Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tell me something I don't know

I wrote this some time ago, starting it before my move to Brisbane three and a half years ago, and finishing it afterwards. It came to me in bits and pieces, words and ideas here and there, and totally out of order. After it had settled itself into its final form, I entered it in a poetry competition. It didn't win anything (but then, I didn't like any of the poems that did win). I haven't really written any poetry since, except for the occasional orphaned line, so I think it must have been something about that time.

If, at the time that I wrote it, you had asked me what it was about, I wouldn't have been able to tell you, part because I've always believed that to a significant extent, the reader chooses the meaning of a poem, part because I just didn't know. Over time I've come to feel that for me, it's about a journey being made by two people who know each other well, but are no longer travelling on the same path. I hope that maybe it might mean something to you, too.

Tell me something I don't know

Tell me something I don't know,
I'll hide my fears and let them grow,
For Thursday's child has far to go,
There's no time to delay

And while I choose the path to take,
You'll shake the dreamers wide awake,
There's never been so much at stake,
So much to hold at bay

So I'll stand by while you romance
The idiots and sycophants
Until there's nothing left to chance
And even less to say

And I'll remember, you'll forget,
The epitaphs and epithets.
There's no time left to feel regret,
We did that yesterday

Recall a Sunday afternoon,
Another year, a different June,
We knew the night would come too soon,
I knew you wouldn't stay

But while that endless fire burned
I found what you'd already learned
And looked to see your face, which turned
A paler shade of grey

I heard you'd found a place to dream,
Here, underneath the evergreens
But nothing's ever as it seems
With other things at play

With memory in close pursuit,
You'd got there by a different route,
For dreams are never absolute
They always fade away.

© 2006.

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