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.


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
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

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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Blogger Goldenrod said...

Laughing uproariously out loud at THIS one, Michael!

11:45 PM  

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