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The Distance In Between

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  • The Distance In Between

    She turns with shaking head, the sunlight low,
    Her eyes now his, so dark and still,
    And waiting as she waits he knows,
    Between them glow the embers of an unseen fire,
    He for his love, remembering what it meant to be desired,
    And still she burns against the man who didn't see her burning.
    She will not come, he has not learnt,
    And as he leaves, already yearning for her touch,
    With much unsaid, the empty bed and such,
    He smiles, her one last look returning all his needs.

    He drives till all that lies behind is lost in night,
    And sets up camp, this strange escape,
    So willingly astray in wilderness,
    The day well gone, without regret,
    And far away he thinks she lies and burns for him,
    Beneath such stars as he can see,
    So plentiful and pure, and yet outwith his roam.
    The monochromatic majesty of sky,
    As he forgets the distance home.

    The lamp is lit; he guards the flame,
    The same inside for her, though she would spurn his warmth.
    And with expressive breath, he turns upon the frozen lakeside earth to rest,
    The cosy tent his refuge from her cold and softly falling flakes,
    And as he feels the chill of her embrace,
    He folds the aching to himself of her distant world,
    Her face forever calling in the stillness of that place.

    This is the way to wilderness, the unfamiliar dawn,
    The waking of a different world to what was known before,
    But whilst the day grows strong, he has not missed its light.
    His foolish eyes are just as dull as when he left her sight.
    And though he shall recall the details of her gaze,
    Observing how she turned with eyes so dark and still,
    He's missing every meaning of her quiet gentle ways.
    And snared by thoughts of who he wills to be,
    He is the foolish hunter caught,
    Her hidden ardour calling him,
    Toward the all-consuming blaze.

    To sleepy eye he holds his gun, the optic clear and bright,
    And yet he cannot see the reason for her burning.
    Though nascent sunlight floods the woods,
    And all the seasoned land is turning gold before his sight,
    He's trapped beneath the shadow of the man he used to be,
    Beholding naught as morning light unfolds her majesty.

    The stove is cold, the coffee drunk,
    And in denial of things past
    He heaves another burden on his back.
    Then breaking camp, he steps beyond her call.
    The wilderness of all the ways he let her go.
    The tactless words, the folly of that stupid day.
    And still her gaze is there – that burning stare that left him cold.
    But turning, she had let him leave,
    And going without saying a goodbye.
    If only for this day, she weren't so far away,
    Accepting who he is and who they are.
    He does not know where he belongs,
    And all the longing for the land is missing.
    It is only for the killing that he has come so far.

    With every aching step he takes, his head bowed low,
    He does not know that she is there,
    Her nature vividly awake and clear,
    While he trudges in abstraction from the lake,
    The hurt and fear compacted in the snow,
    For who she is is all around,
    The capricious dancing flakes,
    And the strangeness of the ice floe's frozen wake.

    And yet she leads him on, the playful stream her form,
    Its soothing sound to guide his boundless walk.
    He follows close her secret way, now hiding under ice,
    Or dark and still behind the mossy rocks.
    Despite his bitter heart, she's just as cruel as him,
    The cold of morning biting every part that's bare.
    And he deserves her mocking,
    The wilderness is found within and he's the only hunter stalking there.

    And willingly he lets her tease him,
    As through the woods her secret places are revealed,
    Curve after curve, her falling and her rising,
    Surprising him with ease,
    Hers is the passage through the bleak and barren trees,
    Following the frozen trail,
    Until, at last, the moment of the kill.

    He slows his breath. The footsteps cease.
    And in a flash, as sunlight bursts within the ice,
    Anticipation is released and turns to velvet splendour,
    Ethereal among the slender shadows stands his adoration
    Monarch, mistress, queen.
    She has become the deer, the hart's pursuit,
    Calling his surrender with greater actuality than he has ever known.
    And by the drumming of her breast,
    The rifle rises slowly, lifted by the breeze.
    And once again his eye aligns along its tempered length,
    As he feels the earnest strength of steel.

    And there she is, so lissom in the gentle air,
    The world condensed within the sparkle of the dew,
    For nothing else has purpose there.
    Her shadow on the mountain water, clear and true.
    Svelte and softly tan amidst the grass, she stands
    With fleeting recognition and remembrance of the past.
    Turning her head, the sunlight low,
    And looks to him at last.

