he was like the moon,
cold and distant -
but always within reach.
she would watch him
from the bottom of her well.
she often heard laughter
echoing through her chamber.
the stone walls that encircled
glistened with blue light;
she would sometimes sing;
that unsettled him,
shattering his illusions
of a perfect world.
the rope had been cut -
she knew it had been him.
the neglected forest,
wild and overgrown,
kept her a secret -
never to be found.
ivy part II
what was it that you said to me about the moon,
how it had the magnitude to capture our shadows?
were those the exact words that you used?
i can remember the story of the princess,
who became trapped in the moon's reflection
on the surface of the lake.
we each recall the story differently -
you argue that she was a queen;
i do not think that it matters.
we wander into the forest.
the silence was uncomfortable;
i hesitate just for a moment.
you gently take my hand
and guide me from the path.
i will never find my way back.
the air is thick and pungent,
i can taste wet soil;
the stench of damp rot and decay.
'not much further,' you say.
i did not know you had a plan.
we came upon a well,
the crumbling stone;
overgrown with ivy.
i felt the wave of unease.
'look down it,'
i did not hesitate to obey.
it's so deep, is there something down there?
you ask me to imagine falling in.
but that is a game i will not play.
i do not know at what point
you let go of my hand.
it must have been when i turned;
you had already gone.
i look to you
to do something.
to take it back forever;
press the reverse button.
we handle it,
by not handling it,
says the voice.
my anxiety hops inside;
like dried beans on a table
jumping during an earthquake.
a familiar tightening,
a squeezing grip -
a closed fist in my chest.
there is something
i should be doing.
i seek forgiveness
that i do not deserve.
i remember you,
and worry what you’ll think.
a solitary hermit am i,
in a dark cave i do reside,
whilst they come to me in strides,
so i might flatter all their pride,
with the wisdom i’ve acquired.
so long ago since i became,
a much sort after humble sage,
who dwells here in his lonely cage,
whilst the people send me endless praise,
for their spirits that i do raise.
they seek me always for advice,
on love, vocation and their life.
they want not truth nor painful strife,
for truth can cut just like a knife,
so i just sing them sweet delights.
“you sir, i see, shall be a king,
and adorn bright golden bejewelled rings.”
to these falsehoods they will so cling,
and hang off every word i sing;
oh the happiness my words can bring.
merrily they’ll dance and skip away,
without making a second’s delay,
to tell the others of their day,
and how the fates have finally swayed,
and life’s debt to them shall soon be paid.
oh when will these small humans learn,
life is not responsible for their return,
on everything that is not earned,
and into my old mind be burned,
all the falsehoods that i have churned.
rare steaks and raw carrots
my great, great aunt wore canary diamonds
that were said to be the size of gull's eggs.
they decorated her hand like an ostentatious Christmas tree.
she had an antique birdcage carved from ivory
(or was it a doll's house?)
that had been in the family for generations.
she would rise before first light and
be seated for breakfast by five o'clock sharp -
never being late for morning mass.
each day she would descend the grand staircase
in her black silks and fine lace and
float into the mahogany dining room.
the long table was set as though for a banquet
and her seat was at the far end.
they served her bloody rare steak and
grated raw carrots with a squeeze of lemon juice.
these quirks only manifested
after the tragic death of her daughter.
"one of those mysterious fevers,"
my mother would recount.
she had wanted to be a nun but
had been forbidden that life.
the death was God's punishment.
my large family is peppered with eccentric widows of means.
"the widows were the lucky ones in those days,
many of the females had ended in asylums."
discarded by greedy husbands and nefarious uncles.
my mother was made to visit them.
she never talked about it,
aside to say it happened.
before her death, she promised my mother the
hand carved ivory birdcage (or dollhouse).
my mother knew she would never see it.
this always made me quietly outraged,
believing she had suffered a great injustice.
her feelings however, are quite different.
something far more valuable had been gained
in the form stories she could tell to me.
like a forgotten museum,
having remained hidden
i was stepping back in time.
everything veiled in a misty film
caused by years of damp.
dozens of books
and a variety of objects;
pieces of furniture,
remained exactly as left.
my nose grew irritated
and itched insatiably.
the pungent, cellar like aroma -
musty, rotten, damp.
my tongue tasted the mould.
the wooden floor felt spongy
and bounced beneath my feet,
a spring in every step
as i walked inside.
his desk as he left it.
letters strewn, half written.
in the corner, a framed photograph.
so he did love, after all.
look at this hole
found in the ground.
so dark and deep
without a sound.
and not fall in.
nor walk towards it
nor let it win.
it will entice you
you may feel safe,
but it is deception
and dark, empty space.