Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Different degrees of madness
divide us: you from me,
him from her from them.
Each has his own losses.

Each heart's an empty bird's nest,
broken, trampled where
it fell. How will we seek
the life that might have filled it?

Only in the lies
and the truth that lies
between the lies; only
in stories of our madness

are the discarded shells
of dreams once hatched and flown.
Do they nest again,
somewhere, those birds of loss?

Only the degrees
that divide us know
their song. Listen for it;
listen in the forests.

Listen in the dawn
and remember. You've heard it
before, heard its echo
in your empty places.

Listen and know they've flown
beyond your reach. Different
degrees of madness divide us.
Each has his own losses.

Stephen Brooke ©2009

I must admit that the 'nest' metaphor here came from the short stories of Maeve Brennan that I've been reading lately -- a book of her rather melancholy tales set in Dublin (The Springs of Affection). And I suspect that the entire feel of the poem owes to the same source.

The poem may not be much but the stories are good. Brennan was an excellent and concise stylist, something that I tend to appreciate. I do detest (well, maybe that's too strong a word) the long-winded authors popular today. The stories are gems of insight into the inner worlds of the characters, who manage to be both sympathetic and off-putting at once. Much like real people in the real world.

I'm not writing a whole lot lately, nor doing much of anything other than attending to my chores and duties here. My apologies to friends that I am neglecting -- I'll probably continue to do so.

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