Courage

With my halcyon days so far behind me that
they no longer even cast a shadow,
as what I know to be my last years begin
to climb out of the depths,
wrapping their ropes around my ankles to
slow my steps, hunch my back,
eke the marrow from my bones,

I find myself wandering the cemetery
in the sunshine,
under fluffy clouds and winging birds,
to visit a plot that for a decade,
I pretended did not exist.

I stray from the path, because really,
why not, when there’s no one on guard;
I doubt there’s much market for broad-daylight
grave pilfering,
but I wouldn’t know much about such things,
myself

I had heard you were gone; even in introversion,
news travels as fast as the speed of a click
and there’s always some who
can’t seem to wait
to start a conversation with the words ‘oh hey, have you heard?’

I still thought about you all the time,
even then, so many years from
when I had last seen your face,
my own eyes shimmering tears, doubled
the sheen of those gleaming in yours
and then, pfft, never again

would I have looked longer,
I wonder,
if I had known that I would
never see you face to face again?
It didn’t seem like a thing that could be,
a truth that still made no sense,
when reality sits in your lap
and you don’t even realize you have company

And so here I am now,
shuffle stepping to your marker,
stooped and angry,
still mad, still furious, that you
couldn’t manage to be that man,
the one that I saw the first time that I met you,
that was leaps and bounds ahead
of the one that I left behind,
even though I loved you

i’m not here to say goodbye,
I’ve talked to you so often in my head
and doing it when you’re alive and not near
is even more pointless than doing it
when you’re already dead.

If my epitaph stood next to yours,
these many crumpled years later,
Yours, I think, would say goodbye.
And mine, mine would only say I tried.

***

So, I used to join in at The Speakeasy (which I really loved) with Suzanne, and it was brought back into the fold of the Yeah Write community – so I figured I’d give it a try over here.

I pretty much wrote the whole thing around the optional prompt that was given:
What is written in the stone?

As soon as I pound some more words out for NaNo, I very much look forward to reading the other stories. Click on the badge at the top of the post if you’d like to check out all of the other cool stuff going on.

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Categories: Fiction, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “Courage

  1. A vivid and haunting snapshot of regret.

  2. Meg

    Wow. This line is so good: “when reality sits in your lap
    and you don’t even realize you have company”

    I immediately related to this poem — not just its spareness, which I love, but the subject matter. So well written. Thanks for coming back to yeah write.

    • Thank you so much- it sort of stinks that you can relate, but I think we all can, unfortunately. Your comment is very much appreciated.

  3. This is just amazing. It flows so naturally and it’s rhythm is perfect. I found myself becoming more and more drawn in as I read. I loved the line “when reality sits in your lap / and you don’t even realize you have company.” But really, I loved the whole thing.

    • That’s really lovely to hear, thank you. I’ve found that I have a hard time trying to stick to any sort of formal poetry style, and I end up just babbling some free form story that I can only hope resonates with people ears, so it’s gratifying to read things like your comment, especially as I hold your work in high regard.

  4. So many wonderful turns of phrase here: “With my halcyon days so far behind me that
    they no longer even cast a shadow,” and “news travels as fast as the speed of a click,” and “when reality sits in your lap and you don’t even realize you have company” are the ones I most want to pilfer…..

    • Ha, I love the word pilfer. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear the lines that ring with people, and I’m especially flattered that you’d care to pilfer any of them 😉

  5. I agree with Splendid Empress, it’s hard for me to even pick a favorite.

    • Well, taking that to mean that you would have more than one option, I will tell you that I am highly flattered, again, and thank you so much for taking the time to read and let me know. Thank you!

  6. Love your comment on introversion and the internet! welcome back, Shannon!

    • It’s amazing how inundated you can be even if you don’t leave your house often 😉 Thank you so much, it feels good to be back!

  7. Briefwords

    Welcome back, I really liked this poem. Voted for you.

  8. Pingback: yeah write #186 weekly writing challenge: week one picks for the November writing contestyeah write

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