A poem about a chance meeting with a “stranger”:
In a cool autumn breeze,
Walking down an old street,
I came across a stranger,
And it made me lose my ease.
Memories, I tried to plow.
But my mind wouldn’t allow.
I knew I knew the man.
Just didn’t know how.
He was old and wrinkled.
But his eyes still twinkled.
“Hey there! Remember me?”
My heart, his voice tingled.
He smiled at me, bit amused.
I stared at him, lot confused.
“Sorry, but how do I know you?”
Said I to the man perused.
To which he said:
“I’m the wolf that wasn’t fed,
Surprised, I ain’t already dead.
Missing, marooned memories –
I’m what time hasn’t yet shred.”
Thinking him mad, I began to leave.
My quandary, he seemed to perceive,
For he spat, “Time, when one gifts,
Be humble, and their wisdom, receive.”
He went on:
“Friends were we; grew up together.
Our bond was to be our tether.
Keeping us safe, sane, spirited –
Storms, it would’ve helped us weather.”
The fog lifted at this mention.
I realized our deep connection.
Shocked, surprised, I almost cried,
At this ghost’s resurrection.
I inquired where he had gone.
Why return this beautiful dawn?
Why couldn’t I see him before?
Why did it have to take so long?
He answered with:
“Too busy to look or listen;
In a rush, you missed all the fun.
I was always ’round the corner;
You just… never made the turn.
But, for a breath, you stopped today.
So, here I am, plain as day.
Fate often looked you in the eye,
Only, this time, you didn’t look away.”
We meandered through a park.
Enthralled by the song of the lark,
I gaped at the colors of fall,
Wondering where had gone this spark.
As the old leaves fell,
I felt my heart swell –
A lightness long forgotten,
The lifting of a dark spell.
Finally, I understood this:
That feeling of something amiss,
Was just me not able to see,
A life blessed with beauty’s kiss.
So, at long last, I said to him:
“All your words are indeed true.
I’ve missed this place, this view,
Missed the laughter, the light,
Missed so much about you.
Last we talked, I was a child.
Living in a world less wild.
With a heart full of wonder,
Worried far less, much I smiled.
But somehow I lost that zen.
God only knows way back when.
Times changed, and so did I.
Never been the same again.
I so wish I could’ve seen,
The futures that could’ve been.
Life, blessed with your charisma,
Would be so much more serene.
I lost you once, and was lost.
But, thank God, our paths, at last, crossed.
Don’t leave my side till I close my eyes.
Not again can I suffer that cost.”
And so continues our story.
I just pray I never again see,
That deep, dark, death of a night when
That “stranger” is, once more, a stranger to me.
So, finally, I’ve managed to finish this poem! Although the idea for it came is swiftly and unexpectedly as ideas are wont to do, fleshing it out into the poem you see above has taken up a considerable part of my attention over the last two months. I know it’s not great, but it’s definitely the longest poem I’ve done in my short career as a poet, and given how much time and effort it took, and the subject, it’s quite close to me (although, as an artist, everything I write is close to me!). Hope you guys like it too!
P.S.: The inspiration for this poem came when reading the poem: “The Crooked Man” by Elrow Swift on hellopoetry.com. As I was reading about the “crooked man” in the linked poem, an idea suddenly popped into my head about what it would be like to meet the “stranger” from my poem.
Photo Credit: Nathália Bariani on Unsplash