Sticky tape

The prison records show he was too young to hang,
but still he swung; became motionless after a while,
as the Sunday suits turned away, heads nodding;
metronomic, tick tocking and tongue clucking in concert.

But that’s what sticky tape is; a disguise;
and ‘I am the resurrection and the life,’
is just so much add on engineering that cannot hide the
trapdoor leading to the day of reckoning.

Then again, perhaps it’s just cynicism on my part,
like the man who desires what he cannot have
casts doubt when love’s ardour fails;
‘it never bothered me anyway.’ says he.

Of course, good sense may eventually prevail
and we will again feed sea birds from the hand;
men’s eyes will open and see the green of grass,
all this may come to pass before the last atom fuses.

But if it doesn’t, if all that is left goes unharvested
and the ghosts that gather have their wicked way;
then true it will show, that dressed or undressed,
man was snake made manifest.

6 comments

  1. Hi Douglaus

    What a remarkably stark and powerful poem! Fate is often unjust especially when justice takes off its impartial disguise and reveals itself unbalanced. And it’s hard at times to see how anything will get better in our abused planet with terrorism and other unfair practices looming over it. I think sometimes we hang on simply “sticky taped” to promises of salvation and reward. Your poem expresses this so well with its voice, imagery and sound. These lines are chilling but evocative

    if all that is left goes unharvested
    and the ghosts that gather have their wicked way;
    then true it shows, dressed or undressed,
    that man was snake made manifest.

    and those opening ones in stanza one

    The prison records show he was too young to hang,
    but still he swung; then motionless after a while,
    as the Sunday suits turned away, heads nodding;
    metronomes, tick tocking and tongue clucking in concert.

    say so much about the powers in charge and the powers that be. They turn away, methodical and ritualistic, absorbed in their own righteous world and ambitions.

    Thank you for sharing
    much enjoyed
    wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Douglas,

    It takes a skilled pen to create such darkness.

    “Of course, mercy may eventually stir
    and we will again feed sea birds from the hand;
    men’s eyes will open and see the green of grass,
    all this may come to pass before the last atom fuses.”

    This is the stanza that I cling to. With a maestro’s hand you yank hope
    as if it were a rug beneath our feet, but with the above stanza, you stand
    us upright again, with an unspoken reminder that it is up to us.

    Sarah

    Like

    • I was feeling biblical. Seeing this beautiful planet as a young man whose time was being unfairly stolen and I thought the last two lines were a fitting epitaph. Then again, it might be just my age and the knowledge of my own mortality. 🙂

      Like

  3. There is a book that you should read. My doctor gifted me with a copy.
    It’s called When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. It is non-fiction.
    It’s only 230 pages and it is good! Maybe after you read it, you could
    the new Pub’s first book. As for the poem, you did good!!

    Like

  4. Douglas,
    Your words in that last stanza are chilling:
    “But if it doesn’t, if all that is left goes unharvested
    and the ghosts that gather have their wicked way;
    then true it shows, dressed or undressed,
    that man was snake made manifest.”
    I enjoyed reading your poem. It called me for a 2nd read.
    J

    Like

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