The River, My Companion


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171 in stock


By Simon Rhys Shaw

ISBN: 978-1-84991-336-2
Published: 2010
Pages: 62
Key Themes: poetry, schizoid-affective disorder, paranoia, spirituality


Simon began writing poetry in 1981, and the poems included in this volume represent his work from then until 2010. They illustrate his development as a poet and run parallel to his improved mental health. For the most part, the later ones reflect his personal style of 21 lines with no rhyme. At the present time he does not use rhetoric, rhyme or metaphor, relying on rhythm to carry the verse.

Simon feels the contents of these poems over the decades demonstrate his post-conversion experience and the spirituality associated with his recovery. Initially many focused on hospitalisation and other people with mental illness. Nowadays he writes about the people and the world around him.

About the Author

Between the ages of 27 and 37, Simon Rhys Shaw (born 1949) had twelve hospital admissions, three of which were under section with forcible injections. He was diagnosed as having schizoid-affective disorder.

Suffering from paranoia made his daily life in the community almost impossible.

In 1985 Jesus Christ appeared to Simon in a vision lasting four hours. From then on, he stopped being in the grip of paranoid thoughts and the issue with the hospital became a question of what level of medication was needed. His attitude towards psychiatric staff changed and he began to find the hospital very helpful. He is grateful for that help. They were able to reduce his drug dosage considerably.

Simon has had only one admission in 20 years, caused by reducing one of his drugs too rapidly.

Book Extract


Etched on the crumbling stone
Something that no eye before had seen
A figment of a finger and the moon:
The date of the King’s last hunt.
No king and no more kings
And ruin for the tower.
The voices fading into sand
Where the lions of the desert lick their paws
And growl around the fires.
I have seen ten or twenty hurricanes
Break upon that tower,
Now left to man’s neglect.
And the year, the day, the month, the hour –
Are all that remain of the King’s last power –
His hunt.

For You

We ended up
In the same oasis
Each other

Although there were difficulties
Like trust
And the past
Slipping unseen out of its place
We played the ‘love game’
Quite well

You made your life a labyrinth
Without a minotaur
A mystery where the monster
Was only in reported speech
Better than a dream in other words

We tumbled over each other
Like children
Who hold heaven in their limbs
Respecting each other’s ways
As if we really were good once more
That was just a way of love
Like fucking on the floor.


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