V. ASHES IN THE WIND

How long has it been since I held you,
Or put my head upon your shoulder
With a sigh of contentment on my lips?

How long has it been since you held my hand
And pulled me close in a lovers’ sweet embrace?

How long ago it seems my hand ran through
Your golden, sun-drenched hair
That fell like freshly mown grass
And waited to be ruffled once again.

How very long ago it seems
The sunlight danced upon my cheek
And mischief twinkled
In your bright, blue eyes,
When life was good
And hope abounded in our souls.

So treasure I those memories
That light this hallway
Filled with grief, and pain,
And cold, forsaken nights
Whose darkness threatens
To engulf my very soul
And whose loneliness
Rolls like thunder
Through the dead of night.

So many months
I’ve lain bereft,
The awful knowledge
Of your eternal rest
Still falls across my heart
Like angry lashes,
Weeping, burning, . . .
Leaving scars invisible
To the naked eye,
But mortal, nonetheless.

I would hold you in my mind
Yet once again, though life calls out,
Beckoning me to join the living,
To let go of what once was,
Leaving you to days gone by.

Survival marches onward;
The fleeting protests formed
Upon my lips remain unsaid,
While others take me firmly by the hand
And drag my angry, sobbing shell
Into the breaking dawn.

Oh! How bitter!
How bitter that betrayal
Which stings my heart
And brings the hated realisation
That I must follow them, or join you,
Crawling early into my cold, dark grave!

The clarion call which drew me
To your gentle, gallant breast
Grows dim with passing time
And, fading with the setting sun,
Our sweet love lies moldering,
Shriveling in the dusk.

There, crumbled on the ground,
It gently rises with the breeze,
Hovers for a moment, then flies away
Like ashes in the wind.

– J. E. Clark / 13 November 2010

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