A group of writers in Chichester coming together once a month for inspiration, collaboration and sensation

A Fallen Face

The moon was full when I awoke
And in the air a smell of smoke
That made me think of winter’s cold
In days before I grew so old

And though I woke, the parting dream
Remained, in part, to make it seem
As if that other, younger me
Might still be there, and so to see

I rose and tiptoed to the glass
To light a lantern clothed in brass
That shone out brightly to the night
Reflecting back a ghastly sight

For there, suspended in the pane
I glimpsed a monster: mad, insane
Cast out beyond the human race
The apparition had no face

Instead a bloody mass was there
No flesh, nor even bone to bear
A witness to my sorry life
Looked back to reconcile my strife

The only part to recognize
With no mistake: they were my eyes
Two bright coals of burning red
Suspended in the sunken head

Just then, far out beyond the dark
The baying of an animal’s bark
Came mockingly, as if it knew
As if to say ‘this thing is you’

Could it be so? I darkly thought.
What demon has to this point brought
My sorry soul; for what dark crime
Must I be cast from space and time?

For which dark deed was I betrayed
When judgment could have been delayed
But no, my wickedness was so grave
That I’m beyond a chance to save

‘This thing is you’ it mocks again
I cannot look away, and then
I cannot bear to see it more
And cast my eyes upon the floor

And there, discarded on the ground
With moving mouth that makes no sound
I’m overjoyed to find the place
Where dwells my normal, human face

It looks up pleading from below
“Choose me, choose me” it seems to go
It looks so old and frail and weak
And yet, so human and so meek

I fear to look upon the ghoul:
My younger self, when I was cruel
And full of a wicked, burning life
Set to wreak havoc, pain and strife

Upon the world, as I had done.
No more of this: my sin is run!
I choose the better man and so
Return to the world the man I know

Alone, in bed, reflecting back
I remember how they called me Jack
The Ripper in those far off days
– It’s true: I had some devilish ways

I shudder with the memory
Cast off so long, but now I see
The monster that I was before
Old age becalmed my youthful roar

The dream has faded with the morn
Bright morning light comes with the dawn
There’s just one more thing I must say:
Don’t eat cheese at close of day.


About Peronius

An ape, clinging to a ball of rock, lost in a void, trying to smile.

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This entry was posted on July 19, 2012 by in Poetry.
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