My Light: a poem for National Poetry Day 2015

You don’t get to blow out my flame

when you huff and you puff.

You don’t get to turn down my glow

when you’re feeling bored.

You don’t get to shame my spark

Into snuffing itself out.

You don’t get me to dim my light

so yours can shine brighter.

the garden of self-doubt

Shade

The only metaphor that works, right now,

is a plant in a corner of the garden

that’s always known its inner-most colour,

kept secret, to adapt and fit in.

 

This plant isn’t stretching to reach the sun.

It’s been content with its lot on the lawn,

accepting that others will burst and bloom

while it keeps to itself, forlorn.

 

Imagine this plant could transplant its space

to a patch that was easily lit,

giving a chance to grow like the rest.

But it flinches, retreats as though hit.

 

Why would a plant not take a chance to grow?

‘Cos it’s forgotten it really can?

Or has its true nature been buried beneath

those decades of soul-sucking soil?

 

Sun

What if the gardener was calling time

on the plants that had real worthwhile?

What if there was a ruthless deadline,

on the blooms with a chance of life?

 

What would our shady plant have to say

about the finite ­– the limit of time?

Would it continue to rot in the safety of shade,

or risk the scrutiny of sun?

 

Given a push, it will feel the sense

to die, to shift, or move out.

What’s no longer left is the chance to risk

the outcome of years of self-doubt.

 

So, time to make a shift towards

a sun that could no longer steal.

Trust the gardener of this gorgeous space

where the thorns could ultimately heal?

being left without warning

Tell me when you want it to end.

Don’t just gift me, compliment me,

and say I was brilliant, while it lasted.

Then leave.

 

I need a beginning,

middle,

end.

 

I trusted you, felt we had a connection,

built part of my diary around you.

To deprive me of my wind-down time

feels cruel, unfair.

 

And honesty was your core value,

so why not square up to me

when endings are why you came

to help you find your answer.

 

Leave me without a proper ending

and I hold the unprocessed story:

wondering about your (and my)

happily ever after.

a boundary and a butterfly

you mess me about, afraid to commit,

and I let you get away with it.

 

I’m scared that if I pin you down

you’ll punish me by flying away.

 

So do I let you flit among my flowers,

skim the best of my summer blooms,

 

while deep in my roots I feel unrest

as I’m sapped of what keeps me whole?

 

Or do I insist you choose a stem to sit on

that won’t always bend to your whim,

 

and risk losing your custom for good –

though at least I won’t be short-changed?

can’t or won’t be helped?

Your sigh is deep, you bleat your woes,

dump them at my feet

expecting me to pick them up

and hand them back, all fixed.

 

Something in the line of jaw,

desperation in your eye,

that carries age-old, deep-set wounds

I can never hope to heal.

 

I protect my ego’s sacred part

from your needy, devouring stare

forcing me responsible

for making you feel whole.

 

If I do that, it’s me who’s sucked

of life’s enduring force.

I trust that you can find within

a healing, hopeful resource.

 

You’re waiting for me to say the ‘right’ thing

while doing nothing yourself,

except switching off every light in the room,

shuttering your self from earth.

 

What sits in your impatient pockets

is an urge to cover your scars.

You expect me to be your fairy truth

and to wave a wand of stars.

 

But my truth is, honestly, more like the moon:

a beam in the night field of doom.

Take your needs, your pitiful looks:

sit, and transform them alone.

the bite of my inner wolf

inktuition wolf and moon

I’ve always been afraid of you,

since you first terrorised my dream,

sank your teeth into my innocent forearm,

leaving droplets of freckle blood.

I always leapt onto my childhood bed

knowing you lay beneath,

ready to reach out and swipe with a paw

any sign of vigilance weak.

The cool of your eye made me fear my blue

avoiding it as alien to me.

Better my red, to warn you off,

keep me safe from your knowing prowl.

And yet you haunt my waking life:

on your hind legs now, you smirk at my work.

As if you can’t bear for my truth to break free

you keep me caged in your mockery.

If you were my friend, I’d keep you my pet

to bite at my enemies instead.

Yet that’s what I let you do to me:

keeps me superior, smug, lonely, apart.

Wolves are meant to hunt in packs

so why did I get you alone?

Why are you lost, tormenting me so?

Do wolf and go howl at the moon.

(pic courtesy of nixxphotography/freedigitalphotos.com)