    Her artful eyes for him alone, so dark and still,
    And only now he sees what she has always seen,
    That love is in the distance in between.
    And letting slip his murderous intent,
    The rifle falls, the moment spent.
    And waiting as she waits, he feels the gulf,
    The stolen glance, the dream, her call.
    And knowing without seeing,
    Sharing nothing more than time,
    The open heart, the hidden thought,
    And all the different themes of life in all its prime.
    If love is all these things,
    Impressions of the distant day,
    The silent hour, the word unsaid,
    The nearness of a thing that's far away,
    Then better is the emptiness fulfilled, the simple wish, the touch, the feel,
    And all that once seemed lost made real.
    And so he turns to take the first step back,
    The camp is far along the trail.
    And when the flame is snuffed,
    And nature turns to black,
    The zodiac alone is left to tell its tale.

    Now hushed within this dormant land,
    Beneath the mountain's dreamless mass,
    He falls asleep at last, below the constellations,
    Reposed whilst all around the winter's hands hold fast,
    Suspending all in icy expectations,
    Till all of the creation's star filled contemplations rest.

    And as he sleeps, from all the stars the filaments of frost descend,
    To weave their countless spider seams,
    The etching of the nocturne hours,
    In crystal tears and lonely dreams.
    It is the fragile kiss of passing night,
    Till eastward dawns the virgin light,
    In tender rising rays, restoring all that night once knew.
    The man is hers once more,
    Remembering she who knows him too.

    With duty to the given day, he rises from his dream,
    To see in brighter sun what new things have been born.
    Such painful beauty fashioned white,
    And pure beneath her canopy,
    A panoply of passion that delights the mountain and the stream.
    And he will bring these home to her,
    No more to roam.

    Last edited by Neil Thomas Fellows; 12-06-2018, 11:06 AM.

  • #2
    Wow! And I thought my poems were long! Lol! Wonderful love poem! Very romantic with flushes of hope and sadness! Well done Neil Thomas Fellows! I especially like the penultimate stanza:

    And as he sleeps, from all the stars the filaments of frost descend,
    To weave their countless spider seams,
    The etching of the nocturne hours,
    In crystal tears and lonely dreams.
    It is the fragile kiss of passing night,
    Till eastward dawns the virgin light,
    In tender rising rays, restoring all that night once knew.
    The man is hers once more,
    Remembering she who knows him too.


    • Neil Thomas Fellows
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for that, sir. I was afraid I had written some turgid melodrama. Anyway, I'd rather read your cheery Christmas poem any day! You inspire me to try something more uplifting.

  • #3
    Mother Nature's soulmate sure
    to blast away with a forty-four

    But turning, she let had him leave

    Is the transposition intentional?


    • Neil Thomas Fellows
      Editing a comment
      Bless you sir for spotting my error. I don't know how many times I must have read that, never to have noticed. I shall correct it at once. I am in your debt. (Nature is a terrible thing and needs shot at every opportunity.) Thanks !

  • #4
    I enjoyed this Neil. A lot of weaving but very descriptive.


    • Neil Thomas Fellows
      Editing a comment
      I really do appreciate your time and effort in even reading this lump of a thing. That is thanks enough and I hope it was worth it.

  • #5
    Many lovely turns of phrase, as Alex said, 'woven' (I like that so am repeating) on this journey out and back again.


    • Neil Thomas Fellows
      Editing a comment
      Thank you once again for your encouraging words. I find it very hard to judge my own work.

  • #6
    This... left me reeling, and it was such an experience. I was engrossed, and the turn of events piqued my interest, though to my mind it's still up in the air. See, when you switched the idea of Him pursuing her, to Reader realizing he was hunting her, I had wondered, is there another turn? And there was! But that significance I can't quite place so far, still working to. From the beautiful picturesque language, to the rhythms which hook ya, and the story which was certainly not turgid, atleast to my ear. You drove me along, and I walked through your mind, and on the other side I can say from reading your poem I am satisfied!
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece. Peace + Kudos!


    • Neil Thomas Fellows
      Editing a comment
      I don't understand it myself. I think sometimes one can get away with giving the reader enough 'ingredients' for their own imagination to create the story themselves. Anyway, I hope you were reeling in a good way. Grateful thanks for reading all of it !

  • #7
    This is beautifully made, Neil. At the start, I thought I would be reading through a nicely shaped yet unexceptional love lyric; what ensued took a different turn, increasingly fascinating. I'm really impressed that you've sustained such a satisfying meter over so many lines - that takes real artistry. Really wonderful. Thank you for sharing.


    • Neil Thomas Fellows
      Editing a comment
      Thank you very much for such kind encouragement, Grant. I am never fully satisfied with my work but it's good to keep practicing.