The Stream

The Stream

The numinous stream from the mountains in the west
flows daily through my life.
Like spawning salmon, I toil with the rest
through currents torn with strife.

All my years I’ve tried my best
to do as I was bid;
to wear the clothes and pass the test,
just as my parents did.

But now that I’m allowed to think
about this headlong dash;
about the hype (“can I buy you a drink?”)
and the mighty tyrant: cash,

I wonder if by turning back
I’d sweep down to the sea.
I wonder if the strength I lack
is fear of being free.

My life is bent to swimming west
along with all my peers.
Parting company with the rest
would stir the deepest fears.

And yet, within, a match ignites:
an atavistic spark.
Just a smouldering thought that lights
a doubt born in the dark.

What if the sea is not the ruin
of man as I’ve been told?
What if the course I’ve been pursuing
leads only to Fool’s Gold?

What is the sea if not just me?
What lurks in pelagic ooze?
Are horror and insanity
the monsters I would choose?

Could it be infinity
this stream would rush me to;
away from shallow fatuity,
to serenity, clear and true?

The sacrifice is very great:
perhaps I’ll lose my soul.
But when I finally meet my fate,
perhaps I will be whole.

MARK GREENLAND

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