A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 1 April 2011


Already what we say is meaningless
But something more than meaning drives us on,
Some instinct from the dark heart of the past
Strikes out with a viper's terrible tongue.

Our pride is scorched. We smoulder and burn,
Heaping indignities upon the flames
Relentlessly. We slander without reason
And, without justice, apportion blame.

I stumble out of bed and stub my foot.
At once the licking flames flicker and die.
You fuss round with medicaments. A wave
Of caring floods your cooling arm and thigh.

Soft now, your eyes brim with solicitude.
Silence, shaped like a vase, unbroken
As a frozen wave, contains the pain.
Our salamander love endures, awoken,

Persisting even when the vase lies shattered,
When the wave sunders, when the flame flares again.


Dan Gurney said...

Very well done, Robert. I like the journey from affliction to love and back again. Aren't our emotions volatile?

I admire those who can manage to include rhyme in poetry so that it adds to the pleasure and elegance of the work.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Strong stuff Robert.

Ruth said...

Ah, this brings a tear, Robert. I agree with Dan, the back and forward of relationship is well felt here. The rhyme does contribute much. For me, it soothes and works my heart. These are evocative shapes: the viper, salamander, flame, silence, shaped like a vase.

Dominic Rivron said...

Reminded me of the over-quoted Tolstoy quote. I'll quote it again:
"One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of ones flesh in the ink-pot each time one dips one's pen."

Friko said...

What you have put so lyrically is marriage at its best.

Already what we say is meaningless. . . .
I know it well and I also know the sweet comfort of forgetting the hurtful words.

Tramp said...

"something more than meaning drives us on"
This is meaningless, but I know exactly what you mean - if you know what I mean.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks all!

Tramp - you have unerringly put your finger on the bit of the poem I was worried about. I think 'more than meaning' perhaps suggests 'greater than meaning' - which is not what I meant at all. As you say, logically anything more than meaning (or less than meaning) is meaningless - though, actually, 'meaningless' is what I meant! Going round in circles here ...

KleinsteMotte said...

The words are so difficult to read if one has a visual issue and I do. Though golden in appearance the font is very hard for my eyes to really grasp. A deeper tone might work better.

The Solitary Walker said...

KleinsteMotte: Good point. I'll see what I can do.