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Personal Story: My Dance With Shadow

painfully perplexing state of my beingLines on my face and hands tell the truth of the clock ever ticking.
And yet, for this villain of my youth, it seems no time existed.
For even with hinges rusted shut, heavy doors began to open.
The memories, seemingly lost, and beyond recall,
Echoed hauntingly through the deepened recesses of my being.

With nightly visits the dreams began to flood, like fiery flashes dancing.
Images – nay, these images cannot be mine- I say, “Be gone.”
“Go back from whence you came – peace be mine.”
This painfully perplexing state of my being will not let me sleep.
Alas no peace was to be. Thus my journey had begun.

My shadow was itself, caught in a vast web of secret agony,
with pain hidden so deeply as to not reveal the truth concealed.
Unseen this truth for none to know, hidden so well that I,
even I, refused to honor – a journey long ago established.

What good could such a deed remembered bring?
None must know this phantom.
Hide my shadow – away with thee.
Be gone, and let me have my peace.

For this belief I did posses,
this truth forbidden, gone in time,
would be lost for none to know.

Ugly head, why now you surfaced?
In an ocean black and deep,
light may enter not the secrets of your depths.
Resurfacing, in a pain, unearthly – a pain like Red fire-burning.
Burning deep within my soul.
Red fire-burning, with embers glowing in the memory of my being.

Twisting and spinning,
each cell with pain locked tightly within its walls,
Doth protest of Fire – Red fire-burning.

With my soul descending in an unending sense of hopelessness,
my sanity in doubt, and with confidence ebbing away,
still the Red fire-burned.
Be gone this dream from hell – you demon from antiquity.

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Persistent burning pain, Red fire-burning,
And now what?
An unannounced and unwanted consistent knocking at my door!
“Be gone,” I say. “‘Tis the dark of night.”
“What kind of hour is this to call?”

Even if it would be myself who doth knock.
I would say, “Be gone for I must sleep.”
On deaf ears my unheard plea has landed.
What choice have I?
Nowhere may I hide from your resolve.

Like a spoiled child – you unceasingly state your demands.
Your birthright – you say I have stolen.
You call it yours to own.
Shadow so persistent,
I say, “Go back. I know not of what you speak.”

Tenaciously, you knock,
persistently, into the dark of night.
The door I must answer.
My only choice to search –
For a birthright you say is stolen.

Persistent Red fire-burning,
I face you in battle – With swords drawn I say
“Red fire burning – you will not win.”

You say, “I am your master.” I say, ” Nay.”
“For now I know your secret,
A tangled network of signals sent from a time ago.
With cryptic code unfolded, it is I who am your master.”

No more for you to surface unannounced and uninvited.
You must return to the depths from whence you came.
For I have found your source, Red fire-burning.

Battle sword in hand, danced I on your hot red embers.
With Shadow as my partner – came the dawn of day.
Your coals no longer burning, I am now complete.

A memory traumatic – may never be forgotten,
But Red fire- no longer burning,
center stage you may not command.
A memory now healed. Sweet victory is mine.

A letter to Shadow:

Shadow, strength you gave me.
And in the dance with Red fire- burning,
You showed me that it matters not,
what I have expected this life to give.

For it is life who doth question me,
with each passing hour and day.
Ultimately it is so, that in the taking
of responsibility to find the question,
we did find our quest.

Shadow, the questioning did lead to TRUTH.
And so with my sense of self dignity restored,
Empowered, by my will to endure (and your persistent knocking),
I take fully this responsibility
to find the answers, true and just.

Now, with new found mastery and control,
in the slumbering arms of peace,
I may sleep. No more the Red fire- burning.

Diana Bay © 1998

Personal Story: My Dance With Shadow

Psych Central Staff

Psych Central Staff writers are vetted, professional authors and science journalists. All work written under this moniker is editorially and scientifically reviewed by Psych Central.

APA Reference
Psych Central. (2020). Personal Story: My Dance With Shadow. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020 (Originally: 20 Sep 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jan 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.