David Lewis Paget
One Step On - Poem by David Lewis Paget
I can see the pit of darkness stretched
Before my hapless eyes
And another week should see me in its fold,
For my steps have long been faster
At the brink of my disaster
When the master plan refuses to be told.
But from some deep, hidden augury,
Eternal stories spring,
And the loss of me may be some other’s gain,
If it weren’t for bitter memories
Dredged from the darkening rill
Of your being, I might even love again.
I remember how the forays first
Were thwarted at the pass,
Where your armies dug in tight around your eyes,
How my heavy armour failed me
And your cynicism railed,
But a flower brought the first of your replies.
And from some embattled ridge
I first saw the silver bridge
Of your smile, though it settled not on me.
Till my squad of engineers, filled your
Eyes and mouth and ears,
With the sight and taste and sound of certainty.
And a frontal, forced attack, sent you
Reeling, wheeling back,
With my armour at the gates of your defence,
So I strutted through the posterns of
Your dilettantish mind,
And the masque of each and every sad pretence.
But my victory was over long
Before I lost the war
In the clinging mire of Flander’s muddy gown,
And I tried to pull my army back
From Dunkirk’s smooth and silken rack,
But floundered in the rigour of your frown.
My armies have been scattered and
I’m chained at the abyss
Of your tempers, and the emptiness of mine,
Though your love is all consuming at
The height of your desire,
Your frantic freedoms warn you to decline.
I'm afraid of hidden mists and things
Unknown that may persist
When in the future gloom I’m cast without a light,
For my army has been battered, beaten,
Broken up and scattered, leaving
No intrigues to see me through the night.
In the furnace of your brain my
Burning image will remain,
Despite your search to quench your mad desire,
Though I’m lost to all I knew, I’ll be
Better off than you,
For darkness burns a cooler flame than fire.
25 February 1975
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