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Cast Away, Castaway

Updated on May 17, 2011

Cast away
On consecutive gray
Days of expanded demise
The crumpled newspaper sky
Luxurious in its deliberate
Exacting pace
Its motive
An infection to lance
The end of delight and surprise

A flickering votive
Commemorating departed grace
Illuminating nothing
With its opaque tongue
Of unreasoning dance
Tiny flame a mild punctuation
Comma or quotation
Once young

Pause or memory or both
Facing backward from a moment
To a moment
As on a gray ocean
Empty but for waves
A castaway might glance
Back along the wake
At their own jetsam

A lost love letter afloat
On a briefly cresting wave
Of memory
Remarking silently
On all things lost at sea
And on the kinship of the lost
Clutching their lost-ness like a prize
Even as they drown in time

The candle
Is remembered in its passing
A parenthetical phrase or
Footnote of smoke
A briefly acrid memorial
Of a small lightless flame
Along with wick and wax
Nowhere to be found
And its empty vessel
Is cast away


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    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very nice work. GBY.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      As always Tom - excellent!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      The sky is a great metaphor for life, always changing. Thank you, Doug.

      Thank you, Realhousewife

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 6 years ago

      Yes, echoing the other commenters: this is very rich. "Crumpled newspaper sky..." -- writers love to describe the sky (and for good reason), but that, sir, is one of the most original ways I have ever seen it done.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Loved it - now that is poetry!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      I really enjoyed this beautifully written poem. Your words were very touching. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      I've been reading Ben Mazer's latest book, "Poems", and I was inspired to write this.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Dear Tom

      Talk about choosing words carefully - This poem is absolutely beautiful and brilliantly smart; "progression of sight/ illuminating nothing" as well as "an infection to lance/ the end of delight and surprise". Love it, love it, love it!

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      A beautifully rich and metaphoric poem. Thanks for sharing