Monday, September 14, 2009

Surrounded by Statues

Not long ago, the baby fat jiggled around his belly
When the hills were covered with ancient mist and boys
Racing down hills, with hair flying back, carrying weapons of war
Now he stands there, a veil a crimson to reveal

A hematic stain on sheets once pure
A magnificent fool with straight black hair
A chubby chin and a victorious smile
How he's still a boy, but for a while
A tower strong and proud
He stands there

With warmth and glee he pulls back the veil
Flailing sheets whipping innocence away
A prized possession waiting to be seen
The room I enter, his gleaming eye
Showing the hematic stain, he stands there
A magnificent fool with straight black hair
A chubby chin and a victorious smile of dumb surprise
He stands there, tower strong

Not long ago, when we were boys
When trees held vines for swing's delight
And trails beneath vast dunes where buried statues lie
He stands there, the veil a crimson to reveal! A man, now, no boy!

She sits there, in the living room,
dressed in quiet, dressed for dance--redressed
No more damsels, a maiden no, unrequited
The sadness adrift beyond the corner, innocence lost
In a private quarter, another waits for me, silently
With nothing to say, for I have nothing to say
Here I am, surrounded by statues

On a cold February night, greeted by silent stars,
Voiceless they stare.
The hills at my back, the ancient dragon cries of boyhood years dimmed
--alas, not so long ago.
Here I am surrounded by statues, silly, aloof, and broken.

How can I escape? And where can I find life?
For here I am surrounded by statues, with life long gone
and emptied and wasted

It is a cold winter night, and bitter in the house
Where warm bodies sit in silence pretending.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Sad, but thoughtful...

chris van allsburg said...

this poem is about a dance i went to in high school. I was 16, and the other fellow was 15. the story is about how he proudly displayed the evidence to me of his deflowering this young girl. I remember being somewhat grossed out by it, and at the same time, I guess I didn't know what to think. everyone seemed to be very still that evening, until we left the house and went to the dance. I remember stepping out into the cold February air and feeling a sense of escape.