The Ballad of Night Anxious

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What does it matter where my body happens to be?  My mind goes on working all the same.

I’ve done it again. Unwitting, unwelcome,

I’ve woken up Knight Anxious,

all creeping worries and lingering thoughts,

all lists and fears, tapeworms,

my warts magnified fivefold by the conjured dangers of the night.


He heralds tumbling tonefalls, a rain-soaked day ahead.

Regardless of the weather, he never cooks the pudding,

yet proud of his invention, he harrumphs on horses high,

failure denigrated, unhinged from little pleasures,

unwashed with median joys.


He watches, waits, then pounces, always the live menace,

but always unexpected.

After all this time

I still can’t find the trigger

nor welcome him sagely

nor sluice him off like wet reproaches.

I hesitate just one second:

each time the haircracks multiply,

he seeps through, sucking

all air from the cave of my lungs:

infallible gravity.


We soldier on, we soldier on, mounted or on foot,

no end in sight, no redeeming dawn,

we balance, we teeter… and some of us fall.

27 thoughts on “The Ballad of Night Anxious”

    1. Thank you – although I’ll tell you a secret… With me it’s sounds that come first, rather than images and colours!
      (By the way, your name always amuses me when I see it, because it’s so close to the Romanian for ‘gentleman’ – domn. So I tend to read it as ‘domn ex-door’ when in a rush.)

  1. What an amazing poem, Marina. The last line is a particularly perfect ending. I really enjoyed how rich your poem is … pulling out all the stops, as they say. It seems we have thought about similar things. Last week , I penned a poem too about the night, and the horse also featured strongly. It is called “Carpe noctem.”

  2. ah he’s a mean fellow… and his attacks come unexpected mostly… wonder if a decent talk over a cup of tea would be helpful you know… sometimes it’s a good way to face our fears and talk to them a bit…they lose their power then… well written…

    1. Perhaps that explains why my poems are often dark… But seriously, since visiting dVerse Poets and reading other’s more light-hearted work and attempting different prompts, I think I’ve got less ‘heavy’ and self-absorbed, which can only be a good thing!

  3. oy, why is it he waits until i am just to put my head on the pillow hoping to get some rest…i guess his spies keep an eye and know when to signal the attack…yes, all too true….

  4. I know this fellow but I shake him off every time with lots of writing ~ I guess being aware of his presence will make us more mindful of our state ~ Happy Sunday, smiles ~

  5. Yes, I can tell that it is sounds that lead your writing: several lines have such a variation of vowels, with hardly one rep.
    “each time the haircracks multiply,” 7 out of 8 are different. Almost like an explosion of sounds producing the starburst of the crack.
    My favourite example is a line in Keats’ Ode to Autumn, which tastes like a tart apple when you read it out loud.

    1. Thank you, yes, I am very auditive (I used to tape my lessons for revision in high school). And you are so right about the richness and musicality of Keats – I never thought about the apple tart analogy, but I did think once or twice of milk and honey or custard.

      1. tart apple rather than the reverse 🙂
        A sour taste makes your mouth pucker differently from the sweetness that apple tart conjures up.
        Can’t remember the actual line though without looking it up.

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