He sat in silence,
Stuck in the four walls of a cage
He built with trembling hands.
Curtains drawn to block the sun,
To help forget; there were years,
Where every mountain was a challenge,
Every rapid an exuberant race,
The air itself shimmered with the joy of
His passage through the world.
The bedroom door is locked.
The windows bear a weight impossible to move
With numb hands.
All that seemed safe was inside.
All that could ever be was the cage.
The next day was different.
No one saw him leave, saw
The black that spread
Like waves of mud from his bed
Through the quiet country lanes
To a stone bridge
In the county’s heart.
No one saw him, toes curling
Over the ancient rocks;
Saw how the wind ran its fingers
Through his hair,
Tried to catch him in the air
Heard the breeze wail the world’s loss.
His mother sits
By a stream’s soft bank
Watching it squirm, laughing under
Its own momentum.
There is an otter who swims there,
Dances through the water,
Smiles from the shore.
The air around it shimmers
With the very joy of living
It looks her in the eye
Holds her stare and grins
At the soft tears on her face.
Her smile returns.
Maybe the rotund gentleman
Will sit awhile and listen to her stories
Of the young man
His cigar smoke wandering on the wind.
The otter is listening
As it plays with the ashes floating downstream.
. Faces, places, doors all shift My nightsbleedintodays
I don’t know where I’m going
. For unwritten maps etched with impossible words
And I can
Feel the vice
Trying to crush
Me into a mould
That’s easy to follow
Regular and concise
That will slowly flow till
An urn on a window sill
. But I refuse
. To be compacted When I could float on the
. Flow over
. Spend my time existing
. In transit
. Always going forward
. Spreading further
At 3am the world renders itself as a
. With no clear edges
. Molasses that slows steps
. Muffles any
. Makes it
. Hard to
. Your footsteps seem distant
. As though somewhere not far back
You were being followed.
. So you speed up
. Maybe you take a headphone out
. Maybe that will settle your nerves
. Maybe for a while it does
Warm breath on the back of your neck
Whips your head around
The mist swirls and you see
. Shake it off
. You say but your steps lengthen
You hear it again
. Matching your own
Never far behind
You spin and stop
Secrets in the mist that the
. Weak lamps fail to light
. Nearly home
. You can see your house in the distance
. A hazy shape
Breathing in your ear
Can almost feels its arms
Grabbing your bag
Dragging you away from
. Fumble for keys
. Go faster Its on the path behind you
. You open the door
. Slam it shut
The mist strokes the glass, begging to be let in.
On a breezy summer day
I walked with grim purpose down an alley
Green with the leaves of the season
To the soundtrack of a small army
Of screaming children.
Despite all the energy around me
My legs seemed to move through molasses,
Protesting against the day.
Raven hair in the distance;
Hair I had seen on a hundred nights
Splaying a sable fan on the pillow,
Black strands mirroring the branches of
Oak trees that frame the road.
Couldn’t smell it from here,
The hint of lavender stayed with me
Long after the scent left my nostrils.
I could still remember its silken touch,
Tickling my face to keep me from sleeping;
The breeze whipped it into a frenzy
Covering her face. But still
I knew it was her.
It’s odd what you remember. The
Way someone sits might as well be a signature,
How they hold their head when they’re sad,
How their legs cross, and when they’re anxious
The top one bobs like a metronome,
Bouncing to a nervous tune.
Even her hands. Still too far away to really see them, but
I knew how they would be. Thumb gently stroking
The skin on the left, as it clenched the small carrier bag
With knuckles white-hot around the handle.
I hadn’t even noticed the approach.
A few feet now, her daydream lifts
As the headphones fall from her ears.
We talk. There is an echo of affection in her words,
An effort to spark the same closeness we once shared.
But the flame falls on damp kindling, sputters
Walking away I know she is
Hazel eyes like the bark
Either side of me.
Your greatest fear, you said
Was that one day, you’d wake up
And the stars would have lost their light.
That a time would come when you were
Oblivious to the winds cool, soothing touch,
When you ignored the pleading rain on your window pane.
You would know it was over,
If you stopped reading the pain in people,
If you could walk through the world
Without seeing the colours that seep from the skin
Of every passerby and acquaintance.
It scared you most that you might be dead,
Before you ceased to live.
That your heart, would keep beating
When your soul had packed it’s bags,
And headed home for the winter.
So, wind in my face,
Spray on my tongue,
Armed with the unbreakable ignorance of youth
And the simple knowledge that I loved you, answered.
“You’re the bravest person I know.
You’ll never die. How could you?
You’ve never been afraid to live.”
Life is not a heartbeat monitor
Beeping insistently in the background of
Some cold clean hospital cell.
It can’t be found in the pages
Of glossy magazines,
Or the latest, greatest, most versatile
Piece of furniture from Ikea
Or whichever home improvement titan
Is currently in fashion.
But i’ll tell you what it can be.
Or at the very least,
How it seems to me.
I see life in your eyes,
As you talk to me about love
Or poetry, your passions, your fears,
Your hopes and dreams.
All of these
Make the air around you shimmer
With a vibrance that cannot be ignored.
Life is in people my dear.
Not in the beating of our hearts,
But in the way that they sing!
On results day, only six letters mattered; ABC DEF I managed to get ten. A*A* AAAA BB DD Do they even matter? DD (What about my other grades?) DD (But I passed all the rest!) DD!? (Aren’t you guys proud of me?) DD! (but i did my best…)
All I heard was I didn’t try hard enough That I should have done more than I did So if my best just wasn’t good enough Then i’d do what I wanted instead.
I often feel as though poets are dragons
Our tongues, flames of
Passion, fury, envy or love.
There is both creation
In the way we burn.
Because before the fire gets out
It must work its way through
Veins, lungs and throats,
Scorching our insides in the hope
That it can scald you also.
Know, that if our words burn,
We are already blistered.