Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Castles on the Plains

He was only a boy, then,
but it is quite easy to recall
the memory of her face, when
in the misty mornings she would call
him, his name echoing in
cobwebs of dreams, clearing
away the thickness of sleep, thinning
the murky fantasies and tearing
the veil of sleep.
He would come,
and she would look intently
at him, her passionate earnestness
engulfing him.
"You must be strong today,
for I need you, in your way,
to be a man for me, my son.
And men must be strong.”
         There was always more,
he could see it in the pain
behind her eyes, the slope
of her shoulders, but the pane
of kitchen glass would catch
the rising sun, and the sun
always took her away.
And he never heard the latch
click because he was still
staring into the flare of the
reflected dawn and aching
to hear the words he could
always just see but never know.

    He is strong now.
Long ago he learned the weak
find little kindness in
this world, and how
he has learned! So he has
fenced his heart, there is a wall
there, and a roof. A moat
beyond and a tall defense,
with watch towers. Beyond all
that there is a deep ditch.

 And sometimes, sweating, he waking
dreams of skirmishes and
painful fights, duels
in passionate agony.

     He is learning
that beyond his strength,
behind it, he is bleeding with
the best of them. That the length
of defenses only distances
one bruised heart from the
solitary other. He begins to see
the pain behind every eye,
the carefully placed lie
which adds a brick to the wall
of exile. Self-imposed.
And yet the very bleeding
of his heart frightens him in
its vulnerability and the drawbridge
comes up with a clang.

Occasionally, he waking
dreams of open fields and
rich, fertile loam. But the hills
always give way to castles
upon the plains.

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