This was written when I was doing a counselling course, we had been looking at Carl Jung’s work on the shadow.  I no longer believe that all we feel is just our own stuff as I am aware of the interference now, but a lot of this poem still stands…..


The beast within
it rattles its chains
it wants its vengeance
against all the pains
that it’s witnessed from there
in its dark inner room
all the pain that its felt
since the comfort of womb

It gnashes its teeth
It sharpens its claws
Its eyes flash with fire
It seeks open doors
It wants to wreak havoc
It wants to unleash
all the pain and the anger
that bubbles beneath

The beast in my basement
its power is immense
I’ll never quite tame it
It always feels tense
It’s ready to Pounce
to rip and to tear
to bring vicious justice
to all that’s unfair

But I talk to the beast
It’s love that it needs
Though all too often
on anger it feeds
Pain is its breakfast
for lunch it is sorrow
for dinner injustice
So what for the morrow?

More of the same?
More pain? More shame?
With a diet like that,
how can it be tame?

So I’ll sit here a while
and I’ll look in its eyes
I’ll stay quietly by
and no longer despise
this animal in me
for it’s part of my soul
No longer will I try
to deny it its role

Its power is there
like a battery inside
Can be used in my life
it doesn’t have to reside
just there in the darkness
in a self-built fear-cage
I don’t have to tremble
at the animal’s rage

It’s a part of my being
It can keep me from harm
In the knowledge of its strength
I can choose to stay calm

For it’s only in fear
that the animal appears
though most of its body
is of unwept tears
and deeply pressed feelings
pushed down inside
The place where all the
pain and grief reside

It’s in the form of the animal
the shape that it takes
Though really it’s just
my perception’s mistake

This creature inside is just me, just me
The bits I’ve not allowed the world to see
So acknowledging it now, perhaps, finally
…..I’ll be free?

by Kathrin Atkinson


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