Tell them I’m a delightful child of six
crushing wild flowers beneath my feet
when I run free through light forests,
staying carefully within the reach
of warm campfire-light
lest stealthy shadow monsters come prowling tonight.
Tell them I’m a red-haired girl on the swing
soaring and falling, now soaring again,
laughter that flies far in the wind;
I look for a patch of sunlight blue
to weave into my necklace of beads
made of silver sighs of stars.
Tell them I live in an alley
where it’s quiet and no one passes by,
my eyes are quick, my heart is numb,
and fear of broken glass and stones
keep me wide awake at night,
I beg a little, steal a little, and live a little more.
Tell them I’m a lover with plain daisies
‘neath the pleasing moon,
my fingers fumble with buttons pale
and the shy smile of wry humour,
her dark blush and dark eyes
that burn through my echoing heartbeat.
Tell them I live in books,
and all the faerytales they tell,
I live in worlds of many folk,
and people cunning, people kind,
their lives of wonder, love, and pride,
they live, and leave me quietly behind.
Tell them I am a bride in white
awaiting precious years ahead
perhaps a little drunk on joy
and when I walk the aisle today
and look up through my nervous dreams,
I wonder what the sky might say.
Tell them I’m a father, then,
proud and shy, awkward and sure,
reminiscing innocence and trust,
winter snowmen never made,
and sandcastles that thrived instead
in snow-less winds of boyhood days.
Tell them I am a soldier, young,
desperate to live some more,
beyond these rainless storms of blood,
bitter taste of iron cold,
broken bonds with broken lives,
and numb disgust, and fear of death.
Tell them, then that I am old,
not graceful old I dreamt to be,
plain old: bright pills and walking stick,
sidelined among dark crowds of folk
with long and reckless lives to live,
sad smiles from loving family.
Tell them I travel far and wide
o’er sands of ruth and equity,
through woodlands dark and meadows light;
and traveling softly through the night,
I learnt to leave behind what’s dear
and walk bare of warmth and dignity.
Tell them that I am all they see
when they look into a mirror, and more,
I’m all that they fear, and dream to be,
all that they crave with hopeful heart;
when dark and sunlight fall apart,
they’ll find in stars quiet company,
Tell them, tell them that they are me.
T. E. Pyrus