Cry Havoc

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”

That’s what’s going on in my head right now: war, of sorts. The dogs of war are great snarling beasts, all white flashing teeth and raging red eyes, straining at the leashes, the deep, spiked collars digging into the heavyset necks. You can hear them growling; the low angry rumble of anger, rising slowly into as close to a roar as a dog can make. You could imagine this is the sound  the soul of a volcano makes before it blows its stack.

Can you smell their fetid breath, feel the sprays of spittle as they shake their heads in an attempt to slip their collars?

I can.

Those who think being creative is NICE should meet my dogs some time. The temptation to really let them loose is huge right now. What havoc they would cause if I did. What wanton destruction and violence….

I’m a Viking really. No horned helmet or sword or armour but a Viking all the same. A Berserker, one who gave in to the battle madness and would slay friend and foe alike without caring who they killed while the fierce battle joy flooded their veins with its power, laughing as they cut a bloody path through anyone and anything that stood in their way and weeping just as madly when they came to themselves later and saw what they had done.

That’s who I am.

One part of me anyway. The part I keep safe and silent and chained up. My Hyde side. That’s the side that comes out and rattles her chains when I write. It’s not that I mind as such, in the writing, but it does sometimes threaten to spill over into what we stupidly call real life. I go into a sort of trance, become a berserker with a pen, and I lose track of who I am and what I am doing. I mutter when I walk, I react as if I am in the story and I stop seeing people as real physical beings. 

Pain anchors me. The pain I suffer as a result of illness may be a gift from God to keep me from going wild completely. When it isn’t enough, I chose to create it; the feeling of knuckles bruised and bloody from hitting a wall reminds me that I live in both worlds, but one world collects the rent and that is the physical one. Everything we do, we pay for. Everything I write has cost me, in blood sometimes.  

This is my gift to the world.

Nice doggy.

12 thoughts on “Cry Havoc

  1. Havoc is what happens when the hounds of war are held tight too long. Yes, the berserker destroys both friend and enemy not because of desire to destroy but more out of anger at being denied, of being hidden and made impotent. But how to tame these hounds of war? That is the question . . . . .


  2. Dear Viking Beserker,

    Feed those dogs. I guess that the only way to feed the dogs that you speak of, is to write – to pour your thoughts into a poem or a story:)



  3. Feed the hounds. That’s what I first wanted to say, but then reconsidered because I thought it’s easier said than done.
    I can see, however, that someone braver than me has already done this. 🙂


  4. different maybe but it is what you made me think of:

    “let all these dogs going running free the wild and the gentle dogs kenneled in me”
    (you are in no mood for this)

    It is important to lose yourself in work sometimes .
    Lose yourself to loose yourself or something like that.

    thanks for that gift.



  5. My berzerker comes out through a PTSD flashback and forces its way into convincing me that immediate action — any kind of action, but some kind of action — is needed to remedy a conflict in my life.

    After the frenzy dies down, I can look at my actions, even write about them, and see how crazy I would be without a strong control system to minimize the steps I take, the action I use to resolve a conflict.


    • Am I right in thinking you are a Vietnam veteran, Michael?
      In which case you have a lot more experience than I of this sort of thing and I take my hat off to you!!


      • Nice hat. And yes, served as infantry platoon leader in Vietnam.
        Still have my “boonie” hat with the single black bar of a first lieutenant. I was lucky. I’m short, so that couldn’t see me too well walking in the high grasslands.

        michael j


      • Lucky, or blessed? You probably have a few tales to tell…
        My hat? A pirate’s tricorn I’ve had about 25 years now. It’s getting battered but still fun.


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