A friend introduced me to Carl Jung's concept of the "shadow," and it has haunted me every since. Not necessarily one's evil twin, but something potent, permanent, a counter-balance to our public selves. It is the thing that we keep hidden well, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.
It is the thing that we keep hidden well
by Gideon Burton
It is the thing that we keep hidden well,
a thing that we refuse to give a name.
For this, perhaps, it flexes, reaches, swells
to unpredicted girth one cannot tame
with bright diversions, cannot leach nor spill,
exfoliate nor immolate nor quell.
It worms its tendrils tight around the will,
compelling weak confessions one might sell
to selves less calloused to the pattern. So,
despite the exorcisms and the paint,
the breath of children and the river’s flow,
the chanting of religions deep or quaint,
it is the thing that on our dying lives,
that we embrace for every pain it gives.
Feel free to copy, imitate, remix, or redistribute this poem as long as you give proper acknowledgment of authorship. Photo: flickr - sufw