Joseph Harrison

(United States / Virginia)

All That's Left

Will someone tell me, please,
Who carved these trees
With someone else's name?
These woods won't be the same,
For I thought, all along,
Mine was the only signature among
These pale textures of bark
Rising out of the dark
Underworld of the forest floor.
But who was here before?
Who chiseled each new line
On everything I thought was mine,
Initialling all these
Purely imaginary trees
Deep in the forest of my mind?
No Orlando, mad for Rosalind:
These cuttings, even when crude,
Speak only out of solitude,
The signs of a single heart
That gave its love to art
And wore that on its sleeve,
Having come to believe
It was the necessary sacrifice,
And paid the price.
If someone else could see
These careful lines, would he,
Underneath their curlicue and flair,
Hear the real pathos there,
The note of the ultimate cost
When feeling itself is lost
And all that's left is the mark
Of absence against the dark?

Submitted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Edited: Thursday, April 10, 2014

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