Doubt The Butcher Came Today

At times Doubt the Butcher comes calling,
cuts out my heart, my lungs,
strips me of my ability to love;
seems to build his shop inside my skull;
keeps his knives sharpened on the stone
below my sternum; he’s quick to slice
derision and self-deprecation
into sausage for the populace;

at other times he clears the house,
knocks down the prices,
sells all the stock: my broken bones
of thought are on the block,

my dark emotions liver flows like blood
upon the floor into dark pools;
and in the sink I see my head
looking up at me like Hamlet’s grin;
and, I’m afraid. Should I ask this
butcher to end this charade? Send
him packing with his snares
and wares, his bloody aprons
and his knives of skeptic lears;
seek the pieces of my mind again,
make whole the bony chancel of my soul,
restore the organs of my thought,
sever caustic butcheries from doubting miseries,
till mind and heart and solitude send up white flags
and once again hold truce against the violent clans of butchery?

– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

9 thoughts on “Doubt The Butcher Came Today

  1. ‘…my dark emotions liver..’ how good is that..i wish i’d written it. Behind this fluent and at times, to me, tongue in cheek writing there’s a great deal of learning, understanding of the human condition and a ton of humanity and compassion.
    SC, here you deliver with class an style

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, John as usual you overwhelm me in response! Appreciate it… 😉

      I think both of us have lived long enough, been through enough pain to speak down into the depths of it.. and once one has entered the abyss of emptiness and nihilism long enough one realizes there’s a door beyond it into something darker and brighter at once. One becomes human again…

      And, of course you are so correct too… I think all those years of abstruse studies in the various branches that have held me at bay and instigated journeys into both outside and inside scholarship is leading me of all things back to the two strains in my poetry: the metaphysicals – John Donne, Dryden, Marvell – and, on to the wits, especially Pope and others up to our time, with Milton, Dante, and Shakespeare as my ever apparent bards of preference up to Whitman (my main precursor and a very learned bard). Oh, and of course Browning, Tennyson, and Yeats… in that order… dam my procurer list is poetry itself 🙂 haha …


  2. I’m not sure if I would be on the Butchers side. I like how he slices away at derision and self deprecation, the idea what doubt could make you a better construction after it’s done is wildly appealing. But that he strips away the ability to love…


    • Of course that’s the point, to leave the ambiguity in there to work out as one sees fit. Doubt, self-worth and self-doubt are emotional killers that do all the above and leave one drained in a nihilistic world with almost nothing left at all… and, yet, is there an answer to it… the only answer is one’s own life.

      From one who has taken the long trip down that black hole I know that one can come back out whole and well again, even if scarred by life’s traumas and pain… no magic bullet, but one can survive and not only survive but find joy in life again even through the pain.

      I think on the recent melancholic suicides of Robin Williams… and before that of many others like David Foster Wallace “Infinite Jest” fame. So many people in pain who seem at first so energetic and almost full of whimsical and such humane forbearance and graciousness who in their own lives harbor such feelings of destitution.

      And, of course I was thinking of the notion of love and impotence both physical and mental, sex and love of life, poetry, art, philosophy, culture, etc. … Self-doubt, self-ridicule, about one’s priority, power, wealth, sex etc. all seem to follow men not women in this sense at least… and, the poem was a ironic take on all of this in a form of wit rather than confessional.


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