Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

The Storyteller Remembers

by Rachel Irven

Once upon a time, not twice, not three times
but once,
and, in a place where
North, South, East and West meet together
I told my tales to you.
I was a conjuror
pulling silken words from the air,
spinning words into a web of stories.
Outside our circle the seasons changed.
In darkened rooms, by late-night fires
you hugged close to me sharing my vision. 
I was your shaman, conjuring tales of magic and journeys,
of battles lost and won,
of love,
ah yes, love…..
Though life hurtles towards infinity and satellites circle above,
I still move through the world
measuring my days.
with the rhythm of walking,
my eyes dark with the mystery of ordinary lives,
extraordinary stories.
For your pleasure. 
(He bows and leaves the room.)
Once upon a time ….
At least, I think just once,
words are cheating me now, slipping away from me, escaping reason.
My words clothed me, but now I am naked.
Am I the King with no clothes?  Are you mocking me?
I sometimes dream I am flying over trees,
my dream is a nightmare.
Now,plummeting down, down,
back to earth,
in darkness struggling from the embrace of dreams,
tripped up by discarded words.
There is something I am looking for, cannot grasp …
Maybe this is my future, chasing words I cannot catch.
Beware ………..    
(He exits, to catcalls.)

Added: 28.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


Really cool idea and like the idea of the poem as performance, but second half 1995 lets poem down, consider revising or cutting.