Post-weekend Poetry 034: Black Dog Three by Maggie Ball

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the thirty-fourth poem in this series. This week’s piece is by poet, non-fiction author, novelist and interviewee Maggie Ball.

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
but no
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.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader.

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.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

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.

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