A poem by Laura E Brown
As I stared over the ramparts, I knew that the fall was a long way down.
The drop was dizzying, and every time I contemplated it, I wanted to be sick.
For the longest part of the climb up the marble staircase towards the castle
I'd simply refused to look down.
For the longest time, I climbed, only staring at the highest tower.
The light was blinding at times,
Blinding me to the unstable rock beneath us.
I knew it was there, just like the potential plummet.
One slip would send me to the earth,
And one tremor would send us both together.
But our climb was not one of naivety.
Our climb was together, hand in hand.
This was our castle
High in the clouds, our destiny.
The steps grew steeper, more cracked.
The far tower seemed further away still,
And yet we fought.
Holding each other up, helping each other through our exhaustion,
We broke through the pale clouds.
What I saw broke my heart.
The tower was not steady-
It was one lightening strike away from collapse.
We could not stay here.
This was not our castle after all.
I didn't allow the sun to blind me any longer- I just couldn't.
If we fell, it would destroy us both.
The castle couldn't hold us both.
But off in the distance, beaming in the lilac sunset, I sighted it-
A new hope, a new tower,
Climbing above golden tinged clouds
Struggling into life.
I pointed, and smiled, and said, there it is
That can be our castle.
We can't both stay here.
I tried to hold hope in my heart as I held his hand
I could feel the desperation in our pulses
He couldn't go.
I couldn't stay.
The bloody light of dusk made his tears shine gold
And then to red as they fell
We were both bleeding, as, after a long time,
I turned to walk away.
I tore open on the first step.
I didn't want to go
But I had to.
Darkness fell, and it was a long way down,
And eyes blurred by tears and pain
Cannot see the broken steps of the staircase into the heavens.
It wouldn't be long before I would stumble and fall, crashing into stone as I fell
Ripped on jagged stone and battered on cliffs.
I fancied I could hear him cry as I dropped, powerless to help me
I lay on sharp stone, hanging over an unfathomable precipice
And I cried to my spirits, begged them not to leave me alone here.
Was this how my courage had rewarded me? With broken bones and a broken heart?
I was not alone.
I never had been.
They came from star and moonlight, and helped me down over the ledge, back onto the stairway.
They cared not that I bloodied or dirtied them on the way,
They supported my shell, and eased my hurts.
They took the shapes of a flock of birds, a pack of wolves, a swirl of autumn leaves
They were hope.
I could barely stand at times, but somehow we managed back onto the path.
They took a great amount of my burden
I feared their silvered feathers and plumes would taint at my touch.
We all walked arm in arm,
And little by little, the worst of the pain began to fade.
I let myself down.
After dark days of rain and burning, I learned to walk again.
I was cracked and spider-webbed like glass, fragile, but in one piece.
I followed my silver friends- they were a rainbow in sunlight!-
But no longer needed them to hold me up, or so I thought.
I stumbled from time to time, but it wasn't too bad. The fall didn't seem so bad from here.
Until I did the most foolish of things.
I looked back.
This time I fell too fast for them to catch me.
The precipice turned black and engulfed me as I slipped into it
I let out my silent scream and it tore across my skin in a howl of anguish
The cracks in my heart and soul reopened, and after what wasn't all that long of a fall
I hit the ground.
But it was not the end.
I awoke to a soft white mist, a gentle silence and a song of comfort,
My silver friends were there.
It was agony as I tried to move, and they stood about me in a circle.
And I stood.
A long time has passed, since we walked into the mist.
I no longer know where the castle, atop its tower of treacherous stairs, lies,
I lost my bearings, and in its place found a strange sense of peace.
I didn't need to care where I was going or where I had been
For I no longer knew.
And I wasn't alone.
I walked with the silver ones, turning into spectrum when the light gently pierced the mist
This was not a time for direction.
But a time for healing.
My back is straight,
My legs are strong
Blood runs in the right place, and I can walk for days.
But a numbness still covers me...
I found feeling again.
It seared through me, like holy fire, burning the taint and awakening me
Sometimes pain is cleansing, even if it burns and brings tears to your tired eyes.
I clutch onto precious stones and hope they will fix me.
The mist thins, and an empty horizon begins to emerge.
I awake to a grey dawn, and no shroud over the sky, and I dare to look at my scars.
I am cracked like volcanic glass
White patterns etch my skin, marring the smoothness.
Snowflakes and wishes, and heartbreaks and dreams,
All traced upon my soul for anyone to see if they care to look hard enough.
In this special light, I see the light caress the silver ones with me, and see that they are the same.
They wear their marks and tattoos, as badges, as stories, as maps
As tapestries and guides.
They are all so beautiful.
I am broken, but I am not destroyed.
I see the marks and see they are where I knit back together
I touch them and they are strong.
I feel a swelling within me, and realise my heart beats again.
I still hurt, but I am not ended.
The first of my feathers are growing.
I am free.
I am scared.
But I am free.
We stand and turn to the pale light,
Full of promise and possibilities
More darkness lies ahead, but we are strong together
And more light lies in wait, if we can battle our way there first.
They take my hands, and for the first time I realise that I can feel their skin.
I can feel once more.
Before we set off, another crack peeks open,
As I think of him in his tower.
His shape remains in my heart, and there is an emptiness in his image there.
I hope he is safe and happy, for I cannot fly up there yet, like the others.
We walk to the moon,
And in the distance, I think I see a new tower.
27th October 2013
Image of Carina Nebula from Wikipedia
Image is not mine
"Start Again", poem written by myself, Laura E Brown