By DAVID HAY.
Dylan Thomas Blues
THE WORM REIGNS in the silence of the heart,
Divested of light and song,
It moves with shadowed precision
Through the many sunken corridors
Of that fragile self,
Beneath all this veneer
Of personality and cruelty.
The end contains
The genesis of the start,
And measurable time
Those seconds that made
Up your father’s death face
And that nearly lost first
Fingered touch of your first love’s
That’s where the true silence,
Which holds the weight of eternity lies,
And our broken cries of everyday living
Hit their final everlasting note
That resounded in your mother’s emptiness,
Before your first breath
Fruitlessly rebelled against the absurdity
Of the voiceless universe
That trapped god’s kingdom
In an hourglass.
A GRAVEYARD TREE commands the centre. Its roots form roads to each inhabitant, sinking voicelessly into brown depths. Worms commute from one corpse to another – aggrieved at the peak-morning traffic. If their mouths weren’t full of history they would laugh, laugh with their prosperity and our idle suffering. The worm is nature’s painter; it brings life’s essence to the surface. It knows death intimately. It seeks no retribution for its daily urges. Graceful below – ungainly above. Its body is being slowly trapped by light. This is just ludicrous, I tell one of two graves I’ve come to visit. Madness must be birthed from death’s sight.
My tears can’t stain. Not since I was a boy in my oversized blue school jumper, and my grey pants and grey look have a walked on a land still inhabited by your touch. I have lived longer now than I ever knew you. Your voices are lost in the sharp darkness of puberty — those cruel years of useless angst I survived with a well-rehearsed yawn and Kurt Cobain’s broken-glass scream, thinking constantly of death. Romantic. Terrifying. I struggle to recall your face, never mind your words. Specifics are annihilated. I have only my generalised despair – the kind that shadows your steps through the office door and doesn’t leave until your fourth pint.
My mother, alone, with her stagnant memories, stares through the branches of the graveyard tree to the dull Sunday sky. Loving wife. Cherished father. Nothing. An embrace weighs her to the earth. There is no chance of reversal. Love outlasts the flesh. And we are all alone, near one another, wanting to leave. Desperate. Mortal. Waiting for her to speak her tender words to the air. Waiting for my father to hold her and usher her to the car. Waiting for the silence of the journey, watching strangers fulfil their daily tasks until the radio is turned on and well-worn tracks from the ’70s make everything seem stale. Waiting for the cup of tea and the shared half-smile of grief. Waiting, waiting for their impossible return.
David Hay is the pseudonym of David Rudin, an English Teacher in the Northwest of England. He has written poetry and prose since the age of 18 when he discovered Virginia Woolf’s The Waves and the poetry of John Keats. His work has recently been published by Acumen and in The Dawntreader.