Alan Morrison

My Life in the Shade

Since I was sunburnt as a boy I learnt to love the shade,
Spared me from the heat where the other children played –
But I was tugged out in the sun and punished by its light
Turning from a shadow to someone in my own right,
Found that I’d preferred it when I’d felt invisible.
Sometimes I wonder whether I was ever here at all.

I’ve always loved so easily and pitied anyone
Who showed signs of remorse for the wrongs that they had done.
I’ve struggled and I’ve buckled under every thought I’ve had
As if the mere imagining of bad events was bad;
Pursued by Furies of my own phantasmagorical school.
Sometimes I wonder whether I was ever here at all.

The more I’ve lived I’ve lost myself and drifted far away
From the busy worlds of others and the places where they play.
As if I died some time ago and turned into a ghost
Haunting all the places that I used to love the most,
I’ve lingered like a shadow where my own shadow should fall.
Sometimes I wonder whether I was ever here at all.

I came to fear feelings of love for how they made me see
The image of myself through the eyes of those who loved me.
Until I was obsessed with being gone in all but mind
Sharing in the mourning with my loved ones left behind.
But I’m still here; still in the shade; trembling in its thrall.
Sometimes I wonder whether I was ever here at all.

Alan Morrison © 2006/2008
First published in Poet Tree (2003)
The Mansion Gardens (Paula Brown, 2006) - which can be downloaded at www.alanmorrison.co.uk