Tuesday Tunes – Poetry Through Music, #26, 2015

street-scene-man-in-boots-walking-and-adjusting-his-collar-new-york-city-1960s-1970s

[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]