Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Poem: Passageway


Light filters through that old Victorian glass,
throwing colour on a worn brown rug. The hall
was always difficult to pass

cluttered with bikes, slippery with advertising mail,
unclaimed letters, and scattered boots.
Better to be out.

Boy back from school, quick hug for Mum
wrestle with the bike, then off out into the sun
to play with friends.

Past generations did the same, passed through
the old front door, with its chipped green paint, loose in the summer
sticking in the wet.

The hall contains it, all of it; anger and tears,
laughter and hate: the hesitation of one
that fears to go outside,

the slam of anger as a child is growing up
or as a marriage slowly falls apart;
has known it all,

the hall still stands, a hard shell for this tender, suffering folk
to live in all their lives. Live out their lives.
Way back, on the bed upstairs
a child was born,
through the soft red painful passageway, insistent pressure
squeezing him, yelling, into bright light from the window
slippery and wet

to grow, and learn, and live his work
come back fatigued, or grim, or satisfied
by turns

back to his own front door, unlock, step into the dark
warm passageway, park his bike
and call out, echoed by his wife.

He learned, in long slow ways, how to love life
and those he met, and shared his life
learned to be happy and be old

until at last, feet first, brittle, dry and stiff
his long, light box was shuffled down the hall
While he went, soaring, out into the Light.

(c) Richard Lawson

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