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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Breath You Give

I am mindful we are nothing
of a time or place;
merely feelings that remember
the smell and colour of things,
of how the heels of our feet
were rough to the touch,

like the bark of the trees
that stared dispassionately,
and shook their leafy heads at us -
as though they had seen
it all before;

and they have of course,
these wise kens of antiquity,
that were made far beyond
the stars that find us dreaming;
at once distant sparks
that ignite our wishes,

that unite us physically
and psychologically
with their detached candour,
warming the abyss of coming night

where shadows of a sundial loom
over the trees and this city
of infinite variety,
and thoughts are the language
of freedom bathed in sodium light,

such are the moments that shine
on the verge of sleeping,
to warm us a little,
with words which tiptoe
out of emptying minds,

stripped down bare
to meet like lovers
touching bellies
across the humming air;
where we lay unified
in the midst of a hundred hands,

and we breathed into each other
not knowing what to think,
but thought all the same
of how tomorrow would stand,
of when the time came
if our courage would go
like a child who deserts a father,

but they don't tell you
that at the heart of uncertainty
hope is a beating ecstasy,
and they won't tell you either
that life dirties nature,

how you need to get the dirt
in between your toes
before you get to anything
that grows; that freedom
is like the growing grass
that works to cover all over,

and it will stink if you poison it,
and this they won't tell you, too,
how your knees are birds that buckle
and fall like stones, as the smoke snakes
around your lungs and freedom dies:

or the tiny children that will bury us -
tiny tears over tiny hands as they cry:
of how we had wished starry-eyed
to give them this world
better than one that lies;

instead we grabbed at hope
like the last piece of bread;
instead our children will bury their birds
and mourn for our words
as though we were dead;

but nature is for unifying;
this they won't tell you,
how we must defend the life all live -
for though they say freedom
is the breath you take,
really it's the breath you give.

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