[Image by Leon Levinstein]
[Inspired by Lawrence Taylor’s “Chains”:]
He’d never been much good
at interpreting a look, a tone of voice,
always failed as translator of human interaction –
until her. With her
he evolved to bear an artist’s eye.
Whole landscapes could be imagined
just by looking at her face, a face
perfect for painting; a portrait of
beauty – of course – but also
of the unknowable, of the infinite.
She made him interested in people again,
made him look, gaze deep
at the chain smoker on the street corner
eagerly inhaling his drug of choice;
at the dejected girl waiting for her bus,
skirt too short, minimal fabric not enough
to have kept the guy she shouldn’t have sought;
at the ruffled, childlike figure of the homeless
man sleeping the rough day through in
a disused doorway of just one of many
abandoned buildings, darkly dreaming
of his multitude of abandoned hopes.
He had begun to care, thought twice before
acting, lashing out, angry at everyone
and everything; like a wounded animal
trying without speech to make the world listen
to his pain. A pain he thought
unique, but in reality just one line of disharmony
in a chorus of similarly unsung melody.
His salvation was how he viewed her,
a woman to be revered for her power
of awakening, as much as he devoured
her physical presence. As sinner,
he sought her forgiveness by touch
of hands, of lips, of any caress.
Of whispered words of reassurance, too;
a maternal lullaby of protection.
Sainthood he’d never achieve, but
by being with her, perhaps a benign spark
would somehow unchain him and,
ultimately, save him.
[Copyright © N R Nolan 2015]