Obama And Cleopatra

Rating: 5.0

Saw you when I least expected to:
There in the front row of Obama’s election celebrations,
Your face full of exultation and expectation,
Cheering and waving
As the words that would be cited a trillion times tomorrow
Made their dramatic debut on the world’s stage
And wafted and weaved their well-crafted magics about you.

See you often.
Often when I’m least expecting you.
Sometimes only one sense gets the slightest scent of you,
Then you are gone, having never quite arrived,
Leaving me in a momentary flat spin
Wherein
Faint hope, hibernating in a four-or-more-year winter,
Metabolism slowed to the faintest fraction of its full force,
Is woken with a jump-start, lightening-jolt
Your name surging to my heart and catching in my throat,
Thumping against eardrums and ribcage,
Crashing against the walls of the daily absurd reality
In which you are...,
Yet are not,
My daughter.

Then, like the crowd in that Chicago park
That eventually took its leave,
You left,
And I was your empty stage,
Your forgotten flag underfoot,
The rapidly-receding echo
Of something once of singular significance:
Perhaps never to fade fully into the forgotten,
Yet never, ever, so visceral or vivid
As that moment ago, now gone.

Then, for me, came the slowing down,
The curling up,
The final furling of hope’s flag
And its ritual burial, but deeper this time
Than daily consciousness can divine.

Then welcome, like Cleopatra her serpent release,
The so-tired-of-it-all, steep descent into sleep.

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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Kevin Wells 12 November 2008

The more one reads this the more personal and poignant it becomes. I have read through it five times, each time more carefully and thoughtfully. Impressions? Profundity. Heartache. Desperate sadness albeit haloed with unrelenting optimism - like the silver around the cloud, on more than one level. The optimism engendered by Obama's appointment and the opportunity for change; The unrelenting optimism of a father shouldering - for the moment - the loathsome weight of unrequited reconcilition. Love will out, my friend. Love will out.

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Fay Slimm 07 November 2008

Parental longing yet again undervalued or underated, but so, so strong, it is a primeval need, and the reader's heart is deeply moved by these end lines, in which a 'Clepopatra moment' is desired..... but hope rings eternal and sleep can renew every dream..... the spirit of it all came through very loud and clear Tony. An unforgettable piece from the pen of a true wordsmith.

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