Monday, February 28, 2011

The Swing (Poem by me - little something I threw together)

The Swing
By Brei Wilson

She watched the rope swing -
twisted, sinewy cords,
entwined -
reaching up to embrace
a knotted, leathery tree limb -
strong as iron,
built for endurance
or maybe enchantment,
while the solid wooden seat
swung gently below.
Ready to defy gravity.

She gingerly settled
onto flat, hard, scratched,
weathered oak.
Varnish flaked away -
revealing gray, aged wood
and future slivers.
Memories flittered
around her head
like flies buzzing by or
butterflies tickling her ears.
Here and then gone.
Too fast to catch,
Too intangible to hold.

So she tilted her head back,
clenched her eyes closed,
breathed in shakily,
and abandoned her carefully styled hair
to the bite and tug of the wind
as her legs – so much longer
than in her youth -
Forward and back,
Forward and back.

Her ears rang with echoes
of laughter from her past
and she smiled -
kicking harder,
reaching higher,
because that’s where the laughter was loudest.
In the sky.
Where she felt like she could fly.
Without burden,
Or stress-ladened shoulders.
Forward and back,
Forward and back.

But she couldn’t reach high enough.
The faster her legs kicked,
The higher she flew,
The harder she tried,
To catch the girl she used to be.

But there was only
An empty butterfly net -
no butterflies.
Just a cool breeze,
unfulfilled dreams,
forgotten whimsy.
Tangled hair
and a touch of motion sickness.

Swallowing fear,
and desperate with longing,
she leapt from the swing.
Because maybe in mid-air
she could find it.
In the moment between sky and ground,
flight and landing,
Heaven and Earth,
She could uncover the innocence
buried under the experience.

But the moment was too quick -
the girl she chased too elusive
with her great expectations
and carefree soul.
She was water slipping over fingertips.
She was the cycle of the moon.
She was time ticking past.

The dirt and sparse grass
were not as soft as she remembered.
And a jolt shot through her
when her feet struck the ground –
pain, the jarring reality.
She realized her arms were spread wide -
fingers splayed,
body crouched in upon itself
 for protection
or maybe just balance
in an ever-tilting world.

Stiffly, she straightened to stare
at that tightly woven rope swing,
still rocking and spiraling -
a mischief-maker,
beckoning her.
Just one more time.
One more swing.
One more leap.
One more chance.
Forward and back,
Forward and back.

With regret she turned away
from its taunts.
Because she just learned that
youth does not last.
You can move forward,
But you can never go back -
No matter how hard
You pump your legs
And try to fly.

She walked carefully
across the field to her car,
not allowing herself to limp
though her age radiated up from her ankles
and her spirit felt weakened.
But she didn’t stop.
She couldn’t stop.
So she just kept
moving forward,
only forward,
forever forward.

As her heart and body ached to go back.

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