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by Steven Craig

Please Understand

The evening grows long
The tide has left the shore
The moving stars hold my eyes
For a moment more
Hunting for the tears
The ones you understand.

You can understand the feeling
The human side of need
It makes you give unending
And takes from you forever
Innocence from your hand
Nothing beats the living rock
That makes an island of your soul
No wave will wash your face there
It is the hope of all to have in their vision
To be the endless sea
Where the birds weep for you
Because you understand

You dance in the street of crosses
and make your thoughts your dreams
where the islands merge to the line in the sky
to the place that knows the child
where the memory is the last thing known
and the first to understand

You feel the wind in your fingers,
placed deep in your coat
Quiet dreams you never had
The streams you crossed were your own tears
and the pools were your days weeping
feeling the loss of it all
he was the last to understand

You must stay here no more
You must move to where your grasp haunts you no more
Your eyes will search that place
Your ears will hear it first
Your feet will burn with fire
Your life just begins there
and you laugh as you understand.

The dogs that are barking,
Track you though the night
Across the paths of rocks and leaves that have died
The canyons open to swallow your memories
But their depths fill to overflow
You hold your face in delight
No place is even able to lead you from it
The place of rubble and ashes
You sought the hand and its seeming strength
And there you understand

You wandered into the cave and touched the cold stone
It warmed so quick to your fire and melted in a pool at your feet
You have no more time to tarry, for the stone has turned
It is the one at your head, flying in the clouds
The ravens move aside, the rush of the cancer spreads
And your heart is seized in hope of finding a shield
Where you can understand.

The oars are wet in their flashing, the boat careens at the shore
But the wind and the tides conspire against you
The dogs bay at your scent running from the decks
You cry aloud and point your finger to your shoes
That are still covered with sand
Your flight has not been that far, you dance too much to run
Your touch freezes the water with icy fire
There is no place now, none to find, not to live here
There the cliffs retreat and the forest stands away
No place will the whisper make you young
The Tears make you understand

No mild hope has graced your feet, not for riches would it stay
No time, no time, you must keep moving
The kettle overflows and the fire is quenched
The cold wind blows where your heart once beat and you run still
Where you have run before, the same steps, the same cliffs,
The same baying animals, the dark shadows circle you in flight
You hide your eyes behind your open hands, fingers too thin for shade
You stop suddenly to stare at the eyes that have found you
From the cave, from the melted stone, from the boat and oars are flashes
They light you, a search pattern that is the night
And there cold and crumpled in need of sleep
You know someone understands

Fate is fear unleashed, and you cross its borders as a ghost
You pool your final drops of blood in your hands
And hold it as an offering into the streams you cross
Your familiar streams of long weeping
What made you do it, what obsession had your switch
Were did you drop your life’s keys and pick up the peels of pine
No one weeps for you here, even the dogs drop their baying
The wind no longer catches you, and its rain is so far away
Did you really out run it, or did it just decide to stay
You hear the strains of singing, from the window open there
By the cannons that sing of your time alone in the flood
Your tears and your weeping were the waves
Upon them you bob and you understand.

The head lifts and sees the sky for the first time,
The clouds own your youth and your age and your scars
You hold your traces where they quietly dream
The young streams have grown old
Hunting for the sea
The loves were knives that pierced the skull to extract your core
Seeds that would never grow, no life left in it
The stars weep at the pity you extract
And touching the sand upon your feet one last time
You leap upon the yearling, and make that one last flight
The attempt to flee the mere change of being human again
The slightest thought of that sets the dogs baying once more
They at least understand.

Oh god, it will not stop bleeding, this wound in your side
It empties your heart into the heavens
And takes your soul into the cave
Oh God, the stone knows you and is not humble in your presence
It would not take you now, not in the grasp of its clay
You are heaved in the exhaust of that cave
And cast upon the sands, in the loose grass and the leaves
And you lay there making your breathe turn to steam
You mind is free to fail this one last time
Your hands made the movement, scrawl the letters of your name
The one name you understand

You were never there, and you are never here
You run, and you flee and you can not move,
Frozen in that fear
That started it all when your mind felt the touch
The mountains are there to remind you
Roots that anchor the seams of your veil
The glancing blow that did worst than kill
You erode in the leprosy of the lie
Suffer the end of a season without the fruit you tilled
Not in an eternity will you have that grasp again
To be held, takes substance
How little of you remains
Not the tree you were, but its broken root
Weeping, that you understand.


The streams will dry in time

The dogs will pass away


The scar will heal once more

The river will wait in its ebb

Hold my hand

I will dry your tears


I will understand.


Posted on 10/14/2007
Copyright © 2020 Steven Craig

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by A. Paige White on 10/15/07 at 10:56 AM

This is a very intense piece. The 4th stanza is my favorite and of it, "The streams you crossed were you own tears
and the pools were your days weeping
feeling the loss of it all
he was the last to understand"
reminded me of things I've been going through in the natural that have caused me to look more deeply into the truly understanding He of all supernatural things hidden inside the natural. Great read!

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