Apr01

Old Memories

Filed under Poetry

On the outskirts of a town I came upon in a dream
There as I walked arose an apparition so obscene
It was a ruined building that seemed so full of regrets
With its windows like empty eye sockets
With its entryway locked in a scream
It had an air of agony that hardly fit the country scene
For it was no longer cared for, no longer a home
Just a ruinous blight the neighbors could only bemoan
Old memories, distantly felt, arose from it like some spectral steam
And swirled about the place arresting me in my dream
As I gazed at it and wondered what horror it had once seen
Suddenly I heard the whispering of sad voices from within
Then like in a dream I found I was transported suddenly therein
As if I was a resident there and always had been.

I sat in a room like an empty shell on a beach
My mouth open wide having lost the power of speech
And I looked around slowly at all the evidence of devastation
The floor was wood, maybe, but in a state of ruination
Almost petrified from its covering of often-tread dried mud
And a few wobbly round tables that some chairs knocked about
It had the air of being abandoned everywhere throughout
With bare walls displaying silhouettes of shadowed empty spaces
Perhaps where once had been pictures of friends’ smiling happy faces
And the ceiling was gone, but high up above rafters stood
With a rickety roof of dead trees and disused scrape wood
Across from me sat the center of attention
An old man who sat with his head listlessly in suspension
And there were a few others there engaged in low conversation
Annoyed because I greeted the man, clearly rising above my station
The whole scene left me uneasy and completely nonplussed.

At the sound of my greeting the old man arose quietly from his place
And placed three old books before me while looking expectantly at my face
Behind the man’s head I saw a bit of graffiti marked upon the wall
That I realized was a caricature of the man long before his long-ago fall
When more cheerful a man full of joy born of living in bright places
Now his eyes were all cernuous as if mourning missed embraces
The others demanded that I leave with a curtness of impatience
But the man seemed not to notice them and gestured to me with complaisance
Greeting my hesitant silence with a sobbed: “She loved me”
Down I looked at that he expectantly had gave me.

The first was a book of the most sincere words of love
Crafted by a dilettante, yet inspired by heaven above
Poetry whose meaning seemed matched to the hollows of my heart
That spoke of a joyful union once found in a world so far apart
From the crusted old floor and silent walls of this lachrymose space.

The next was a book of well-read sincerely loved letters
Between a young woman and this man whose heart was in fetters
There was so much love and joy dancing on each of its pages
That I felt my own aging heart taking flight happily soaring
At the beautiful love recorded in words so intimately outpouring.

The third book contained the scraps of finally abandoned dreams
Plans for a future together that were never ever redeemed.

Suddenly realizing the meaning of this unhappiest scene
I found myself weeping at what I realized it had to mean
Leaping to my feet and running hurriedly for the door
Trying to escape that place and the ruined man one could only abhor
He looked in my face with dim hope in his unseeing aqueous eyes
The memory of which makes my very soul jump with a shudder
As if I had something to do with the collapse of this my soul’s other.

I ran through the empty door frame into the warmth of the day
In that dream in which I came across the grave where I lay
And remembered our dreams of futures we had never redeemed
And the joy of inspired fascination for her and all that she seemed
Tasting again our sweet words of love so passionately shared
But also remembrances of loneliness when my pained heart had cried out
That house was where these memories lay buried in our history of doubt.

I looked down the path that had brought me finally to this place
At the carpet of dry leaves in which my footsteps had left no trace
Realizing then that I had been lost in a dream within my dream
Thinking I was walking through a forest ever so serene.

Suddenly realizing this little vignette was a burden I did bear
And forever, if I didn’t put those books away without care
And open my heart once again to the brilliance of each day
And once again love, love whoever I may
I wept once again as I left them all there where they lay
Leaving behind memories of once-dreamed upon happiness.

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