If Joy is an Echo

July 31, 2010
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I’m sure I was happy once,
And a child too,
But if I was,
There is not much more to remind me so.
If memories are treasure,
I packed them in a box,
Long ago, and promised to open them,
I must have forgotten where they are.
There are still a few lying around,
So I remember rays of sunshine on playgrounds,
The cool drink of water under a fall tree,
Listening to music all day while it rained.
Happy was as everyday a word as any,
But I hadn’t noticed it leaving me slowly
Until now, as if I had scraped it off
Until I forgot what it looked like in the first place.
Once everything was magical to me,
I saw it in the eyes of other kids
Like me, shining upon my shining
Eyes upon theirs, two endless mirrors of wonder we all loved.
Silver claret bells were our bells of laughter then,
Though we knew nothing of the sort,
Just as we would forget by end of day, where we had been,
Whether in the trees, underwater, in a fort.
If only I call back to myself this time, now.
I would call up a boy as alien and far
As a creature of the lake, foggy and distant, offshore.
We could stare at each other across the glass, and nothing.
His cries of surprise would match my own,
Filled with wonder and confusion true,
Ever as the reverberations showed our voices
No longer the same, as estranged the same can be.
His song is a high-pitched call
The mysterious quiet siren only present
In the ethereal such that the old no longer
Recognize as reality, but confine to such as we.
Tones of joy bring back the quiet shadows
Of trees so green, sitting quietly in their
Forests and fields, watching maternally over
You, young master and young ward.
Bring back the stormy days of fearless
Elves, of never-seen druids playing to you from
The wild, where certain creatures go,
A fearless day, raining on you and perilous joy.
Exuberant is his song, of such that raises
Bristles and hair, calls to the joy of friends
While scattering made-up foes back to their
Holes, windowless in the dark evil deep.
He finished his past-time song,
And I was glad, recalling the pride and joy
It is to be a young, unbridled flame,
How there was nothing better in the world than to be a boy.
He peered at me then, tilted his head to wait
For the second part of song, but there was nothing
To sing, nothing to be proud of.
I had grown, but done nothing great.
My song is tame, my physique now worn,
Pride is gone, courage has fallen quiet.
I wept at this, at promises left, at oaths once sworn,
My youth had been clever and lively; I left it nothing.
I waited in a stupor, stupefied and stupid,
Adjacent a pond, a drop of water, with only
Fear. I’m not sure what was on my face,
But it mattered not: my silence sufficed.
He left me by that lake staring into the gray.
I’m sure he was disappointed if not confused;
Where was his beloved future, now king of kings?
I left that lake for a while yet.
I did not leave it blank, for now feeling had returned,
I did not leave it cold, for now there was anger undeterred,
I left that lake nonetheless.
I spent that day climbing a mountain,
Pondering the beautiful mystery of childhood,
And how captive it holds us all.
A willing stone I’d been, and even now, more willing so.
A powerful sweat I worked myself into that day,
Passing grass among grass after each and every
Mighty stone: Pain shook my strength, but
Only of the body, and angered my mind yet.
Perhaps the sun as I reached the top was
Too reminiscent, perhaps the elegant and familiar wind’s whisper
Brought me back, perhaps I knew that losing my past
Was my greatest mistake. I stared there awhile,
Sun, wind, and the lake below, and I vowed
To return and sing back one day, after I had
Done something to make him proud, to live and enjoy
Without restraint, this time one I would not break.

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