Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2009

A Young Man In Quandary

by Donald Futers

                              I

      Down night-time supermarket aisles
      He trod, but found not that he sought
      Among meandering middle-aged,
      Nor on eternal shelves, and thought:
'Were that I might pause to age upon these clinic tiles!' 


                              II

   Hot blood rushed, wild, into his skull, and broke
Upon its seething shores; explored, shot probes
   Of damp caress; in roaring currents spoke;
Then, ebbing tidal, eddied back down roads,
   Through id and ego pensive seaside towns:
Drew back, and surged at once, all flail and froth,
   Stormed forth, swept bricks from walls and heads from crowns,
The whole foul cargo's burden, bared and wroth,
   Born out upon the sanguinary surge,
His doubts and vacillations all a-roil –

   He lurched and swooned, obeyed the tumbling urge –
   A mouth boomed 'Closing'; workers ended toil –

   His shoulder struck the earth 'neath open sky,
And from the sunny turf he spied a bird;
   He fancied, though it soared, he heard it cry
Vague discontent and, turning, felt absurd:
   He too had climbed in apathetic gloom,
Creation's fever as his sole respite,
   Yet, fallen, as the reachless earthbound worm,
Had known life's fullest pains and full delight,
   As all worms will, beneath the cruel boot
Or hewing from the earth sweet pleasure's route.


                           III

      He stumbled, groggy, from the doors.
      The search went on: from pristine tiles
      To rained-on cobbles' streetlight glare
      He tramped his doubt, and asked the while,
'Ambition's lofty languor, or feeling's rowdy stores?' 

Added: 30.04.2009

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