tagNon-Erotic PoetryIntimations of Mortality

Intimations of Mortality

bydemure101©

Half-way in, the trees
thicken into silence, far
beyond the open spaces where
the bees tumble into
the foxgloves, and the realms
of half-light under the thin
crowns of birch and bird-cherry.
Here, there's no more the drone
of busy insects or the still
warmth that lies pleasant
on the tufted grass and the pale
sand of the narrow path
trembling in the sun's
zenith rays. Here are
the deep dusk of infinity and
the faint chill of misgivings
and growing up; here
the forest floor muffles
most sounds. One day
there was the creak of
thick new leather and the
rustle of stiff, starched white
linen. A face, radiant and
proud, made its cocksure way
into the depth of the afternoon,
self-sufficient, young, along
the needle-covered path
amidst dark pines right up to
the pool in the middle. No birds
come to drink there and the squirrels'
instincts make them avoid
its mossy banks. But Narcissus
walked straight to its edge and
bent over to admire his reflection,
his perfect symmetry, his poise,
insensitive to anything but
his own excellence. Gripped
by a sudden impulse he knelt down
and graciously kissed
his own image; the dark,
unsympathetic water went dull
with being touched. Ring
within ring fanned out across
its surface – the centre went
clear again first and his
reflection returned – but now
he beheld his other self:
tired, unhappy, balding, grey...
Suddenly aware of
the world's transience,
wavering, doubtful,
bereft of his self-esteem,
he picked up a rough stick and –
no longer quite young –
slowly shambled away.

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