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Self Esteem Gone Missing – A Poem
(The story of my inner struggles, based upon things I’ve learned about myself)
I am a sinner, but the Princess smiles at me –
Upon me! who first loved the darkness!
And she is the Light, the Princess of Light,
Wherein no darkness can survive.
Surely, she does not mean it the way I’d hope;
Or could it really be? ‘Twas when I clipp’d the rose
With the edge of my sword that she turned with regal aside.
Could she believe I did it with intent to take it to her?
Did she not see when I drank the darkness?
Or does she not know I beheaded the flower
Because its thorns drew my blood?
- - -
Best, I should recover and take her the rose.
For ne’er before felt I this balm of heart
With such power generated from eyes so calm,
And from a countenance so pure!
Nor saw I before the flash of light behind my eyes
When I realized she was watching me.
A flash of light! Within . . . me! In one so dark!
And thus I know that she is indeed
The Princess, or even Goddess of, Light!
- - -
I take the rose in hand and I approach.
But each step brings me also closer to the truth:
This venture began in selfishness, and her eyes know it.
And I approach from a world alien to her ways!
More likely, she laughs at me with silent scorn,
And the angels too, at my presumption! –
Which thought, and fear of pain of loss
Cause that I slow my pace.
And I wither, for the dark cannot survive the light!
I try to cross that threshold, but seem powerless!
But oh, the confusion! and lack of identity!
How can you paint a vessel black,
And tell the world it is white? –
The window shines out a brightness,
Or it displays the gloom inside.
And when one takes darkness into his soul,
How, then, can light shine therefrom?
Do I really think to fool, if I permit
Those calm and knowing eyes to gaze into mine?
Look away, then! Not into her face,
Until perchance you purge the dark!
Make it look like humility!
And talk not, and call it shy.
Pretend, pretend, until you leave,
And some Frankensteinian monster –
Some incongruous assemblage –
Some mass of confusion and offenses
Replace what once was the real you!
- - -
Ah! but what has happened
During the many days, many years
Of imbibing the thrills of the world?
Something has come to bind me, to control me;
A form of incongruity,
Which pulls me back,
If I happen to gain a bit of strength,
And attempt to cross that threshold.
Like prey of feline,
My fate begins to be sealed.
It tells me I don’t deserve her,
Therefore settle for the lustre of the world.
- - -
Time itself is a vehicle, which, when unseen,
Puts distance between a plan and its goal.
And so, as if by the insidious winds of Babylon,
With its blasts of lust and of indecision,
I am carried back and made more distant from Her,
The Princess, whose smile begins to dissolve
As the atmosphere erases the tender details of her face.
- - -
The rose begins to wilt, and I watch it,
Willing it to wait a bit longer.
Again, and momentarily I resist.
I look at her; her very smile brings strength.
But the darkness holds and binds me –
That cursed form of incongruity –
With its mere presence.
- - -
I do not know what it looks like,
Nor where I might stand to see it,
Else I might confront and fight it.
Only in my dreams of day and night
Do I vaguely see it, or give it identity.
Once I thought I saw it in a mirror.
It turns its back, as if I am of no interest.
But it knows I’m here, and blocks my escape.
I look past it, and all the obstacles
To catch a luscious glimpse of Her face.
- - -
Oh, when will I be free, that I might approach her?
The form of this incongruity . . .
Its feline patience is almost greater than mine,
As weight of the world begins to press down,
‘Til conflict is finally thrown from my mind,
And placed in arena made by my fancy
That I might watch and wait for the end:
I see them both – The image and Light.
They are the warriors, they will decide.
Which one will win? Which one is stronger?
I choose the victor, for I am weak.
But I want the truth, please give me the truth!
- - -
The clock on the shelf . . . Monotonous and steady.
Aging ornaments, too: Their lustre dims
As dust and Time keep them from the light.
I know their hurt, their plight,
As pain in my soul the conscience stirs,
And causes my eyes to watch her smile;
Watch with longing, with fading hope,
Through dusty crust of protective shell,
With breaking heart, and foiled flight.
- - -
The rose is gone, and dim, the light –
Red from old embers.
Love and hope too;
Older and weaker they grow.
Where is the truth?
- - -
Steady, steady and relentless ticks the clock,
‘Til dimness turns to blackness
And silence; a sad silence, for
She is gone. I don’t remember her leaving.
The ornaments remain, but without lustre,
Their growing dust, a feeble shroud.
Time lengthens into a stasis of silence,
Like a reverence for the departed,
As if death had taken her.
And it might as well be death,
For the heart hurts no less,
Even through the endless advance
Of the days, the months, the years.
- - -
Time will bring all truth together,
Some of which late the silence stirred:
The Moon confessed to me one night
That – long ago – he o’erheard the Princess mourn
That she knew one whose likeness I fit,
Who drank the darkness and beheaded a rose;
But saw something deep, deep within.
And considered him.
But he did not approach her.
So – deeming herself unworthy –
She quietly, quietly left.