Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Family Tree

Roots gnarled, pokes sharp
through black soil.
Trunk slants to one side
in a weary lean of surrender.
The branches,
they don't sit so well;
through moonlight their shadows crawl
up my wall in a crooked twist
and weave; so close,
and yet the distance
of sticks and stems
is a whispered breath,
a wandered mile.

Bark weathered, chipped,
its face of worn whorls, crack
like the desert floor.
I set them free,
these handfuls of dust,
through limp fingers
and the storm carries them away, far,
in a frightful gust of wind.
My eyes sting.
Splinters of past wound me
and I bleed my Grandmother's tears
and the hundred years
of growth rots
at garden's end.

We cut it down;
the rotten tree.
Branches burn to ash,
twig to dust.
By the warmth we wait,
the white singe
of smoke drifts away.
We do not stoke the embers.
We watch them glow orange red,
a slow fade to black
on dying breath.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Early Birds

This morning, I woke early. The birds were deep in conversation, perched on the leafless tree outside my bedroom window. The sky gently roared with a far-off flight.

It was the kind of early which I usually observe as being late. With insomnia, if I'm lucky, I rarely get to sleep before 5am. This morning I found myself surprised, confused, to be waking up the other side of it and without prompting, no less. It felt as if I'd opened someone else's mail without reading the name first. It's all too easily done, absent-mindedly, but once you realise, it feels a bit wrong.

The distant sun, hiding beneath the horizon, washed the sky with lilacs. There was an eerie stillness in that explicit moment - strange and serene - the realisation that no one in the houses around you could possibly be awake. And if they were awake, were they too padding around the kitchen floor barefoot, treading lightly on learned floorboards that did not creak, wishing the sound of the kettle boiling did not seem so loud?

Curtains open, the room flooded with a pastel light. The day was young and the air fresh to my stale lungs. I'd never seen so much potential in a cloudless sky, or a sun that broke orange through the trees at garden's end. I felt boundless and sprightly, as if my feet had springs.

As strange as it sounds, I was handed a gift. Of time. Though I lost more hours through sleep, they were given back. Hours usually spent bemoaning my lack of sleep - my grumpiness, the bruise-like tinge under my blood-shot eyes - these hours have been returned. The mindless thoughts are gone and in their place is the freedom to think as I please. I almost don't quite know what to do with myself. My limbs are alien and these can't possibly be my hands.

And so, as I embark on a day filled with possibilities, with a mind sharp and clear for the first time in months, I wonder. To go to bed as the sky turns black, sleep the night through and wake before the sun; is this what it feels like to be normal?

I wonder...