Sunday, January 06, 2008

Chain of association

Is it sleeplessness that gets us thinking about things, or is it thinking about things that keeps us awake? It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, that. This is one of the more interesting of several 4am doodlings this last wretched week has thrown up (prompted, I think, by the first item on the New Year's questionnaire that HiK posted the other day).


Distinguishing marks? None.
The coward preserves his body,
Watchfully avoids all injury,
Keeps bones and skin unbroken,
The fragile flesh free of blemish.

My friend has a scar on his head;
Mine are in the mind:
The memories of blood,
And of the exploding despair;
The soul clenched in prayer
Without a god to pray to.

There are scars of conscience too:
The funeral missed
And the one attended;
Familial duties barely served then,
Thwarted by distance now.

And then there are the scars on the heart:
All the eyes that dazzled and teased,
All the women I failed to win;
And the two I won but lost again,
Loves so much bigger than my life.

Yes, I have scars, but they are hard to see;
Just visible, sometimes, in my eyes.


homeinkabul said...

aaah, very powerful poem, esp. that last bit about the family duties.

Froog said...

I suppose everyone is most moved by that which is closest to their own experience at the time.

For me, I think the most powerful section of this will always be the part about the taxi ride to the hospital with my friend, after he'd been attacked with a hatchet. He had suffered a deep wound across the side of the head, several other more minor ones to the face and upper body, and he was leaking badly. He probably would have bled to death if it had taken 10 or 20 minutes longer to get him to the Emergency Room. A deeply traumatizing experience for both of us.

Anonymous said...

"I suppose everyone is most moved by that which is closest to their own experience at the time."

hmm, agreed. poetry and other art speaks to what we see of ourselves in it.

for me, for now, the last line:

"Just visible, sometimes, in my eyes."

reaches out, makes me close my eyes, and sigh at what I see behind the closed lids.

Froog said...

Yes, well, I was of course primarily of being visible to others; but everyone has their own response to this.

Anonymous said...

I hope you write more poems soon too. I have always enjoyed them, umm, 'enjoyed' is not the right word.

I think these things go in phases, I have no doubt that you will explode into action again. There is no rush, you have plenty to say, its all there fermenting waiting for the day.