I write you running, first.
I sit at a small table, in a one-room cottage
But you – you are running.
Running at full sprint; away.
Beneath you is a gravel road.
Beside you is a beech forest, and a river
Ahead of you is the lake.
You run for it.
I am at the table.
I look at my hands.
Small delicate, ladies hands, I suppose.
Designed for embroidery and poems.
Not this rough cottage and it’s dirty pails.
There is an ink stain on my right hand.
I say “Der Zeigefinger.”
You are running the radii,
Aspiring for the circumference.
This edge of our existence,
the magic circle of our biography.
You are always running away from me.
I say “Am Anfang war die Tat.”
[In the Beginning was the Act.]
Events happen to you. Drama! It is yours.
Not mine. I just watch you, from this table.
And then there’s her. That terrible demi-god.
Inscribing us both. Defining our 360.
You cannot escape her clumsy manoeuvrings
– but I will not let her move me.
I will remain. Seated at this table.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
I say “Enter”
Three full fat bodies fill the door frame.
Framed by my eye. The frame of this film.
The three of them, who demand toll.
Those three detainers.
A shiny button, a silver medal, a yellow ribbon.
Big fat hands clasp pieces of parchment.
Dirty boots. A muddy print on my clean hearth.
The fire smokes, splutters in small protest.
I say “With what mandate have you come”
They wave their piece of paper. Inscribed with royal insignia.
“War Regulations. Enemy Aliens.
Detained at the discretion of the Minister of Defence.”
They say things that I don’t [won’t] hear properly.
“Close your business… report to the police station for registration … 20 miles ….”
“no communication with enemy country.”
I just say
You are running.
I take a map. And a compass.
I draw an X. This is where I am.
I draw a circumference. 20 miles from X.
This is where Others, have allowed Us to be.
The extent of our [current] existence.
There is the edge, just ahead. In the fog.
The circle on the map.
Darkness, darker fog, outside of this.
Try not to forget. Try to remember me.
So, let us concern ourselves with the boundary
We are now spread out to the very edge,
it is our complete.
You stand on the edge, your toes curled over the rim.
it is a deep dark endless cavern, you think.
it is separating –
but it is strengthening –
it supplies the form of me [the mater/matter]
it lets you see me more clearly [the pater/pattern]
Cross the desolate.
The flattened ruin littered with debris,
shipwrecks, razor-wire and mud.
The same cottage, different landscape.
The lake has gone, the trees have gone, the forest disappeared.
You can see my cottage.
My window is glowing by candlelight.
And there I am, at the window.
Looking back at you.
Our eyes meet, for the first time?
To be sure, this place of crossing is frightening,
It’s depth is great, it’s height is staggering.
Let us be of a single mind and
without hesitation, pass by, please.
Pass over the boundary.
Do not look back.
It is reflection.
I hear you knock.
You are knocking.
I will let You in.
© Gaylene Barnes, 2017