You'd be right to think of Edgar (Poor Tom's a cold):

Tom o'Bedlam

From the hag and hungry goblin
that into rags would rend ye,
and the spirit that stands by the naked man
in the book of moons, defend ye,
that of your five sound senses
ye never be forsaken,
nor wander from yourselves with Tom
abroad to beg your bacon.

[Chorus]
While I do sing, any food,
any feeding, drink, or clothing?
Come, dame or maid, be not afraid,
poor Tom will injure nothing.

Of thirty barren years have I
twice twenty been enragèd,
and of forty been three times fifteen
in durance soundly cagèd
on the lordly lofts of Bedlam,
with stubble soft and dainty,
brave bracelets strong, sweet whips, ding-dong,
and a wholesome hunger plenty.

While I do sing, any food....

With a thought I took for Maudlin,
and a cruse of cockle pottage,
with a thing thus tall, sky bless you all,
I fell into this dotage.
I slept not since the Conquest,
till then I never wakèd,
till the roguish boy of love where I lay
me found and stripped me naked.

While I do sing, any food....

When I short have shorn my sour-face,
and swigged my horny barrel,
in an oaken inn I pound my skin
as a suit of gilt apparel.
The Moon's my constant mistress,
and the lowly owl my morrow;
The flaming drake and the night-crow make
me music to my sorrow.

While I do sing, any food....

The palsy plagues my pulses,
when I prig your pigs or pullen,
Your culvers take, or matchless make
your chanticleer or sullen.
When I want provant, with Humphry
I sup, and when benighted,
I repose in Paul's with waking souls,
yet never am affrighted.

While I do sing, any food....

I know more than Apollo,
for oft when he lies sleeping
I see the stars at bloody wars
in the wounded welkin weeping,
the Moon embrace her shepherd,
and the queen of love her warrior,
while the first doth horn the star of morn,
and the next the heavenly Farrier.

While I do sing, any food....

The gipsy Snap and Pedro
are none of Tom's comradoes.
The punk I scorn, and the cutpurse sworn,
And the roaring boys' bravadoes.
The meek, the white, the gentle,
me handle, touch, and spare not;
but those that cross Tom Rhinoceros
do what the panther dare not.

While I do sing, any food....

With an host of furious fancies
whereof I am commander,
with a burning spear and a horse of air
to the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wild world's end,
methinks it is no journey.

While I do sing, any food....

How Mad Are We?

I was trying to express something earlier on Mandy's blog, that was a crossover from Mo's blog, and I realised I was getting incoherent simply due to the fact that, as ever, I was trying to play down and play down just where I get to on the bad times at both ends of the scale.

I'm sure most of you have seen this scale, or something similar (I bet James Parnell wished he wrote it):

3: Severely Elevated. Can't work.
2: Elevated. Can work.
1: Somewhat elevated.
0: Normal.
1: Somewhat depressed.
2: Depressed. Can work.
3: Severely depressed. Can't Work.

Here is my version, based on what I've told the psychs I've experienced over the last year or so:

5: Catatonically Manic
4: Psychotic: word-salad, god-like knowledge that you babble to the confusion of the audience.
3: Tap-dancing and running around naked in the night.
2: Fiercely up, doing everyone's head in, starting fights.
1: Life and soul of the party, words and ideas flow out the fingertips, and the rest of the world gets them.
0: Normal.
1: Hates everything, snaps at everything, no energy at all.
2: Slumped in bed, or crushed on the fireguard on a chair.
3: Won't talk, won't eat, won't look, won't be.
4: No movement, may as well be dead.
5: Catatonically Depressed

Now. The first scale, and my scale correspond like this:

My 5 = their 3
My 4 = their 3
My 3 = their 3
My 2 = their 3
My 1 = their 2
My 0 = their 1 or -1
My 1 = their 2
My 2 = their 3
My 3 = their 3
My 4 = their 3
My 5 = their 3

I am thankful that I have never reached 5 or -5. But I've been at 4 and -4, concurrently, flipping from one to the other, trying to kill myself, then thinking it's an idiotic idea because I can fly off into the crystal sky and escape it.

I generally swim from 2 to -2, but the last two weeks have seen plenty of 3.5 to -2. The joys of mixed state.

What is my point? The scales we are asked to fill in are so constricting, they push you into denying symptoms - who wants to fill in +3 and -3 for every day? They'll only want to give you more drugs.

Personal note. I'm very lucky. I've somehow lived my life surrounded by understanding people - not necessarily mental - but people who understand. I think that is how I've escaped for so long. I also think, that because I've lived out in the world after leaving home through several episodes which I thought was just normal human experience, that I've developed lots of safety mechanisms to cope. That said, I have only done about 2 years employment for other people. I've done loads of self employment mind.... my boss can't sack me that way!

Anyway, I hate memes - I hate the way they try to cosify everything. But if anyone wants to use the Abysmal Musings Manic-Depressive Scale (now to be known as AMMDS) please be my guest, and let me know if you do.

Take care all, D.

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p.s. My middle boy, shortly turning four, and who hacked all his lovely curls off himself (again!) while our backs were turned, is grunting and sleeping on the sofa. He has a cough, and I said he could sleep down by the fire. Life is good.... life is good... life is good. I need my mantras too, and I'm so lucky to have got a family. It helps. In fact, it is amazing how one can find control of a sort when a child appears in the dead of night. I wonder if anyone has researched that? Or do they all just recommmend sterilization????? GRRRR!

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P.P.S. Category 4 on the Manic Scale: that runs throughout my entire being to a greater or lesser extent on a sliding scale. It's all so much more damned complicated than we ever hope to define or simply describe...

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P.P.P.S. I just walked outside into the moonlight to have a fag, and realised my brain-set had changed utterly from the last couple of weeks. Like a switch. I was calm. I wasn't vibrating. I wasn't hearing things. I wasn't seeing things. It's like a superb calmness. Why?!!! FFS?? (This ppps is generally for my benefit.) Funny though, the fit has passed. It feels like it. Right. Off to go outside again just to prove it to myself.