He walked the common way
And found endless color amidst rustic hues.
This was his youth
Which time wrestled from him
With little difficulty,
His heart in his hands.
His heedless songs rang mellodic but hollow
Through the corridors
With the dead dried ivy
Clinging to the bricks.
Then the coldness crept up his spine
And froze his blood.
His eyes narrowed to slits
And naked sweat gleamed on ivory skin,
And on dark evenings
He would hold council with the devil,
And drink his wine,
But the pen was never dipped in blood
And he never so much as fondled
The devil’s gold.
Yet time was cruel and gentle
And barren paths led to many gardens
And in golden autumn there was ripe fruit.
And one day he found an apple
Without a worm in it
And placed it on a shelf in the sun.
His mouth watered when he looked at it
Or thought of its ripe, red sweetness,
And when the sun had wizzened it
He tore it apart
And extracted the seeds from its soul
And then planted them in the desert.
And in his dreams the trees grew
And an oasis was formed,
But in the morning he awoke anew
To the tedium of coffee smells
And built his tomb
Stone by stone.
And he laughed at time for he saw
That it was merely death in disguise.
And he laughed at death for he was young
And time was on his side–
Though he always knew
That time might betray him.
And he sought the answer in his own brain
And then in the brains of others,
But whenever he looked inside
The soul would leave,
Or so it seemed,
The hollow vacant eyes
The smiles of similitude–
The minions of the mundane.
And on some afternoons or evenings
He would join the minions
And purge himself of reality
And reduce his feelings
To the depth of skin–
But the morning sun always found
A crack in the shades
And cast accusing shadows
That probed the depths of his soul.
And once he waded forth
In shallow waters
Until he had lost all sight of land
And he screamed at the heavens
As grey clouds rolled in
And hid the stars.
And amidst that shallow ocean
He drowned in loneliness.
But when he awoke he found himself
On a white pebbled beach
That appeared to be endless,
And as he walked toward the setting sun
The pulse of the surf
Slowly and surely
Eroded his every footprint,
And the memory of his passing there
Seemed a lie.
And in the rage of the evening sun
He saw the shadow of his youth
Cast behind him on the sand,
And as the purple twilight
Crept up upon the shore
The shadow was lost in the gloom of night,
And he was alone.
© Loubert S Suddaby. All Rights Reserved.