Eyes of Innocence

Some stories lend themselves
To the telling with the ease they
Sit in memory.
It is like listening to a violin play
Deep in the night
With the wind carrying the harmony.
I wish — how I wish that this day was couched
In such a frame of happy thoughts.
Without the echoes of madness
That seemed to follow us everywhere.

It was Autumn and
Mild for that time of year.
We had chosen to travel down the river.
Stepping out so tranquil and so still
No ripple extending out before us
Glass like sky painted on the water
Brilliant blue tumultuous to infinity
Veined and scattered with cloud white
Vastness stretching as far as we could see.

Between us was the knowledge
That the next day you would leave
Bound for that God forsaken
Place where you would once more
Try to stem the tide of destiny.
I in my heart wanted to be with you
But in my soul knew that it could not be
The moment less than hopeful
Dashed by circumstances
Deadened by reality.
On either side
We were bracketed by the trees
Clasping each other on the shore
Standing sedate in their placid dignity
Clad with ancient armour pock-marked skin.
A memorial to survival defiant they stand
Despite storm and fire
Here a scar from some violence long gone.
There an empty hollow where once a branch
Reached out to salute the heavens.
They survive for now at least, towering
Like some exotic brotherhood
Spaced out together
Framing a sky above
And one below.

We cannot escape
Haunted by the faces
Worn to
Silence in despair.

Like some extravagant adventure
Behind us in an intimate fantasy
The incredible unrolling of a vista is
Left in the wake of our passing.
We did not speak as we went.
You immersed in the blanket
Of your thoughts buried in the fragile
Depth of intimate mourning
Mysterious in the distant echo of your passing.
I with no understanding of your driven intensity
Content to watch you in your private place.

Our blades dipping into patterns of memory.
Shimmered sunlight keeping us
Suspended in our focus
I aware of nothing but you before me
Taking each moment as it came
Watching your shoulders
Swinging in symmetry
Your hair tightly drawn
Beneath the shade of straw
The hint of your breasts
As your torso bends to sway
To take us further on our journey
On our way to our hidden destination
Beyond the final bend in the river
Before it reaches out
To try to become the ocean
When the day ends
When tired sinews
No longer stretch
Relaxed in the bell like tones
Of evening.

But before we can retreat
To the purple night reaches
We must reconcile these fragile
Dreams of dark eyes saddened
By their grief.
Deafened by their silence
We must face our own eminent separation.

I wonder at the empty promises
Craven to the extent of blindness
Framed in a litany of alibis
A covenant of convenience
Hooded broken promises and lies
Devoid of hope
Devoid of meaning
Hollow in their extremity
Empty of conviction.
Without expectation
Black echoes of perpetual grief.

So as the sky begins to deepen
And we turn towards the west
Embracing familiar waters — safe harbour,
I reach out
To try
To open
To find some other door to hopes horizon.
With the faint background of gulls cries
Rolling across the muddy flats
The miasma from wild flowers
Tempting with their fragrant promise
As the tempo slows and we travel
Separate but together
Joined by the almost silence
Gliding towards the darkness
To a well earned rest.
By John Hall


Copyright – John Hall 13.10.04