Poetry: Selections from Edward Lee



Able

Everyday is a mountain
to climb, beginning at the bottom,
failing to reach the top.
Day ends, night
gives breath to sleep,
until day returns
and the mountain remains
to be climbed
from the very bottom again,
the top never to be reached,
even if you forgo sleep
in an attempt to create a day
without an end.
 
The mountain is always there
and we must climb it
because it is there,
each day needing a beginning
as it must, eventually, have an end,
 
but sometimes,
some days,
I cannot face that mountain,
cannot face that endless climb,
cannot;
 
futility locks my bones
and blackens my mind,
the breaths in my lungs
hard to come,
and so I lie here
as I lie now,
not able for a day
of climbing,
 
not able.



Is This Love? 
 
In her years away from me
she learned to make
a red-coloured soup
from stones,
and yellow tea
from dying hay.
 
She offered me both
when she finally
let me find her,
knowing I wouldn't
drink such things.
 
But I surprised her,
drank the soup and tea down
with a smile on my face,
even asked for more
of both.
 
I was violently ill after,
blood in my stool,
teeth in my spit,
but it was all worth it,
seeing her face
as she realised
she had been wrong about me
across the years
neither of us
would get back.



How Many?
 
How many saviours
have been sent
since we crucified christ?
 
How many have refused
to reveal themselves,
knowing the bloodlust
that bends our bones
and twists our souls
when we are faced
with the possibility
of a salvation
we know, deep beneath ourselves,
we do not deserve?
 
How many more
will be sent
before we are left
to our self-made doom?



My Own
 
Though I could reach the switch
I waited for you
to flick it into being
with your long thin fingers
with their brightly painted nails,
bringing needed light
to my darkened days;
 
there is my trouble,
some of it, sometimes, waiting
for some one else
to make that first necessary move,
when the most important step
towards being well
must be my own
for it to last longer
than the patience
of whoever’s love
I have managed to hang
my hope upon.



We Lit a Candle
 
We lit a candle
for you, but
somewhere between
the striking of the match
and the flame
passing to the wick
you were gone,
and the candle was left
to burn out
alone.





Edward Lee's poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, The Blue Nib and Poetry Wales.  His play Wall was part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. His debut poetry collection Playing Poohsticks On Ha'Penny Bridge was published in 2010. He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.

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