Tuesday, July 25, 2017

End of the Long Race

An icy smile lingers over long
On a public mask much overused...
The mad flood of sadness, barely restrained,
Has slipped the straining bonds
And stains the light of each day.

Fingers are but fists, uncurled,
That grasp with desperation
For small golden coins,
The treasure of pleasure and joy -
Locked just beyond finger tips -
Glowing with unreachable peace.

Empty eyes seek past solitude to touch
The softly graceful regard of a friend,
But slide beyond to grey shadow -
The clammy muffler that smothers passion,
Denying the call
To the tiny flame
That pushes at the midnight growing inside.

A restless mind that knows no rest,
Rages in cages of velvet steel,
To stop the crawling hoards of tiny feet -
Walking invisible, unreachable,
Unfortunate epidermal paths.

Spent and shivering, cramping legs march on,
To nowhere at all, dancing to heart music unheard -
Tapping a tune on a path to desolation,
Leading only deeper inside, on a one way plunge
Into a labyrinthine abyssal.

Voices hover beyond hearing, a wall of noise,
Mountains of sound shadows casting darkness
Over all the mind surveys.
A froth of mirthless laughter bursts forth,
From bloodless lips that have never known
The warmth of true humor,
The wine of sweet song,
The wonder of a loving kiss...

Slowly, the dark tunnel pulls the mind
Down to mountain roots of cold fire pain.
The crushing weight,
Of massed self-hate,
Grinds the last whimper of warmth
From a mind gone too far along
The path to the winter and the death of the soul.

With a gasp and a last flicker of regret,
Ends the Long Race.

Mick McKellar
July 2017

This was written in September 2003, in the middle of the night, upon awakening from a horrendous dream. Just exactly why I dreamed about how a person could die from depression alone, I don't know or don't remember. I think this may well be the darkest poem I ever wrote. I have not rewritten it or edited very much. I no longer fear the specter of death as I did in September 2003.


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