Despite my love of literature, English has never been one of my favorite subjects in school. No matter what level of education, I can never come to terms with the cavalcade of trivial exercises. The worst of these exercises have always involved poetry.
It was just such an exercise, oddly enough, which sparked the inspiration for the piece below. "Needles," as it is appropriately titled, was written in response to a poetry assignment in my Sophomore english class. What inspired me, I can't say, but the image of the ghastly flame haunted me for days.
In the darkness a lighter flares,
a golden flame for vacant stares,
a friendly beacon for leaves and paper.
There are needles on the floor.
And in this darkness a figure stands.
His eyes are glazed. With shaking hands
the paper’s lit, the flame is gone,
there’s darkness and a scarlet glow,
A gentle light contorts the figure’s face beneath the muted glow.
Pale skin and sunken eyes,
a stubbled chin whose story cries
of clear-cut forests miles wide,
of a bushman’s pilfered home.
Now the embers are softly stoked
and, for a moment, marred by smoke.
Alone, a darkened figure stands
amongst the needles on the floor.