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A Metaphor for Madness

by Plume

Once upon a time, you ruled. 

You used to rule everywhere. The highlands, the lowlands. The goodlands, the badlands. The swamps and marshes, deserts and mountains. But you lost it all. Every highland, every lowland, every good- and badland. Each swamp and marsh. The deserts deserting you. The mountains falling from your fingertips like snow. 

You never saw them coming, you tell yourself. There was nothing you could have done. But that wasn't true. You could have given them yourself like they'd asked. Like you'd promised. Instead, they took your kingdom. 

Was it worth it? you ask yourself. You think so. As you pace in the cave you call home, the one place they can't find you, you have to think that it was worth it. Because how else will you stay sane?

Every day, the cave gets smaller. There are ants crawling over your body, but you don't really care about them any more. They're much more bearable than the giant spiders. And you used to fear the snakes, but they're so common, you've nearly befriended them. They're practically coming over for tea on Sundays.

But the truth is, you were raised to rule. The only snakes you were ever meant to serve tea to were the ones you counseled for strategies and advice on how to maintain your kingdom. (Those snakes weren't any help when they came and took your kingdom away.) Your kingdom was a part of you, but it's been severed. It's no longer yours, and yet you pine for it. Because you're not sure how to function without it. You don't know anything any more. (Not that you knew anything to begin with.)

You think you're lost. 

You are lost. 

Without your kingdom, you are nothing. 

Nothing but a sad soul longing for a way back home.

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Points: 19
Reviews: 4

Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:03 am
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UsonaNaciisto wrote a review...

Reminds me of The Waste Land by TS Eliot. Here is an excerpt from that I like.

"I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?"

The idea of the mind being a place is interesting to me. There is a lot you can do with that concept that can genuinely give perspective to those who are ailing. To call this idea of a lost/crumbling kingdom as a metaphor for an ailing mind "madness" seems a little harsh, though. There is nothing mad about suffering in your head in some way. Likely this piece comes from a very personal place, so I will say this: "We think of the key, each in his prison. Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison." From the same poem. Think of it not as madness. It is best to visualize it in a way that isn't so hopeless.

Onto the actual review, though. I think it's similar to The Waste Land, but it frames the idea of the lost kingdom in the mind in a different way; an interesting way. The cave is a good metaphor for isolation, and the visual of the ants crawling all over you, to me, makes light of the gentle suffering that comes with isolation. The snakes I interpret to be those who use and abuse the ailing mind. I hope that one day this squalid monarch can finally set their lands in order. A crumbling kingdom sucks for everyone. Very good story.

Plume says...

Thank you for your interpretation! I really like your review!

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116 Reviews

Points: 5484
Reviews: 116

Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:32 pm
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Overwatchful wrote a review...

Hello, Stormblessed here!
I really enjoyed this piece! That's some beautiful imagery you got there. There really aren't any grammar or spelling mistakes I could find, except for this:

Every highland, every lowland, every good and bad land.

When you say "good land and bad land," I'm assuming you're hearkening back to the gooodlands and badlands from before. The proper way to write this out would be this:
"Every highland, every lowland, every good- and badland."

Other than that, this was great. I can't wait to read more of your works!

Hope this helped!

Plume says...

Thank you for your thoughts! I'll make those changes!

"You're wrong about humanity. They are your greatest creation because they're better than you are. Sure, they're weak, and they cheat and steal and destroy and disappoint, but they also give and create, and they sing and dance and love. Above all, they never give up."
— Metatron