Homeward Bound

by Neil Marsden   Jan 18, 2008

It is hot today, and the sun shines upon everybody,
Whether they wish to look upwards or not.
It has been a very, very long winter, and I distrust change immensely.
These boring days unsettle my defences and awaken my paranoia,
And so I am just waiting, waiting, waiting......
5.15 p.m already, as I hide amongst the paralysed, purring traffic,
Trying not to grow complacent that this uneventful day,
Might just possibly, remotely close like this.
My mind casts homeward, to my children fighting off their sleep,
To wait for me, to take my comfort tank off empty,
And I picture them perfectly, tenderly beckoning their Daddy home.

But then you came without warning or announcement, to snap me back.
Reality was back and I could not have foreseen or avoided meeting you this way.
Whose awesome, and disgusting plan would place me in your life like this today?

A thunderous thump to my right awakens, and a dustbin bag floats high upon the wind,
Seven 'perfect 10' cartwheels for the world to see.
Caught full on at sixty by the driver with the ashen, disbelieving face.
Transfixed by the colours of the bag as it soared and turned,
Then spiralled, downwards in a tangled lifeless heap.

I spin around for re-assurance from the faces in the cars to rear and side,
But only horrified and gaping mouths gasp at poisoned air.
I am the first to move, as my freeze-frame neighbours glue themselves to their seats,
You would be their loss.

I am on autopilot now, and training, duty, love and adrenalin drive me on.
My mind is racing hard and my heart a cacophony of drums,
As I vault the central reservation in this silent slow-motion world.
The mangled sight now just twenty gruesome yards away,
I pass like a champion hurdler over one boys size 9,
Mum's double knotted trainer, waiting in the wings of this charade,
Never to be untied again.

Beyond the shards of bone and shiny teeth,
To where the remainder of your body lay.
I came to you without hesitation,
This image would not scare me back,
For now without your soul, you are alone,
And I could not own that.

A tiny frame without a name, lying there silently to meet,
I would not, should not, could not try to bring you back to life.
Even I could not repaint such truly darkest tones.
And your Mother should not ever have to see,
Her angel's grotesque face look back.

This end event disgraces all the innocence of you,
This ugly place, graced only by your dignity in death,
Quietly as the foetus, curled there upon a bed of asphalt marzipan.

But fear not my precious I am here,
This new found stranger will now cradle you with a lullaby,
To send you off in the absence of your own Father,
Towards peace and your endless sleep.
Hush now my brave little warrior,
And let the darkness envelope your dreams.

Drift away to a place, where the loving lives on,
And where everything is just as it seems.
Where the fun never ends and your step never falters,
And a smile adorns each face you see.
To a silken soft bed amongst all that you treasure,
When you leave this cold place here with me.
Be sure when you go that you ride adoration,
What you leave is still at your command.

The familiar faces and comforting pleasures,
In abundance but now when you demand.
Take with you your innocence, unadulterated dreams,
Gather up your memories and go.
Be certain that I hand your future care,
To other loving angels that I know.
The things you leave here just a snapshot of living,
From a world that could never repay,
The beauty and grace that your courage displaced,
As your sweet breath just faded away.

I cannot pretend that this parting is easy,
I will cuddle you as long as you I can.
And the truth you should know that of all those around us,
I hold onto the bravest man.
So soon I will my embrace my own treasured children,
And I hope they won't mind when I do,
For each time that I kiss them, my dear little angel,
I also send one out to you.

Sleep tight where the bugs will never bite.

Neil Graham Marsden.


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