by Trace Henderson. Originally published in the Dec. 2019 edition of Live Ideas. Find it here.
Kept away from going to bed,
Grinding and filing the space in my head.
I just may wake with a new-found drive,
A long-lost worker away from the hive.
Locked behind these bends and bars,
I fear my anchor has slipped to the dark.
Cheer up, chap! I’ll show you the way!
With me you’ll beam and grin all day!
Lace up your shoes, we’ll go for a run,
It’ll always be your day in the sun!
A sunny disposition, that doesn’t sound so bad,
I’d gladly trade it for my iron barred bed.
A breath of cool air, a ray of sunlight,
Maybe I don’t need any sleep tonight.
But what if it rains or people don’t smile?
Surely my luck can’t last all the while.
Stick with me, we’ll saw through these bars!
Soon you’ll be free of this sticky, black tar.
You’ll bounce all around,
we’ll go out on the town.
I’ll give you the strength to carry that frown.
I feel awfully blue,
At least I have you,
Whatever you say, I feel I can do.
You’ve given me strength,
Why do I feel so ashamed?
Is it really me who has accomplished such things?
Well of course it was you.
Your complexion’s improved.
You can’t stop now you’ve got mountains to move!
I’m free from my cell,
The suns on my back,
I still don’t feel well,
It’s care that I lack.
My body’s escaped
But my smile is faked.
I work and I work
Yet I can’t concentrate.
Who was I before?
Where’s all the light?
There are bars on my door
And I can’t sleep through the night!
Don’t be so dramatic,
You asked me for help and I’ve just about had it.
Is it not enough? Your haze has been ended.
What part of you is broken and can’t be mended?
I don’t know can’t you see?
I’m all alone amidst this great sea!
I struggle for air, I feel I can’t breathe.
Its easy for you, you can pack up and leave!
I’ve got to get out, my cell is submerging.
I can’t see the other, but I know we are merging.
Water up to my neck and it seems I was wrong,
The sea was not blue,
It was black all along.
I have shown this work to several people in my life and they all seem to have a different outlook on it. A few have found it hopeful in comparison to the challenges faced in their lives and others see it as something you wouldn’t want to show someone who has had a bad day.
I wrote it at 3:00 a.m. after 36 hours without sleep and decided to try my hand at poetry. I don’t know a thing about the art except it is helpful in expressing emotions that are difficult to speak about.
One of the subjects I touch on is the disparity one can come to when treating the symptoms of an ailment as opposed to their source. It might be a reason to keep going and it might be a reason to stop. It depends on how your day was.
Image Credit: “silhouette of a person looking outside the window.” Author unknown, work in the public domain under CC0 1.0 Universal.