XI

THEY

 

And so I continued, my rages and thaws

causing burnings of anger and darkness of cause.

Confusion and emptiness fought tooth and nail

with my longing for life and my loving to sail

‘cross the ocean of starlight and darkly expanse.

So, deciding my fate fell gloriously to chance.

 

I started to wonder if I was losing my mind,

wanting one thing while needing another.

Thoughts of passed loved ones came to mind:

my brother, my sister, my father and mother.

Why was I only now thinking of them?

What had consumed me, that I could ignore

the memory of their love, allowing me to condemn

myself to fixation on no more

than one?

 

It developed then, the resentment I once sensed,

which, in fleeting nature, I had assigned to my company.

But no one around this time influenced

my perceptions of the only one I wished to see.

 

And ‘They’ found me.

 

Devoid of a vessel by which need they might travel,

these creatures were like ghosts of dark nightmare.

Without saying a word, they appeared to unravel

my thoughts and emotions without a care.

 

Stood before me, yet floating, these cold apparitions

set about stoking the fires I was living in.

With bellows of despair, they distorted my conditions

and fuelled my longing for oblivion.

 

Yet I was aware; I knew what they were doing,

and I, laughing scornfully, told them as much:

‘You did this to the Golden Creature, undoing

everything she hoped for and drawing her touch

from the one she loved dearly.’

 

But the ghost spied me clearly:

 

‘The one you encountered was not so aware,

nor had he listened to the voice of his love.

She found eternal life beyond unfair

and wished to find solace in some place above.

 

‘We did not make her suffer; the choice was hers:

to absent herself from her love and her life.’

 

Upon hearing this revelation, a memory was sparked by the words,

and I was enlightened to my own forgotten strife:

 

There at her house, walking in tears from her door.

The truth rang out clearly: I would see her no more.

And I, thinking hopefully that that could be wrong,

had held to that wonderful fantasy so long.

 

There had been no death; it had been her leaving

which I had projected ‘pon all who had passed.

And all of those real deaths which had left me grieving,

I reflected upon through rose-tinted glass.

 

Everywhere I saw her, in everything I did,

‘til she became the defences behind which I hid.

Defining my future through the past in which I lingered,

my eternal existence had been ever hindered.

 

And, though I should have accepted that the past was just that,

I dreamed of returning and winning her back.

This elastic ambition of unending despair

led to my failing to notice or care,

while the world rushed by and I was held there,

drawn ever back into the thin air

of a life with no meaning, that would not allow me

to see that other joys were all around me.

 

‘Do you wish it also?’ the ghost interrupted,

breaking the hypnosis of my reverie.

‘Do you long for oblivion, an escape uncorrupted

by the realities of life which you will no longer see?’

 

‘How is it possible,’ I curiously posed,

‘when I am eternal and beyond grasp of Death?’

 

‘There is a place where the door is no longer closed

between this life you endure and the peace of the next.’

 

‘Even for me?...who does not subscribe

to any idea of an after-life?

Why suddenly worthy am I of reward

when all of my deeds were so untoward?’

 

‘You punish yourself dearly, a hefty price

for loving and losing and feeling betrayed.

What does it matter, whether once or twice

you committed some act where your good was delayed?’

 

The offer was tempting, an end to my pain,

but an end to all hoping for ending again.

Should I give in and succumb to despair

or find me some reason to go back there?

 

‘There is an alternative, another tack.

We can, if you seek it, direct you back.

You can find your own reasons for carrying on,

but we will wait at the abyss lest you ponder too long.’

 

Without an answer I could vocalise,

They simply responded to the look in my eyes:

 

And the Universe was all alight.

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