As It Was

I am walking the rails that run between my house and the river, looking for solitude and a coal nugget or two in the white gravel where they often lay, both glittering and void-like in the moonlight. Melancholy hangs heavy in the air about me and fills the spaces within my chest, like the frost on my sleeves and the bitter cold in my knees and lungs.

The spirits and memories of the past hover and watch me in the deepening shadows, waiting seemingly in vain for the coming of the Sun. I am not far from where the place where I had not long ago lost a battle with my heart - an outcome I had long feared.

In the silence of the night, I hear footsteps echoing from ahead and look up to see a spectral scene approaching from afar:

With head hung low and hand buried deep a man is walking towards me. He kicks at the gravel as he walks and yet it does not seem to move. I stop and stand in the shadow of a tree to watch him pass. A ghostly light seems to follow and I see faint, quickly vanishing images of lights and buildings and people all around him. As he comes closer, I see his face, covered in ice crystals. He is just about to pass the place where I stand thus shrouded, when he stops and turns slowly to look in my direction.

I stand in place, frozen with apprehension and fear. Then my heart stops beating for just a moment as I realize that the face looking at me is very much like my own. I feel a chill run through my body and I turn to flee but cannot move at all. I see that the face holds no expression except an odd grimace which the ice had frozen onto it, the eyes sunken there are lifeless, filling me a nameless fear. My thoughts fail and I fall into a strange, sleep-like state.

The cloud cover the Moon's face and the wind dies. How long I stood thus transfixed I did not know, but sometime later I find myself still standing there and I look about to see no one around me, only the moonlit trees swaying silently in the wind. The vision is gone.

I look down at my feet which had melted the ice beneath me and become refrozen in place. Breaking free of my icy bonds, I run home as fast as my legs could carry me, shaking with the cold and shaken to my core, and vowing to myself to forsake no more the warm company of my fellow man for the bottle and the solitude of my dark studio.

He walks the tracks as they once were 
In the places where they still are;
Under gaslight's eternal glow 
He revisits these places
Looking for the faces
He used to know 
And knows no more.

A young man who died old.
He walks still in the world;
A prisoner, earthbound 
By a love he'd found,
And a love he betrayed
They have all moved on 
And he has stayed.


  1. I LOVE the line "a young man who dies old." I know they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but I think that that line is worth just as man. An entire story could be built based upon that one line. Excellent job.

    Even your prose reads more like poetry. I like the style you have created.

    Starting Sunday, I am hosting a poetry week. Each day I'll cover a different kind of poetry and I will be encouraging others to write with me or just share old works. I hope you'll stop by and add some of your stuff!

  2. Thanks Aubrie. I'm glad you like that line, because it's my favorite one too :-)

    Thanks for the invite, I'd love to contribute to the blog!