The Separating Snake


Prompt-‘The Beginning’-The Arts-:Idiot Writing

The challenge I believe was to write a post describing the painting. I have cheated a bit. I looked at the painting and it reminded me of poem I wrote when feeling sad and empty with regards my family splintered by mental illness and suicide. It centres on my birth and the prospects of my death. The painting reminded me of the poem. The poem I think has elements of the painting. In light of the painting I edited the poem and changed the title from Underground Fears to The Separating Snake.

PS: I don’t always feel this bleak. I think I needed to express it at the time.

Breath of Life

I burst forth crying

Amid pain, blood, sweat

Buoyant exhaustion

Baby talk…tangible joy


In an instant


Plunged into the depths

Of intimate relationships


Playful, jealous, kind, teasing

Competing, loving

Crowded intense familiarity

Assumed companionship


Hurt patterns tear us apart

Paranoia divides; obsessions surface;


Accusations destroying trust;

Blame where there is no blame.



Thoughts unspoken, not to cause offence;

Kind superficiality to avoid fresh hurt;

Analysis; opinions;

Blame where there is no blame.


We are separate

Yet still yoked together

By unfulfilled dreams.

Each one exists

In isolation.


Breath of Death

Will I be alone when it touches me?

Amid pain, blood, sweat

Flat weariness

Silence…tangible sorrow.


Julia Coughlan (2014)


About Gentle Breeze

Julia is married to Kevin. They live together in Todmorden with their black and white cat Willow. Todmorden is a small rural town nestling among the Pennine hills in the Upper Calder Valley, on the border of West Yorkshire and Lancashire. Julia is a mixture of contradictions. She happily shares her email address with her husband; yet when she married she kept her own surname.
This entry was posted in Reflections, Spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Separating Snake

  1. idiotwriter says:

    Thank you so much for participating in the prompt. A poem is PERFECTLY wonderful – especially this one which is filled with the rawness of that moment you were in. Isn’t that what poems are for? 😀 Capturing the sense of the things we are dealing with in the deepest way possible – grabbing that moment and wrestling it to the ground!

    • Thank you. And thanks too for recognising the rawness of the moment. Yes, i would like to think that I grabbed it and wrestled it to the ground. And perhaps in doing so, in facing and recognising my fear and sadness, it lost some of its power over me. Thanks too for of the evocative picture. So many thoughts and feelings can emerge from it. Julia

  2. paulfg says:

    “Breath of Death
    Will I be alone when it touches me?”

    Wow! That touched me somewhere very deep. Thank you.

    • It may sound strange. When we finally resigned ourselves to the fact that we were unable to have children, i became very aware of my own mortality. You don’t have children just to look after you in your old age, not consciously anyway. However in the midst of the bleakness and perhaps when on the edge of acceptance, i felt very alone and it included the thought I could be alone into my old age and death. Today, whatever happens, i like to think i might be surrounded by those who have gone before. Thanks for reading the post in all its bleakness. Julia

  3. idiotwriter says:

    Reblogged this on Idiot Writing and commented:
    A beautifully bitter-sweet poem filled capturing the raw essence of a moment in time. (as poetry does so well)
    Thanks to ‘Gentle Breeze’ for engaging us with her words in response to that snake painting some idiot did 😉

  4. Pingback: Aligning Ideas in art with words | Idiot Writing

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