Black Dog Three
mood state three
black queen takes white rook
one last pawn
against the checked linoleum
of a hospital ward
two knight nurses can’t force checkmate
against lone king
you hold your knees
rock and wail
there was a time
don’t go there
you worked hard
straddling a line between
perfection and success
they don’t make lines like they used to
flimsy old string
thrashing against shockpain
all other thoughts disappear
the only strategy
left in the murky waters of your head
finding a win for cornered white
I asked Maggie what prompted this piece and she said…
This was part of a triple set of poems written for a friend who was going through a serious depression. Here, played against a game of chess. The Black Dog (no relation to Black Cow!) is a reference to Churchill’s Black Dog – that is, depression. The poem is from my full-length collection Repulsion Thrust.
That was really touching, thank you Maggie.
She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a non-fiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future.
She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks.
Find out more about Magdalena (Maggie) at
If you’d like to submit your poem (40 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow… romance / erotica author and editor Sue Swift aka Suz deMello returns, wearing her editor’s hat– the four hundred and sixty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays.