Vessel

Vessel was written in January 2018 and has remained unpublished until now.

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There had to be a reason
For all the pain I felt
My friend, the end I knew so well
And, as I fell beneath its spell
The visits grew more frequent

There had to be a reason why
I died alive so many times
There had to be a reason I survived

Still I walked through the valley of shadows
Bathed in shade unhallowed
Unscathed as I appeared the other side

Perhaps now simply wasn’t time
My punishment ill-fitting crime
Waiting for a retrial
Heart beating yet e’er fleeting
Cheated of my beautiful death
Left only with defeat

Breaking formation would have been suicidal
No mistake, the breaking waves were tidal
With kiss to tell, my pale lips swelled
Each time they crashed at my bare feet
Dashed upon the jagged rocks
Begging I turn back the clock
Only for this white froth to recede

Lucid dreams all that remained
As low tide crept and claimed my smile
And, all the while I felt estranged
Out here on the lonesome range
It’s strange, for while these pains addressed some way less in denial
I cared for the sting
Felt it my duty to feel something
Other than comfortably numb

Learned to love what I’d become
In truth, had never forgotten
Often I’d remind myself of virtues I would pride myself upon
Suchlike remembrance couldn’t be wrong
Despite any lack of forthcoming from others supporting belief

I knew of the beast that was me, myself and I
Reclined in beauty only I would ever see
Or, so it seemed
These dreams of mine provided clues
Scattering like ash, which I perused for telltale signs of what to do
Who to turn to
Every rock I turned returned to sender those adored by me
The edge of glory led to bitter end
Spread out before me

If this was indeed to be my tale
Then who could I possibly tell
When every word concurred was slurred by burdened chime of knell
Yet, sturdy I remained
Retrained both feet to stand their ground and dig in deep each time that my eyes swelled

This served me well, profoundly so
Lent the strength to make haste to the places in my mind parading chorus line of shade
This enfilade a masquerade of skin to trade for rotten flesh
I pressed on to the quayside, taking solace from its gentle flow
Should beautiful death await me here
Then let it be so, I desire to be bled
I said, then duly shed a single tear

And, as this crimson teardrop fell
I glanced my own reflection
Expectant of a ripple not forthcoming
Death no longer so becoming
In this river running red
Had found a place to rest my head
A hiding place, no less than mirrored
Clear where once opaque

My soul to take
I braced myself, submerged within still waters
Thoughts of those adored no more through encore steeped in closure
Displayed in double negative, parading full exposure
Kneeled before the altar in the valley of my ribs
Betwixt the vertebrae and shoulder blades
Where love can live forever
Through the never

There had to be a reason
For all the pain I felt
My friend, the end I know so well
And, as I fall beneath its spell
I rise in tide of crimson
With brothers at my side for all four seasons
300 damn good reasons, yet but a single vessel
Progressing solely to be seen, proceed to fight through day and night
For my beautiful death by their side

Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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1 Comment

  1. This piece is very hard to read for reasons you’ll know 🙏🏻
    “There had to be a reason why
    I died alive so many times
    There had to be a reason I survived
    Still I walked through the valley of shadows
    Bathed in shade unhallowed
    Unscathed as I appeared the other side”
    🖤

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