The past two weeks I have heard so many mentions of the limitations of language when it comes to conveying ideas and concepts in our class. Last week we discussed the monumental task of trying to capture the full scope of a natural scene with just adjectives and metaphor. This week we read and listened to Francis Webb’s description of the near impossibility he felt trying to get his intended message across. What chance do us beginners have!!!

I realised I have recently made an honest attempt at this (although my subject was somewhat darker) and would be curious to see how I went. I suffer from anxiety and depression and I have been under attack quite a lot lately by my inner demons. One particularly rough day I felt an overwhelming urge to draw this nasty son of a bitch, but sadly realised that I have NO drawing ability; so I decided to use the tools I have at my disposal; words.

I wrote the following poem and think that I captured this horrid beast in all its ominous glory:


Huge claws wrap around my middle

Crushing my insides

Stomach churns


Huge mouth lowers onto my head

Biting my skull

Sharp pointed teeth pierce the skin

Puncture the bone

Stabbing my brain

I cannot see a body

This monster hangs on my back

It doesn’t look angry

It doesn’t look happy or sad.

It looks insatiable

It looks ravenous!


To my amazement, less than a week later I saw a cartoon on Facebook containing an image that depicted, what I believed, was my own personal monster! I guess I will always have to deal with this insidious goblin, but it was sweetly soothing to see that I was not alone. I am personally awed by the similarity, but only I can know what was in my head. Of course it is not exactly the same, but what it is doing is so exact it’s eerie.

I would be interested to hear if the words I wrote produce a comparable image for you readers.


3 thoughts on “Blog 5: (attempting to) Illustrate with Words

  1. This is so beautifully written! I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression for years and was only diagnosed as bipolar last year, so I relate to this piece thoroughly. The way in which you described that tumultuous lack of control is put so poignantly. The line “I cannot see a body” especially resonated with me. Mental illness feels so strong and powerful that it feels like it must be a presence of some kind. At least that’s how it is for me some of the time. I loved this and I’m glad that you’ve found a way to express those feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is really good that you have expressed yourself in this way Nigel and I love the response you have received- shows how important it is to share such experiences! And it is so good that Francis Webb opened up this way for you. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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