Sunday, April 6, 2008

Measure of a man

This is a hard piece for me to write. I imagine often the mountain eating me up and spitting me out. In this poem I wanted to explore a place where life and death mix, where you could explore how it would feel to be dead and sitting next to your bones, years later.


No beating heart chases me second by second
no flesh at all weighs a dead man I reckon
There are thoughts in me of times before
where good days were ahead and always in store
but life took a different course for me
on high mountain above the sea
My thoughts pause on the young man I was
whose feet ached to go and wonder
the seven seas and the four corners of the world
but that was a dream, just like finding that perfect girl
by the time I’d set off I was in such a rush
what a shame it was to die neath a rocks crush
Long have I journeyed, so much left to wonder
but today I sit and rest high above water
where wind somehow shifts my being in motion
and wisps of ghostly limbs move in unison
across the bones, fragments of what I was before
and feelings are roused, better left where they were stored
And it sets me on a question I struggle to understand
what it is, truly, that is the measure of a man
surely what remains of me here on this mountainside
isn’t the entire sum of what I am inside
No matter the body I now lack
in my returning, I am left defying the fact
had I known of ghosts, would life have been as real?
if I had known at all, there'd be no fear to feel
not on mountain dressed in rock and ice
or on life's path set headlong into futures vice
it wouldn't be my own, only a theme park ride to amuse
such a shame to waste life best lived as you choose
If you don’t miss anything in life, what good is it at all?
maybe I should miss the sound of angels in heaven calling
but instead I yearn for danger felt atop cliffed-in heights
I yearn for feeling a mortal man's blight
but yearned for most of all lay in bones on the ground
these bones that will never rise again to walk around
Soon the sun turns and leaves us in darkness
there are feelings I am sure I will never harness
even with these stars piloting me through sad thoughts
no answer is found beyond cutting out the rot
time passes slowly without whispers of age or hunger blinding
but even then nothing is ever worth not deciding
I leave when dawn awakens and visits me with her smile
now grown I must rise up and leave my past child
I have long awaited discovering the measure of me
and it isn’t in the flesh or bones you see
(nor is it in the wisps of phantom that is now me)
it is in days laid out behind and those ahead
the ones you know are alive even when you are dead