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Saturday 3 March 2012

Shadows of You

Imagine looking down into a river,
there watching the reflections change,
the shadows creeping round towards the evening,
the sun's rays skipping purl to purl.
You begin to feel the chill, but still you stay to watch.
The people on the other bank
are puckered and inverted in the flow,
the ponies in the field will jump no more today.
But now it's really cold and you should go.
Yet still you cannot tear yourself away,
must stay a bit to watch the surface cloud.
At first you think it's semen that's been spilt,
a milky gloss or glaze, uneven at the start,
but slowly thinning as it creeps and evens out.

The images are losing clarity,
you stare but cannot grasp what they're about,
they blur beneath the ice, the movement's frozen out
as surely as the images are frozen in.
You look down at yourself, immobilised,
serene. It's you, as if you had been drawn
on blotting pads. The shapes of you are neither
there nor not. The edges that define you are erased.
The river's memory is dimming as your own.
It's throwing out some hints on what's to come.


Elephant's Child said...

If I step away from my reflection in the river/puddle/mirror, do I cease to exist?

Dave King said...

The Elephant's Child
Damned good question, that. I shall consult my advisers.

The Weaver of Grass said...

This thoughtful poem made me think Dave. I know exactly what you mean by the image in the water and the way it distorts. Brilliant.

kaykuala said...

Forceful write, Dave! We get lots of inspiration looking at ever changing reflections. It pricks the mind into bigger things!


Tabor said...

Reflections are only partially true even in a clear mirror we are reversed. Interesting thought!

Mary said...

This is beautiful, Dave. Looking at reflections of natural scenes in a river or pond are beautiful; and it is mesmerizing to see oneself reflected...a part of the flow.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

This is truly wonderful Dave - how hypnotic reflections are and the dimming of us a sign of things to come(?)...

never thought of that!

Anna :o]

haricot said...

Your words are flowing like river water which is not frozen.

Kat Mortensen said...

This is an unbelievably good piece. This is one that will hold in my memory along with the scattered few that I retain over the years.

I shall never gaze into a river again without thinking of this. Your choice of the word "semen" is of course rather brave, but it leaves the image indelible. Which is rather ironic, if you think about it.

I was so envious of your use of "purl to purl". How wonderful! Of course, I can never steal it, as it is so singular as to ever be connected with you now.

I could be here a good long while if I were to dissect every intricately selected and effective phrase and word. I can only say this is a (superlatives don't do it justice) winner!

Oh, and the last line is (fists in the air now).


Ygraine said...

For me, this beautiful poem sums up the nature of awareness.
Is ANYTHING really as we perceive it?
Are our lives simply reflections of reality, rather than reality itself?
See how you've got my cogs whirring?
This is definitely 'food for thought'!

Brian Miller said...

is it me? or merely a reflection...and is what i see colored by my own perception...either way i should listen...but then discern....nice thought provoker man...

ds said...

Brilliant, sir. "the sun's rays skipping purl to purl." Lovely. And yes, the unexpected (yet perfect) "semen". This is one for the ages. Thank you so much for writing it.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dave, it's simply, purely mesmerising. I am working at school with the students on The Dead by Joyce: "We are all becomining shades"...you sound perfectly in that horizon. Not too mention one or two poems by Emily Dickinson you instantly remind me of and something about "shadows at noon" and a thousand powerful echoes of the best poems on this matter I have ever read. Thanks.

Windsmoke. said...

Distorted reflections are hypnotic and always amaze me by their constant change :-).

Rose said...

Beautifully written the images this poem created are infinitely frozen in my mind :D

Grace said...

This is beautiful Dave. I like the nuances and emotions of looking at one's reflections, specially the shapes of you are neither there or not.

Dave King said...

Thanks Everyone for your encouraging responses. I have been most gratified to get them as I had not really expected them for this post. It was good to hear the views on perception and the way things are hardly ever as we see them, which was what was uppermost in my mind when I wrote it.

My apologies for not replying individually to you all, but life is catching up with me again!