Riding Seahorses

April 21, 2013

He stands, silent, still, staring out,
twin moons looking back;
their light bounces off the crests of waves
and the swell of clouds, spectral in the night sky.
Behind him, the dark swallows up the world,
perching him here on the edge of the earth,
waves crashing before him,
licking at his bare feet likes flames
from the depths of hell.
He doesn’t make a sound, he just listens.
Listens and watches.
He isn’t afraid – it’s more than fear;
he respects the sea.
Such formidable power,
the strength to create and to destroy,
to shape a world,
to take a life.
He remembers his sister –
how she loved the sea –
her tousled hair, her freckled cheeks, her tireless grin,
the terrible silence that replaced her.
He imagines her stricken, fighting the currents,
falling forever – down to the darkest part of this black world.
He imagines her cries stifled by salty, unsatiable breaths.
He imagines the light leaving her eyes, her body still.
He imagines her swimming with mermaids and riding seahorses.
He smiles.
How she loved the sea.

ix. Whisper (A Rondel)

July 20, 2011

“Goodbye, my love”, he heard her say,
a whisper carried through the trees,
a murmur, soft upon the breeze,
of words he’d known he’d hear one day,

but never thought would come this way.
He thought at least she’d hear his pleas.
“Goodbye, my love”, he heard her say,
a whisper carried through the trees.

She left him sad, alone and grey –
she didn’t pause or give reprise;
she didn’t see him on his knees;
one night, she simply went away.
“Goodbye, my love”, he heard her say,
a whisper carried through the trees.

 

 

Written while listening to Caoineadh Cú Chulainn (Lament)

xii. After the Fire

March 20, 2011

The rain came.
It calmed the flames
and washed away the ashes
that remained.
It softened the contours
of the ruins left behind.

The rain brings with it
silence.
A kind of quiet
falls.
The rumble of thunder
where hours before
the rumble of fire
had roared;
the patter of raindrops
where hours before
the crackle of flames
had scored the scene.

The rain
is a blanket
that falls on the ground
and covers the land
and masks the contours.
In the rain
every jagged edge is blunted,
every corner dulled.
In the rain
everything is softened,
silenced,
swept away.

The rain washes
down walls;
the black of
charred wood and brick
running to the ground
forming burnt puddles
that soak into the street,
eventually fading away.

The rain washes
down walls
and washes
down faces
of those that look on.
Their tears are carried
to the ground,
forming wretched puddles
that disappear,
drowned
by the downpour.

The rain
carries the ashes away,
it hushes the roar
of the fire’s rage,
it blunts the edges
torn by violent flames
and washes the
tears of the watchers
away.

The rain stopped.
In the midst of the streams
that rippled
and shimmered
the ruins stood damp
and were you to look
you would never guess
that just hours before,
these fragile bones
had been so much more.
You’d never guess that
just hours before,
the rumble of fire
had roared through
its core.
But

The rain,
however heavy,
however cold,
however hard,
cannot wash away the pain
they feel inside.
The sorrow stains them
in a way that rain
cannot remove.
Their tears are gone,
just like the ash has gone,
but the pain,
cannot be soothed.

xxxvii. The Game

February 27, 2011

He saw their love as little more,
Than an experiment.
A game to play,
That had no rules.
And so their story went:

He loved her just enough,
That she let him inside.
And when she did,
He set up camp,
Until the day she died.

The game of course, did not last long,
Though she would not give in.
But with no rules to speak of, he,
Was not a cheat,
And she could never win.

He teased her every way he could,
Told every lie he knew,
To make her think,
This thing was real,
Though not a dot was true.

The more he did to cause her pain,
The harder she would try,
To win his love,
And make him hers,
But he just watched her cry.

He didn’t feel a thing for her,
And when he saw her tears,
He felt no guilt,
No sense of sorrow, just,
Used them to find her fears.

And when he knew just what she feared,
He knew how to proceed;
With every move,
He hurt her more,
Indulged in his own greed.

But she, confused by what she felt,
Let him get closer every day,
She thought she might,
Get through to him,
And teach him not to play.

She thought that he could learn to love,
Of this, she felt so sure.
She thought that she,
Could make him change,
But this, of course, was just what he’d hoped for.

He let her make her futile moves;
He let her dig her hole,
For every time she tried,
She failed,
And every failure helped him take her soul.

When eventually he left,
She was a mere shell.
And yet she loved him still,
And therefore, could not see,
That he’d left her alone in hell.

For him, the game was done;
The final whistle blown;
For her it never stopped –
She never looked for more –
And when she died, his was the only love she’d ever known.

 

 

Inspired by the following lyric from Rilo Kiley’s Silver Lining:

“I never felt so wicked,
As when I willed our love to die”

iii. Sermon of Man

January 4, 2011

“We want to feel free,” cried the congregation.
“And what is your prison?” came the response.

“Your prison is the walls you build.
The bricks, you lay with disbelief;
The constraints, you place upon yourself,
When you listen to those who tell you what you cannot do.
You want to feel free, you say?
First, you must free yourself from the shackles of impossibility.
If you can do this –
If you can begin to believe in your own potential again –
Then you can feel free.”

“We want to feel alive,” was the plea.
“And where is your coffin?” he replied.

“Your coffin is buried deep inside yourself.
The nails, you hammer with self-regard;
The dirt, you shovel with pride,
When you worry about what others will think.
You want to feel alive, you say?
First, you must awaken yourself to the insignificance of opinion.
If you can do this –
If you can act without worrying for your reputation –
Then you can feel alive.”

“We want to feel happy,” the masses begged.
“And where is your sorrow?” was the swift retort.

“Your sorrow is tethered to your past.
The pain, you cause with obsession;
The grief, you plant with scrutiny,
When you replay your unpleasant memories over and again.
You want to feel happy, you say?
First, you must cease to torment yourself with what has been done.
If you can do this –
If you can live in the present and appreciate the here-and-now –
Then you can feel happy.”

“We want to feel loved,” echoed their entreaty.
“And who is your loneliness?” the instant query.

“Your loneliness is none other than yourself.
The solitude, you cast with fear;
The exile, you order with your cowardice,
When you shy away from getting close for dread of being hurt.
You want to feel loved, you say?
First, you must make yourself vulnerable.
If you can do this –
If you can throw yourself on the mercy of another’s heart –
Then you can feel loved.”