The Lost Soliloquy, 2006
Beside a candle late at night
My glasses on and all was quiet;
With candles as my reading light,
After all day staring at the sea,
(In a dream or so it seems)
I’d brought a quiet book with me
I then heard faint upon my door
Three soft knocks and then no more.
My book I sat beside the table
On a wooden lamp stand less-than-stable
And walked as fast as I was able
I strode to the door across the wood floor
(A candle in my hand was sitting on its candle stand)
Looking out to dare implore,
And there I stood –
Gazing at the blue-tinged moon-bathed wood.
Nothing there but trees, but quiet
Just twisted elms with shrubs beside it
Like each shadow of its form behind it
(I heard a girl’s laugh and stepped in the grass)
Like shadow puppets on a wall, dancing lively – standing tall
Then I saw young girl’s dress
Drift deep into the wilderness
A dress of blue, outlined in lace
By trees it blew, around her face;
I followed her and then she turned,
and her voice inside me burned;
Behind me came a whisper, low and rolling – and she said:
“Tell me,” she asked, “Tell me,” she said:
“What’s it like to be dead?”
Into the wood I turned and ran,
Through all the lonely nighttime sand,
Her childish laughing ringing out,
“What,” I said, and turned to shout:
Through all the rustling nighttime leaves
Into the wood I followed at full speed.
The same voice I heard just up ahead,
And a sleeping owl turned and said,
Like a jester from a palace read –
(through the darkness I peered through,
I saw the subtle tinge of blue)
Strange it was that night to see
a lonely owl look down at me
“What’s it like to be dead?”
The owl said and cocked his head.
In the ground not far away
I saw the curtail of the blue dress sway
Then her brown eyes clear as day,
(She lifted a mirror on the ground
and then passed through without a sound)
I went through too and thought I knew;
As I washed onto a pale white shore
And the words came, just as before
A small girl walked from the trees and said:
“I know what it’s like to be dead.”
There was a trap-door in the woods,
We disappeared through, now we stood;
Fireflies I saw, or thought I could
(They glistened in the far off night
like a star reflecting bright)
Across the stream she blew flower seeds
As rain fell on the stream like silver beads
The lonely water then settled still
As the giggling child set on the hill.
What’s it like to be dead?
She above the water said
She above the water whispered
as the dragonflies around us glittered.
‘It’s forever to lie alone and still,
As the world above your eyes might spill
It’s to simply look above
Just like the lonely water does
“What know you of truth and lie?”
As above the same owl floated by,
“What know you of life and death?
Never could the water rest.”
“Tell me then of truth, don’t lie”
I felt just like a firefly,
“Tell me what it is you know.”
Around us as the wind would blow.
“We made the devil in our own image
And saw that it was good,
This is our own beastly visage;
No realer than an angel carved from wood.”
“How do you know the things you say?”
“Because I’ve been there and I’ve seen.”
Then the trees began to sway,
“This from the other world I bring.”
“Just look at the water, you’ll see too.”
Into the water a stone she threw
The image in it began to change,
And settled on some golden plane.
“Know you if by the hand of heaven,
Or if you’re held by the devil’s hands?
The beast lies inside you screaming,
Not in the fictional books of man.
What mountains of creation could we ascend,
If we upon these myths depend
If we on these myths rely
We drift just like some dragonfly.
Only there the silence lasts forever
Regardless of life’s stormy weather,
Regardless of the hammer of Thor,
Only silence lives forever more.
Before me on the calm night sea
In the silent tide of Galilee
Could we in this our future see –
Drowning beside the birds that glide,
In the silent tide of Galilee?