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.
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!
For a moment Everything stops. A single silver string suspends Five years of half hopes And dangerous desires. My eyes bore in to hers, Searching for a flicker For anything A single spark to show That all is not lost.
But her pupils Are dark, deep as the ocean. The moment breaks A wave upon her pale blues iris. And all I have left Is the turn of my heel, The lights of the city And the echo of the closed door.