For no reason other than my own whimsy, let me share with you a poem.
I’m not a poet. I’ve never really read poetry, or understand much about what makes a good poem. Apart from brief periods – the sort that everyone has when they’re growing up – I’ve never explored it as a medium.
I reckon that I’ve accidentally written three in my life; three decent ones, at least. Why accidentally? Well, I might not be a poet, but I have written a lot of lyrics over the years.
I came to writing through music, I think it’s fair to say. In another world I’d have been a musician, but now I’m too old, too fat and too lacking in talent. But music still infuses everything I’ve ever done. I always write with music in the background. My first novel, The Ballad of Lady Grace, was really a love-song to the world of the amateur musician. And when I was a teenager (and beyond) I’d soak up the images and the feelings in the things I’d listen to and try to ‘seal’ my own emotions in words.
I’ve still got copies of (almost) everything I’ve ever written sitting in boxes in the spare room. I don’t know why I keep them, really. There’s a few I might go back to, but in the most part rereading them will, I suspect, be quite a painful experience. There are hundreds of ‘dry songs’ there. A lot of my life. Not necessarily the good parts.
Out of this morass of uselessness has come the aforementioned three pieces that I reckon might just qualify as poems. Below – just because I feel like it – is one of them. I wrote this back in 2000, I think; and then a year or two later I entered it into the Dublin International Poetry Competition. It made the top 500. I am still inordinately proud of that.
Looking at it now, I think I see things I’d like to change. But I’ll leave it as is. Time trapped in amber, as I am over-fond of saying.
Incidentally, if anyone has any questions or subjects they’d like me to discuss, please let me know. I am, after all, dependent on my readership; the power is with you.
We ride across the causeway in silence
For ours is a cold burden
All the words have been said
And this is not the place
Not once do we see eye to eye
We cannot change the routine – we must complete this task
I’m thinking this is a beautiful thing we do
We get the decay
Away – for us
It may never be over
But we can leave now, kick into a gallop and ride
Together. We know what we have to do – all the words have been said, and only as you draw ahead
Do I look at you – I am your shadow
And we are gods
We will ride forever
But don’t you ever wonder?
I find myself thinking
Is this what we really want? You are perfect, you are so perfect
I want you
And don’t you ever wonder
How it is to dance?
Soon, I’m thinking, it will be time to leave.
I will be turning away – it’s so easy
You won’t even notice
We both know what to do, but next time you ride
Across the causeway
You will be with someone else.
What will you say?
Can you feel change in the air? I used to talk to you
But now we are gods
So will you remember? Will anyone remember?
This work we do
This is a cold burden
And it is mine to bear