The Guest from the Past

This place in my memory

Never was as I see it;

The words I hear echoing

Were by Time paraphrased;

/

The nostalgia I feel

Half-dreaming up, half-remembering

My past is but myself

Trying to make peace with me;

/

There were things that I treasured,

A few people, who loved me,

There was a house to call home

And a county – my own;

/

I’ve been running for years

From the routine some call happiness;

This nostalgia I feel

Is the gap between myself

/

And the one I once was

A Million Ways

I wish to know a million ways to hurt:

With fist and sword,

With smile, with thought and word,

So from a million ways to hurt

I could protect you,

Who lives at war with the world

Your own mind has created;

/

I’ll learn my arts

From pretend saints and their demons,

From those, who buy what can’t be bought,

Who, to sell water, cause a draught,

From those, who drench their lands in blood

As if to please not their confused hearts

But a god;

/

I’ll sprout a million hands

And place in each a weapon;

I’ll grow a million heads

And poison each with ignorance;

I’ll stand on a million legs so strong,

With each my step the Earth will shake,

And I will fight, deceive and dance

Until but dust – and you – remain;

/

I wished to know a million ways to hurt,

So I could give you this clean sheet

To paint a world,

Where there’s no need for pain or fear,

Or monsters of forgotten pasts;

Where none finds joy in harming or in suffering;

Where there’s no place for me, at last

The Firebird

Along the road between past and future

If you glimpsed me run, could you tell

Whether I was still pushing forward

Or retreating under the blows of pain?

/

If you witnessed me freeze and bend double,

Burying my face in shaking hands,

Would you think I laughed at a joke’s echo

Or wept suddenly over a secret hurt?

/

With my feet in the air and arms outstretched,

If you saw how I leaped off the edge,

Would you choose to imagine me soaring,

Or, acknowledging gravity, falling to death?

/

You can’t know – our paths crossed for but a blurred moment;

Just believe I ran forward and joyfully laughed;

That when I came to the edge of the world and stepped off it,

I turned into a firebird