Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heroic Alone



author’s note:

After I’d worked on this poem for too long...

...I considered how far we’ve traveled--some might say “fallen”--from an age that could produce the heroic lines of The Charge of the Light Brigade.

But human consciousness is such a burden--heroic effort is required from all of us.


STRANGE VACATION

One man left alone
trying to cope with
a fishing vacation

--spading for worms
under a broad black oak
when a sudden pillar of sun
through the shadow of leaves
transforms the mundane scene
into a stone secret

that he works to ignore
while shifting through the soil
until something elastic squirms and wriggles
on his palm.  Such dark work
--with its moistness--makes him feel
uncomfortably quiet.

One man left alone
--trolling among the cypress trees
when the motor shuts down...so
he begins to paddle and knows
the trees watchfully take glee
in his anxiety
--how alien
   the splashes now sound
   echoing across the swamp.

Dry-docked, he sits
in a motel room,
and examines
his water-logged feet--
those wrinkled toes
look old and sad.
Though warts are
to be expected
they remain
unexplained.

He squints through
the glare of the plate glass window
at an empty parking lot
--is he the only one
   left alive
   on this strange island?

He picks through
his last box of worms--
one last little crawler
struggles at the bottom.

He puts the lid
back on,
then puts his shoes
back on
--getting ready
   to go out
   for a good fish dinner.

© 2009, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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1 Comments:

Blogger Goldenrod said...

Laughing uproariously out loud at THIS one, Michael!

11:45 PM  

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