A Self-Portrait poem, By Emma Doyle
Stationary in this room, gazing through the silver frame of electronic screen
The surreal brush strokes depicting the old wooden window ledge framing a blue sky,
A curtain billows out, interrupting straight certain lines.
Gusts of wind scoop into the room and out again, daring her to exit with them
Into distant horizon; she must conclude this chapter first.
A book sits open, as the watcher gazes longingly at freedom taunting.
In this room, surrounded by dusty books.
Where she longs to be, still far off.
The seagulls fly. Not her, not yet.
Scrawling on the pages, her words fly, limitless.
Words, declarations; anything can happen with ink and paper.
Zooming in on the open journal, what utterances have been disclosed?
. . .
“I float defiantly though some say I should be tethered.
Spirit-free am I, relishing every journey plundered, summit explored.
Feet light, refusing to hold the weight of boxing assumptions;
I float, am free.
Clouds, none the same, echo my singularity.
Swerving shapes swiftly changing, imaginings unfettered.
Head oft caught up in their chorus of wispy dreams.
Dreamer they reckon I am, their words ring true.
A world of concrete ideals and warped changing standards
welcomes cacophony in callous ways; some say it’s good.
I shudder at the carnage; the fruit of selfish humanism.
I’ll tread this trail differently.
Who I was is not now who I am.
These swells of lived feelings, personas, words;
they’ve changed me, grown and gashed my skin.
I liken a morphing cloud to my own
Journey finds us different
At each fork
Mistake me not for capricious wind;
My roaming possesses purpose.
Yes I fly in this fable of existence,
For at these altitudes I procure ethereal panoramas.
Summits of alpine, cloud, and apex call to this vagabond.
Crisp mountain air, echoing fragrance of honeysuckle
And Indian paintbrush
Tickle my senses
But I am here. Now. Bricks of commitment placed strategically, my own doing.
Iron threads of debt, scholarly aims, and intellectual escalation
Gird me fast; restructuring the ethos I occupy.
I must stay with this struggle the allotted time.
Taste of exhaust fumes, smell of hot asphalt assault my face
Wary of vehicles, metal moving everywhere surrounds my exposed frame
Foot on pedal, coin on bus, strangers watching always. I purchase some eggs.
Tell you a secret, shall I; listen honestly.
Awake roaming have I been, but even more…
Whilst this body slumbered, my spirit journeyed far
Soaring oar mountains and sea, saw I colours more real,
More green, more wondrously vivid and alive, than any spectrum named.
Locations outside space, time, and matter
This spirit without confines
Travels far and free,
Senses beyond the five.”
Yawning depths swim inside this soul;
Her cavernous magnitudes scarcely known.
Nothing to prove, she builds ecosystems inconspicuously.
“Professor intrudes my reverie with retrogressive sentiments strongly held.
In academia, free thought is often only applauded if congruent
With politically correct subjective ideals being strategically crammed
down unsuspecting throats.
In childhood I dreamed;
In maturity I still dream, though not as before.
Realism impregnated idealism.
Steps taken to fuse these rivals.
Arduous learning navigates rules
by which to live and also strain against.
Come wander among wispy woodlands.
Breathe deep of pine, moss and entrancing clarity
Come, fill your soul with wonder,
Drink deeply. Drink.
This. This uncultivated place of fresh gritty scents,
Damp wood, recycled trees birthing new creations, cycle.
Unpredictable yet faithful, this circle of sentient life forms.
Unfasten the harness and loose me into this place;
I shan’t return.
Rude wakeup, this pavement, vile buildings.
I cycle to school, I cycle to stores, I cycle everywhere.
Legs pushing, muscles flexing, leaking sweat on sun-stained skin;
This concession, how I feel alive in stifling concrete jungle.
High-rises closing in, I scream for open horizons, clarified air.
The sedentary student life is fancied not.
Sitting, sitting, lecture, sitting, homework, sitting.
Starting to grow out of clothes, inches grab hold.
The countdown of credits, daydreaming of travels.
Two more years have I to bear, bear it I shall.
Live music, Indian food, taste of foreign spices, pho, varied activities;
All distractions from the inhumane sardine conditions I inhabit.
I dwell in present day, making best each season.
Thankfulness holds back discontent, I find comrades.
I bide my time until, walking out, the glass slipper finds me.”
Fiercely loyal, passionate defender of good, justice burns within.
She fights for the paralyzed, and gives others weapons — training of their use.
Comprehensive wholeness is the creed, the antidote to broken porcelain everywhere.
The day hearkens, and swiftly shall arrive, when dreams will take on flesh and hardwood.
The place of healing and retreat will be established, like a waterfall springing, pouring, surging forth onto barren, cracked, gasping land. She, the pioneer to birth this sanctuary.
Peering out over endless sea and fathomless skies, a ship drifts, sails up, propelled onward.
On the sill of an open window sits an open diary pregnant with possibilities, tactics, dreams, and determination that shall one day give wing, as the pages themselves lift free from binding
Like feathers of birds, they’ll soar into cerulean skies, words falling off pages
Like seeds into dark waters below, sprouting, roots thrusting deep to murky bottoms, leaves
stretching high into firmament, islands forming, spreading out,
beacons of hope in a sea of drifters.
The training is now, for days that may find her brought before kings.
Discipline, degrees, writers hand, exhausted eyes that ache from studies, plowing each credit:
All rungs on the ladder towards what calls incessantly in her spirit. You must. Go on.
The cloak of anonymity will melt off, revealing the true nature — call of destiny;
No more hiding. Her resolve unswerving, faithful to the high calling.
So high not even she comprehends the vastness or ramifications of its realization.
Glimpses of magnificent and dangerous futures are her provocative clues.
A transcendent voice echoes on the wind; her own,
Projected into the future and echoing back to now; take heart soul.
A time will come when all will be answered, no rock unturned.
Please yourself to bask a moment in this certainty. In some things,
We can trust.