And then there are the four horsemen. Circling in the distance – tall, straight figures mounted on different coloured horses they are an imposing, threatening presence.
The harridan on my right shoulder will draw on their presence. Attiring herself in a dress to match the colour of a particular horse she will feed me with untruths.
Dressed in white she tells me that the world is a frightening place, that other people are out to get me, to do me down, that the unknown is populated by strange monsters and frightening creatures who are all out to destroy me. She conjures up demons and green dragons with horns on their heads and sharp pointed teeth, making me terrified even to exist. She persuades me that the only safe option is to bury myself, hide away, refuse to enter into unknown territory because to go there is far too dangerous. If I believe her I feel isolated, frightened, alone but
Dressed in red she baffles and confuses me. Creating fabricated images which would persuade me wrong is right, black is white. Using my history and twisting it to persuade me that what I thought I knew I did not, that lack of knowledge is constant and that I will never understand. If I believe her I feel fearful, uncertain, frozen but
Dressed in black she creates the illusion of blockages, barriers at every turn, hurdles and obstacles, roads that lead to nowhere and are not worth following, mazes from which it is impossible to escape. She persuades me that the difficulties are too great for me ever to overcome. If I believe her I feel blocked, at an impasse, unable to move but
Dressed in grey she persuades me that the torch of hope has been extinguished, that I am in the dark, that there will never be light and that when all is black there are no edges. That I might as well give in because I am worthless and that therefore the only option is self-destruction. If I believe her I sink deep within a pool of self pity with no hope of rescue but
She always lies; she is a practised and accomplished liar and although, in the four horsemen, she has powerful allies, I must always be aware that she lies. I have the tools to accomplish this, I merely need the courage and fortitude to use them.
I must recognise, and keep being aware, that fear is not absence of courage, that anxiety is not the same as fear, that facing the fear is an act of love and that the antidote to fear is love. I need to consider my actions, my behaviour – for if I am operating out of fear I will always finish up in the wrong place, whereas if I am operating out of love the destination will be okay.
I must recognise that the journey towards knowledge is via confusion, that confusion is a necessary staging post on the way. Sometimes, in fact, I must seek that particular place because often, in order to learn, I must first unlearn.
And I need to learn that she will use my impatience to go forward as an enemy against me. Instead of pressing myself harder and harder against the brick wall while she creates presences behind me trying to harm me, I need to step sideward, seek a secluded place under a tree and reflect on the bigger picture.
And I must remember too, when she would persuade me that I am bereft of hope, that the torch of hope never goes out. The beautiful fairy promised me that, and the beautiful fairy never lies.
Audio version available at http://youtube.com/user/DavidAgnewpoet