All fruit is sweet as marzipan,
and seraphs carol just for me,
Each brook sings like a silver lyre,
and finches trill in every tree.

Life is a cloth embossed with gold,
and even through the blackest rains,
No rainbow seems too hard to reach,
for ichor courses through my veins.

Those daedal thoughts flow thick and fast,
like honey from mosaicked hive,
The world’s a Garden of Delights,
I burst with joy to be alive.

And now it starts, the skyward flight,
slow at first, then gath’ring pace,
Just like a breathless fairground ride,
that sends  me whirling into space.

And on my climb to crackling sun,
I glimpse a gilded paradise,
That sphere aswirl with cherubim,
and full of riches without price.

But like hot-headed Icarus,
who thought that he would try his luck,
I, too, fly straight towards the sun,
and all my feathers come unstuck.

Now rainbows smash like Roman glass,
and splinters tinkle all around,
My head aswarm with twinkling stars,
as floating castles hit the ground.

That plump brocade I once called life,
Is torn asunder at the seams,
Now all  I wish to do is sleep,
and quench my thirst in Lethean streams.



Rachel Thomas was born in a town near Bristol, UK, gained a degree in French and Italian from Exeter University, UK. She currently lives in Italy.

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9 Responses

  1. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Rachel, this poem is intriguing, inspirational, absolutely beautiful and emotional. To describe all the highs and lows of Cyclothymia in poetry is a challenge in itself, but you have pulled it off perfectly. The colourful array of sky-high images, followed by the crash back to earth, has taken this reader on a rollercoaster of a journey, and I especially love the last three stanzas. The image of the hot-headed Icarus, the unstuck feathers, and the smashed rainbows is a triumph. The closing couplet is also quite heart-touching, leading to a greater sympathy for and understanding of this condition. Very well done, indeed!

  2. benjamen grinberg

    You know, a comment was made in the comments that today’s poetry is always about “I”. Yet you are writing in the third person while expressing the script of your protagonist.

    The second half of the poem almost seems to describe a sort of bipolar disorder where the normally joyous person starts to become manic.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    This poem has a spanking pace, and is without triteness in the ideas expressed or in the selection of end rhymes in these XAXA stanzas. The highs and lows are are very satisfyingly detailed.

  4. benjamen grinberg

    I just read the poem to my father. He was saddened by the sad ending and said how much more he would like to see something more life-affirming. First, this isn’t to take anything away from the poem which is exquisite. Second, it’s actually easier to write something life-affirming for we have tropes of “life is beautiful” “it’ll all be ok” “everything is amazing”. What’s hard about it is one actually needs to feel that affirmation in one’s heart to make these words. Or be open to the experience of having it. And this natural joy of the human condition is so simple that it may be an obstacle to exquisiteness. It may take more skill to do so. For then it’s not just life-affirming joy, it’s exquisite divine joy. Maybe similar to comparing simple happy tunes to the same tunes arranged in an orchestral rendition.

    I will need to expand my poetic knowledge and look for examples of those poems. But everything Ms. Roberts has written here is most satisfying.

    • Yael

      You could also look up “Cyclothymia”. It’s very interesting and sheds further light on the topic.

  5. Yael

    That’s an exquisite and delicious poem, thank you. This is a true story:
    When I was a little girl in Germany my dad often told my brother and I the story of Daedalus and Icarus during Sunday morning family time. When I behaved myself my mother rewarded me with chocolate and marzipan.
    Reading your poem caused a strong craving to come over me.
    I feel the urge to search for marzipan…

  6. Charlie Bauer

    Ms. Thomas,

    That was beautifully and bravely said.

    Thank you and best wishes.


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