audio, blog, poetry, short story

Inktober 27 – Coat

dead-trees_Free-Photos
Image by Free-Photos via pixabay

Listen: 

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

It’s quiet, always. I miss birdsong more than almost anything else. Can’t be completely certain but I’m surely getting close now. There’s a salt tang in the air unlike the sour stench of the towns and the damp, gloomy forests – what’s left of them, anyway.

I hack and spit rusty bubbles beside tattered boots. Humans were made to move, but this slow trek is nothing like running and going nowhere for fun. Now I walk, escaping nowhere and carrying it within.

Rest is death.

Behind me, blasted trees stretch gaunt black limbs skyward, twisted and shrieking in the endless wind. My coat barely yields to the breeze, its fabric thick with secrets and stained with unbearable memories. There’s too much knowledge for one man to contain.

I should go on.

I settle on a fallen trunk and cough. Pain spikes hot in my chest.

Maybe we could never have proved ourselves worthy stewards of the universe when every call for caution was ignored, drowned by the triumphant roar of all the other wishes granted to man in his pursuit of mastery. The genie will never return to the bottle, because he exults in his freedom and terrible power to remake the world.

We were our own nemesis, and we refused to believe it. I look up, try to believe the sun still shines, high above the sullen clouds. If it has not forsaken us, why can I not feel it?

I hack and spit red. Red used to mean love. I could curl up here – find solace hidden between roots ripped from grieving earth – dream of all I have lost, and all that has been snatched away. I could rest.

Just a little further.

This desolate greying hill is the last, I’m certain. I will come to the sea, to the end and the beginning. My pack lies empty at my feet. The tighter I clutch my past, the faster it disintegrates in my hands.

What’s a man without a past? What’s a man without a future?

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
and quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


Poetry excerpted from Sea Fever by John Masefield
Thanks for reading!

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry

Inktober 23 – Ancient

olive tree sunset_TeeFarm
Image by Teefarm via pixabay.com

listen:

I am that tree

blasted by vengeful lightning
gnarled limbs tortured by gales
weeping garlanded cloud lichen
wrapped in sighing mists
grey with memory.

But when seasons change
my roots sink deeper, kissing bedrock.
Fruitless branches sway and hold fast
remember ripened glories.
Sculpted by time’s angry knife
blooming green defiance

I endure.


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audio, blog, creative writing, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry, relationships

Encouraging words

clouds way direction seat belts
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

listen to this poem here:

You say the sun is always there.

Above, only sullen nimbus grey.
My left hand grasps at shadows
right hand trapped by work’s iron fist
behind, a thousand tiny ties bound to the past
below, soul-sucking mud swallows every step
hateful reality burns down my dreams.
But you say, keep going
I’m doing great, so tell me
will I see the sun again

do you promise?

 

audio, blog, poetry

Unbound

freedom_TygerTy
Image by TygerTy via pixabay

listen:

Even though casting off your bonds seems
dangerous
and cutting ties that bind seems
most unwise
you should not be afraid.

Shed the leaden coat of history
find your wounds, kiss them tenderly
you do not need to watch them any more.
Trace one finger over your map of ancient hurts
cast it into the forgiving sea
look out to new horizons.

For when your shackles break
when your handcuffs are dust in the wind
you will rise at last
on gossamer wings of hope’s new breath
spreading, beating, growing ever stronger
freed from those Lilliputian troubles
that were never yours.

So cut the cords
fly where the heart leads
and you will see at last
you were always meant for more.


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audio, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry, relationships

Carry you

a dark tree-lined road with shafts of sunlight
image by seth0s via pixabay

listen here:

I thought I could carry you with me.

We walked hard roads together
leaning on each other in bad times
laughing side by side in good times
we didn’t know our lines would run parallel
only for so long.
A tiny shift
a tiny space
the lines diverging
and I try
try to hold on
because
after all
we are seen and we are known
we are something to each other
not easily found, I thought.
But since I set my compass to wider horizons
you dig at me with your discomfort
scratch me with your disapproval.
And I try
try to hold on
because
after all
I will miss you too
your sarcasm and tears
your perspective and your fears
the way we huddled together for warmth
long into dark nights.
But with every angry jibe
the chasm grew, so
I placed you tenderly behind a shield of glass
raised for my own protection
seen, not felt
cry if you must
and don’t forget
I love you even as
you shrink in my rear view mirror.
I should be looking forward
and I try
try to hold on
but
after all
time is the great separator.
Almost beyond touching distance
yet it still hurts.
I wish you well
but

I wish I could carry you with me.

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry, relationships

A Bitter Taste

pasta-heart_moni08
moni08 via pixabay

listen to this poem here:

I made her favourite dinner.

Onions simmered to vanishing
tiny-chunked tomatoes
meatballs just the right size
absolutely no mushrooms of any kind
no wholegrain healthy pasta
everything the way she likes it.

Then I watched her poke at the sauce and say
too salty
not what she wanted
not hungry anyway.

And I thought
one day
you will make something for someone.

It will not showcase the breadth of your skill.
It will not win any awards.
In days or hours it will likely be forgotten, but
you’ll put heart into every tiny part, regardless.

And when they push it away you’ll tell yourself
it does not matter
not that important
it’s okay.

Some lessons can’t be taught.

Some flavours must be tasted
swallowed, haltingly
bitterness in each regretful bite.

I love her, so I let her walk
from plate untouched and love unspoken
and I spared her the knowledge
that one day

it will be her turn.


(first published by PS I Love You on Medium 1 Sept 2019)

audio, blog, creative writing, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry

The Quiet One

photo of woman putting her finger on her lips
Photo by lascot studio on Pexels.com

listen here:

I have something to say
so large
so dangerous
it might destroy the world

I swallow it

lava turned granite
elbows my heart aside
crushes my lungs out of existence
graceless under pressure

walk, don’t talk
hold on tight
I’m unexploded
barbs in my throat

(smile)

each breath a haze of pain
acid rains unwept
corroded within
a shiny carapace

I swallow it

my gut twists
in broken glass waves
tiptoeing
careful now

when the bomb blows
only one victim

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry

Garden Party

cake-tea_Skitterphoto
Skitterphoto via pixabay.com

listen to this poem here:

There is a place where the sky is
amazingly, truly blue
always perfect summer
floral silk flutters in a warm breeze.
Tea and cake on elegant lawns. We watch
the world go by.
And in this place
the string quartet plays on
all worries fade to leave us
contented, soft.
We float on half-heard conversations
skirt around the deep
drown in the shallows while our hearts
barely beat.
More cake? Yes please
this sponge is rather good.
And no amount of genteel words can fill
the gaps and missing parts
but yes, a fine day, a fine day indeed, yes
I heard, it’s such wonderful news.

Lips moving, tasting, swallowing
a full portion
of nothing at all.

blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry, relationships

Retrograde

stars man torch_martin-sattler
Photo by Martin Sattler on Unsplash

listen to this poem here:

This place I’ve been before
almost home
a shoe that didn’t quite fit
I’m sliding in anyway

(close my eyes)

can almost see the way we were
hear your laughter unravelled in time
distance draws the bitter barbs
leaving only the ghost of sweetness

(let’s pretend)

feast on crumbs of forgotten memories
rake it over, find one last spark
call it enough
better than nothing at least

(a once-familiar kiss)

it only looks like backward motion
from where I’m standing
so stay with me awhile
and I promise not to cry

(we already know how this ends)

listen to this poem narrated in reverse here:


(with thanks to Wil Roach – first published in PS I love you on Medium 28 July 2019)