I’ve come back to the childhood townthe hills and streams much the same
but all roads wider, homes pulled down
a landmark known by a different name
the school gone now, swank and swellswallowing up the wide tag field
the ravenous maw of a starred hotel
where high once dark falcons wheeled
my old home razed and in its steada concrete chrome monstrous block
rears up on its haunch, its angry head
with red glass eyes scares passing folk
and I know it’s an absurd wishthat wants to keep them standing still;
things move on, beyond foolish
to step back over an old doorsill.
But even so I trudge new lanesraw and red, to find old friends
and a love lost, but for all my pains
each road leads to the emptiest end.
I come back at the close of dayhopes rise and fall, and my heart grieves
moving on is moving away
no trace remains of the one who leaves.
Oh, I know it’s a risky wishthat wants to keep things standing still;
the world goes on, beyond foolish
to yearn for youthful stream and hill.
She was a girl of a hundred braidsskin the satin of savannah nights
her onyx brows curved sharp blades
her fingers frisky firefly lights,
her lips the perfume of a vineyardwhere purple grapes press heavy and low;
and I was a lad, handsome and hard
but soft enough to love her so.
We met where the secret twilight wanes,we laughed and loved down the sunlit stream,
we wept the tears of the ancient rains,
then kissed to life a splintered dream.
All dreams go back from where they hailand she too one day said goodbye;
but she carved us both in perfect detail,
with her in my arms to remember love by;
she said her gift was for me alone,I could not take it back with me,
our secret love must not be shown,
and there was no way but to agree.
We walked back up the hardstone hillthe hollow fig tree stooped grey and wept
and took the dolls; the doves went still;
the sun spat blood; and then we left.
Oh I know it’s a reckless wishto keep all things from moving on;
the world must spin, beyond foolish
to yearn for a lost love now long gone.
So my quest ends? no path or parkno town lane will lead me clear?
where will I find my princess dark?
and I have just one more night here.
If I can’t find her then my goalhas to be the stooped grey fig
and the dolls, if I find them whole -
a small keepsake and nothing big.
Heart-sore, forlorn, never more aloneI start for the place where we dreamt
that small stream, hill of hardstone
the old fig tree with its hair unkempt.
The light fades as I slowly walkthe sky wears the merest wash
the track narrows, birds roost in flocks
their song stilled to a complete hush;
and it’s dark before too long,no moon comes out to light the road;
the cicadas fine tune their song
disturbed sometimes by a courting toad.
The shapes of distant hill and woodsseem the same, but the stars are strange
and thin their light and not so good
the air, it's full of wings and change.
Oh I know it’s an unwise wishthat wants to keep the same outlines;
all hills erode, beyond foolish
to go on a quest for old love signs.
The dog in the sky bays and sendsa scream of wind that flays me cold;
the cicada song abruptly ends
and toad tunes too are quickly recalled.
Something like sap warm as blooddrip-drips soft menacing in the dark
and is sucked down by the silky mud
a firefly lights an eerie spark
and puts it out as soon as it’s litas if its fearful of its own light
moth wings brush past, quietly flit
away into an endless night.
A rustle of leaves brings me up shortand a feline cry torn into a cough
make me rethink if I ought
to stop this quest for a fig and love.
The tree looms up dark grey and grimeven more stooped with its years
and I am running, my heart brims
with a strange mix of love and fear -
the hole yawns wide like a door to deathand its deep darkness strikes me blind
I lift my torch and hold my breath,
hope I’ll get what I’ve come to find.
Oh I know it’s a foolhardy wishthat thrusts its hand into the dark;
all trees wither, beyond foolish
to look for signs in the hollows of bark.
A child can stand it’s that bigand wide enough to swivel round
the torchlight shows heaped leaves and twigs
layered decay on the ground.
I look long into the abyssthen dig frenzied into the hole
and some time later the trowel hits
something solid and I know it’s a doll.
I fling the tool away from meand kneel and claw at the soft muck
and soon enough the face is free
but the rest of the carving’s firmly stuck,
and the figure is still as perfectas the day she gave it to me;
the years have had no effect
on the head that’s plain to see.
It comes free with a final pullthe man is me, and in his palm
is a scaled down white human skull!
the rest of the skeleton’s in his arms!
Outside in the night a raven callsas I reel back shocked and helpless,
then I and tree and doll all fall
headlong into deepest darkness.
Oh I know it’s a risky wishto want an end to every quest;
all things wither, and tales finish
love and yearning’s laid to rest.
WC – 1000FCA
This work is wholly imaginary, any resemblance to any persons living, or...dead....is purely a coincidence...
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