Wednesday, February 20, 2013

“If” is not a blade of grass

April 18, 1981

I guess there’s something wrong in me
Some distorted bit, an ugly flaw
That bites both you, and painfully me
In different ways, a bit you’ve caught
And I have not. That’s my fault,
I’m afraid. The blinding of a lover
Who has missed the glaring signs to halt,
I see them now, too late, and you’ve another
Way of living set in your mind
I can’t blame you. I can only sit
And wonder if I’d been in time
Would fate have changed that little bit?
But bits and ifs are not enough
To turn you back to feeling love

If I was only a wide pine tree
With needles jutting from my finger tips
I could stab myself and remove from me
This terrible ugly frightening bit
I could grow new bark to hear the wound
That flakes now from my chest
Where once a heart like a flower bloomed
Out of sorrow and loneliness
But I have neither limb nor bough
That can stiffly stand your leaving
I have no roots that can swiftly grow
To seal this gap that’s bleeding
I’m just a simple man, it seems
Who burnt his wood to light his dreams.

If I was but a crow that sounds
Harsh and bitter and brooding life
There would be no heartless frame around
To ponder you and crave you like
A blind man must crave his sight.
I would have never had you
Near me, touching here and there, a knife
Cutting with pleasure, cutting me through.
But I am not a crow that caws
Or a bird that can fly away
I’m hooked upon your feline claws
With words not wings to sway.
But you who once had a softer side
Have hardened into another’s bride.

If I was but the yellow sky
Glowing with the predawn light,
Growing into an ocean wide
Of love and warmth and smiles
Maybe that would change that mind
Which thinks long thought with short replies
Maybe I could scorch and blind
And melt the frosting from your eyes.
But I am but a flicking flame
A short match’s light that forever longs
For you to help me ease the pain
That comes with being forever wrong.
But the flame that flickers learns to die
Without much warmth, without much pride.

And I am, too, the sprouting grass
Not a lawn, mind you, but a ragged
Bit of green that grows and wiggles past
The granite blocks and crags, it
Doesn’t matter. I’ll still grow
Though yellow without your light
And parts of me will always show
Your passing, your blinding bright.
I am not crushed; I am not damaged
But bent again in my old ways
Hurt and lonely, yet able to manage
The future filled with dull dark days
For you, my love, are the only ray
Left to raise this humbled blade.

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