Shifting the epicentre of a life
consumes it whole,
requires its years,
its growing points,
And even then
tectonic plates will not shift far,
a childhood will not slide away
as stage sets do when plays move on,
but makes of life a one-act play,
its whole world rooted in a single scene.
Trees - apple, plum and elderberry -
were the watchtowers of our world.
Beyond the fence, the wilderness;
behind each rock a shadow or an unknown shape
would move or lie in wait.
The trees out there were postlapsarian:
one struck by lightning,
another by the blight;
one poisoned at the root;
and one, we thought, the haunt of ghosts -
one, certainly, of rats.
Within was Eden, still intact
despite the plague.
A passer-by was stranger, threat or friend -
and sometimes fraud - and only we,
who knew the shades of difference,
could tell. Out there life opened up,
though now it closes it. The way it was -
the lies it taught
of life, death, God,
life after death,
what we become,
the life of tombs
and catacombs - becomes
the great taboo.
forgotten as an unmarked grave,
it is the shadow that we cast on death.
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