Comments 47


My chest has drawstrings.

Some days they pull so tight

my lungs cram up into my throat.

They stop words from forming,

keep me from telling you why

I can’t keep my hands still

or quite catch my breath.

They keep me trapped, alone.


Quadrilles are perhaps my favourite form of poetry at the moment. They’re short, sharp, and oh so punchy. Tonight’s prompt from the dVerse Poets Pub is to write a quadrille using the word ‘fear’ as your inspiration. Unfortunately this is a word I have a fair amount of experience with, I’ve let anxiety box me into corners more often than I like to admit.

If you want to join in then click the badge above and check out the pub and all its patrons. I’ve no doubt they’ll be overjoyed to meet you.

This entry was posted in: Poetry


Carol J Forrester is a writer and a history geek. Her debut collection 'It's All In The Blood' came out November 2019. She has a 2:1 BA degree in history from Bath Spa University, enjoys judo at least twice a week, and tries to attend poetry events around the Midlands when she can. Her flash fiction story ‘Glorious Silence’ was named as River Ram Press’ short story of the month for August 2014 and her short story ‘A Visit From The Fortune Teller’ has been showcased on the literary site Ink Pantry. Her poems ‘Sunsets’ and ‘Clear Out‘ were featured on Eyes Plus Words, and two of her poems were included in the DVerse Poets Pub Publication ‘Chiaroscuro’ which is available for purchase on amazon.Her poem ‘Until The Light Gets In‘ was accepted and published at The Drabble and her poem ‘Newborn’ was published by Ink Sweat & Tears. She has been lucky enough to write guest posts for sites such as Inky Tavern and Song of The Forlorn and has hosted a number of guest bloggers on her site Writing and Works.


  1. Oh, MY. The visual this evokes is simply stunning. STUN.NING. You have perfectly caught this thought. Kudos.

      • Of course 😊 that first line strikes such truth though, I love coming across a way of perfectly describing an emotion or feeling that I believed indescribable

        • Poetry is a great way of putting emotions into words and it’s a great vehicle for working through complicated feelings or trying times. Over the last few years my poetry has defiantly moved towards more personal experiences because of how helpful it has been in working through them.

          • I love words, love learning new words, but I usually feel at a loss for finding the ones I really want, don’t think I’d be too good at poetry. You do it very well though 😊

            • Thank you. It’s mostly practice. None of us start out particularly good I don’t think. We have to learn how to fit the words together.

  2. I also have anxiety issues, and drawstrings tightening around your chest expresses that feeling perfectly! Nicely stated! *hugs*

      • You’re definitely not alone. I was officially diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) 18 years ago, but I’d been struggling with it since I was 13 (just turned 52 the other day). I usually describe it as the age-old and overused, “elephant stepping on my chest” but I think I might start using the drawstring analogy. 🙂

  3. Carol, you have definitely created the sensation of fear. Just to clarify, the quadrille posts we toss our there ask for the use of the word fear in the body of the poem. I will do better at clarifying that in the future. That being said, this is a wonderful descriptive poem. I wish I’d thought of it in writing my first novel.

    • Thank you Victoria, my apologies, I probably didn’t read the instructions carefully enough. I was a little over keen to get stuck in if I’m honest.

  4. Anonymous says

    I love this poem! It’s so evocative, you have a real talent 🙂

  5. That’s a powerful testimony. I really felt your lack of ease. I hope you have had some relief from it

  6. What an amazing image! It is exactly the feeling…that constriction of the chest. Well done…you nailed it here!

  7. The sign of a fine writer is the ability to draw the reader into their world and you did it perfectly. 🙂

  8. Such a visual dipiction of anxiety. One cannot convey it with such accuracy without having experienced it for themselves. Very heart felt and powerful.

  9. Pingback: I’ve Broken My Own Writing Rules. Again! #WeekendCoffeeShare | Writing and Works

  10. Sidharth says

    You captured the true essence of anxiety by your immaculate usage of words. Having gone through depression myself I sometimes feel sad the way society reacts to people going through depression & anxiety like if a someone is going through a physical problem society may sympathize with that person but the same society sometimes mocks & degrades people going through psychological problems. I mean aren’t the lives of people going through psychological problems as valuable as the lives of someone going through physical problems? Nonetheless, it was a wonderful poem I really admire the fact that you expressed your thoughts regarding anxiety in such a profound way. I too wrote a few poems like “Scars”, “The Knife”, etc to talk about the similar issues on my blog. According to your convenience please do read some of my writings would love to know what you think about them 🙂

    Warm Regards,

  11. No problem with not using the actual word fear, this poem is fear. You have brought me there right into the lungs, and the hungry abundance of air seeming totally worthless. Hope the drawstrings are finding a way to relax a bit since last year.

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