Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2009

I Saw The Honest Man Surrender

by Stephen Cunniffe

Grey and Listless, he drew extended breath,
Now unburdened by measured time,
His features sunk in heavy motions,
His movements laboured alone.
He takes task upon himself - to find truth,
Truth that was never there,
To unlock this secret, to lay her bare. 
Hurried, Age ploughs furrows through flesh,
Days are nothing but quickly spent.
Trying to find solace in silence.
In solitude silence brings
Empty hours spent with regret.
A man forms foes from ether
And splits hairs with the eternal.
Comfort in mist, the past is free to manipulate.
The man is clay; his mind does not possess itself.
He trashes with the word laid before him.
This is gospel, this is word, this is what we've come for.
Gestures with passion, then fails
Acting out his daily grace.
He charts this new religion.
A shell within a shell.
Paper walls now shield him.
Calloused and hardened hands
Crimple the outer edges.
Now he sees them for what they're worth,
Their toil now lost to him.
How could he be betrayed like this?
He had acted out his part:
An honest role, - an honest man.
He had trusted her.
He had laid himself open to this. 
Each day now a revelation: a notch, a tick, a line.
Trying to find a pattern, it dries his eyes,
They are dull, they are blind.
Surrounded by ghosts he has lost his voice,
But it echoes still inside him;
I am the dust, I was a rock,
Proud till you chipped and ground me,
As foundations crack  beneath you - ask,
On what did we build this country?

Added: 29.04.2009