Where footsteps once fell, proud and sure,
and met solid pavement with unwavering courage,
now there creeps, under guise of night
a pall, a weary and whimsical word of doubt.
The core of dreams once held aloft to sun-drenched hope
now hide, tucked in folds of fabric and crevice of stone.
Shiver and should, wither and would, careless and could;
the words of humbled discontent and self-abasement
foretell a morning not here, but night so stubborn.
Were it not for the taste of dust
one might mistake white for black, black for naught.
Sharp the shame of whispered this and promised that
when time stood still to salute my place.
Go, for now is not the time for talk or even willful gestures
betokening peace or grace or surety.
Let me drink from the bitter pond if only
to remember the taste of freedom.
Look away, don’t pretend that this one knows
or feels or sees as one should.
No, pray to the silent god, forgotten shadow of something greater.
But for all this, I can see someone lurking,
waiting, longing…for what, I do not know.
So then, here I will sit and wait for this well-known stranger
to, once again,
Robert Alan Rife, June 21, 2012