Terence George Craddock (Spectral Images and Images Of Light)
State Of 20th Century Man* - Poem by Terence George Craddock (Spectral Images and Images Of Light)
He walks alone, come life, come death.
Who really sees him, who really cares?
Here stands a young man, see his clothes,
just tattered rags, long greasy hair,
jeans and T-shirt people stare.
A disdaining glance, then look away,
another juvenile delinquent,
the arrogant seem to say.
With scorn-filled eyes they silently stare,
as if a cockroach dared crawl,
beneath their chair.
They have already given
to a charity appeal this year.
Unspoken questions hang in the air.
His head is bent before the cold,
all spirit’s left him, his eyes are old.
Celebrations abound, a warm Christmas day,
but for the poverty-striken poor, another hungry day.
The Christmas Spirit, barely remembered now
a gluttonous feast, chicken, wine.
Who cares for the precepts of another time?
A man’s life hangs in ruins, clinging threads,
he needs a friend to lean on, a place to rest.
If he were in trouble and he lived here
would you stop, would you care?
Would you pause for just one second, if but to stare?
A few would like to help,
least that’s what they say.
Don’t get involved,
it’s not your problem, people bay,
it’s one’s fault, that’s life today!
Ego trippers sometimes help,
but their money’s just paper
and words are cheap.
Who will give their heart,
and their love,
that he may keep?
On One Tree Hill he gathers rope,
the hangman’s knot;
he pulls tight against his throat.
His mind is calm, without hope.
But what does
conscience dictate now?
A release from utter torment,
plagued by wild dreams,
recollections from childhood,
a mental battle with death unseen.
A decaying mind, wasted hopeless,
His eyes look into the blinding sun,
contemplating what only a few would dare;
death’s stark face he welcomes,
an escape from this life he couldn’t bear.
Did Jesus love him? Does it matter now?
Suicide’s a sin. There may be no Resurrection. For him now.
But did that hurt him, did the thought bring pain?
Where was God when he needed him?
For him, God was never there?
And is hell so bad, just look around,
at what’s been happening on our world down here.
Upon the Hill, a stiff breeze plays with a tuft of hair.
While the body swings, like a pendulum;
marking time like an hour-glass in suspended air.
A man out walking his dog,
an hour before twelve.
The silence is unchained,
robustly problem free.
He glances up,
and is overcome with shook,
he descends the hill.
His mind entrapped
within whiling clouds.
To make a call, numb with fear.
Half an hour later three cops arrive,
climb out of their police car,
yawn and stretch.
Then slowly climb the hill,
no hurry really,
time’s now meaningless.
They round a bend and there it hangs
face, the pale sickly white
of blood drawn skin.
‘Christ, jeans and T-shirt; no bloody I.D. I’ll bet.’
‘Do we cut him down? ’
‘No, better leave it for the homicide boys I guess.’
Mere inches from his swinging feet they stand.
The conversational chatter now clearly audible.
Not really callous, just hardened from accidents;
twisting Bloody Wrecks and worse they’ve seen.
What if a Child should stumble
across that ghastly sight?
You have no right to Judge,
You who saw him, yet didn’t Care!
Upon the hill they gaze out at the city,
a gentle hum from the valley below.
Copyright © Terence George Craddock
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