Poetry Reading: Devotion and a Cold, Hard, Stone

By Baylie Karperien

Rain pools in cracks and crevices and pounds against the rock

Chants a rhythmic battle song and bends the slender stalk,

Of every blade of grass that dares to grow in all this gloom

And swallows any trace of life which stands against its doom

As if it could survive where lives are born just meant to die

You’re the sun, ‘round whom the earth is fated to revolve

And dance in twirling ecstasy, unfailing her resolve

Or maybe we were meant to laugh at how the earth was tied

To always and forever chase and never by your side,

As if she could have overcome the force that holds her in the sky

Clouds black out the sun as if disgusted by her cheer

And roar with hungry mouths in hope we’ll cower in our fear

And swallow up our souls and flock to suffocate our skin

Devouring our hope ‘till we forget how to begin

As if we could begin again when dug into the ground

You’re the one who holds me back and twists all of my words

And shatters all my dreams the moment you know what they are,

But you’re the sun and I the earth and maybe it was wrong

But I’ll admit I may have hoped you’d listen to my song

As if you would listened, would have heard what I had found

The thorns that creep along the ground are matted, twisted shells

The cracks are spider’s webs that coat the rusty aged bells,

That sing a lonely song inside the rotting, musty ghost

Of pews and hymnals, candles, all abandoned by their host

And you seemed so very lonely sitting there all by yourself

But you never listen, do you, no, that’s not your way

And you never really cared to hear the things I had to say

So maybe it’d be better if I left you far behind,

For though you’ve never hurt me, even treated me unkind,

As if your stone-cold heart could have ever loved beyond its cell

Shadows grow and stretch and lengthen, devouring the light

Like a thousand tiny mouthfuls that they swallow with delight

And the darkness dreams of times it might remain until the day

Instead of every sunrise sneaking, creeping, tucked away

As if the two could battle and the sun could fall that far

The iron gate was warning that I should have stayed away

And left you to tend yourself in your own lonely, empty way,

But now that I have found you, can I ever let you go?

Abandon you to sit alone through rain and sleet and snow

As if you’re but a lump of rock in an abandoned, lonely yard

The moment I laid eyes on you I knew it was eternal,

The fire burning in my heart a blazing, wild inferno

I felt my heart begin to shake the moment that we met,

You gave me such a stomach-ache that by your side I set,

As if we could drink tea and laugh at things that I had said.

The cemetery cold, abandoned, roses stripped of life

Like everything within it fallen to the price of strife,

My own faint glow a murmur in an emptiness of gray,

I felt myself a loneliness then realized it out of place,

As if my love and I are separate simply since my love is dead!

Your face is etched with letters that have crumbled and decayed,

Your head is cold to touch and makes me wonder how you payed

For such a lovely grave, if you were perhaps a wealthy man

Or your origins dictated fate, begot from noble clan,

As if your life was but another branch upon the family tree

Perhaps I should have listened when they told me I was mad,

But sitting here with you, can I be anything but glad?

Our love will last the ages when I’m buried by your side

And Shakespeare, when he heard of me, would certainly have cried

As if my love were nothing but another lover’s dream!

For your death came fifty years ago, long before I was born,

But my love for you is burning bright and I keep your graveside warm,

And will never love another, never dare to move away,

I devote myself to you, my love, my stone, and here I’ll stay

As if we are a couple, you the groom, and I the bride

You are my sun and I your earth and our love will never die

For you’re already dead, and I myself, will soon oblige,

This stone that I have fallen for will never be alone,

For soon beside will be a headstone of my very own,

As if my love could be less true because you’ve already died.

This poem is a reminder that emotion is not always what it seems, and we often fall in love with things that are not real. We become attached to a fantasy, we become devoted to one who is incapable of loving us back. We are human, and this is our reality. Our deep capacity to love is our greatest gift. But it is also a great danger.


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