Rite of Passage


Hope strolled across my bleak horizon
Littering glitter in her wake
A thousand flecks of firelight
Each one a promise
A future universe of infinite possibilities
Mine to hold for taking her hand

But I was stunned by the trail of stardust
Dazzled by the gleaming gold of maybe
Each glint brighter than its neighbor
So poised on a perch like a feral feline
I sat primed to pounce and devour my prey

But like the hapless cat
I was thwarted by a shifting wind
That blew the shiny specks of sunshine
Just beyond my reach

She turned and gave a bemused sigh
Extending an alabaster hand
From the sleeve of her gown of azure
Unfazed, I chased a thousand gleams
Hither and yon, to and fro
As they swirled in a blue zephyr
Confusing me in a diversion of diamonds

She clutched my shoulder emphatically
“This way!” she pled with a hint of desperation
For she wanted me
As much as I wanted the treasures of future tense
But I could not see
That sparkle in her gypsy eyes
Was the true abode of infinity
The twinkles that obsessed me were a ruse
Leftover luster of a vagabond fairy
Passing through
On her way to a far better place

When I turned to behold her
I saw her back fading
As the train of her gauzy blue gown
Trailed behind her
The glitter gone
I called but she would not turn

And now every day I wish
I had sprung up like a panther
Tackled her
And held her against my pounding chest
Until we melted into one
Instead of shrugging
Bemoaning my luck
And surveilling the grey tableau of reality
For another glimmer
That would never appear

© Thomas Horton, 2014


I think when many of reach the moment of that particular rite of passage, we do “shrug, bemoaning (our) luck”. It is so much more difficult to “spring up like a panther” at such moments, no matter how easy it seems. “Seizing the day” is a concept much easier imagined that employed; it takes time to refine “the mettle”.

I do feel the build of emotion here, as well as the build of beckoning, which you create as irresistible. The poem flies for that reason. If we stopped halfway through, we could glide as high as the sky, in triumph. However, we are land creatures, and we must live on the grounded earth, by “the grey tableau of reality” (excellent phrase for grim realization), and descend to simply standing. Only here, I would join you in falling to ground, in light of the opportunity you lost…(insert an empathetic hand on your shoulder here).

Katherine Michaels