Wednesday, 29 July 2009


“In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days long.” - Nikita Ivanovich Panin

I was reading some of the journals I had written a few decades ago (how writing that sentence made me feel so old!). Amongst the angst of youth, the dreadful pronouncements of immaturity, the zeal of inexperience and the earnestness of my teens, it was interesting to find some glimpses of insight, and seeds of wisdom, sown randomly amongst the incunabula. It was amusing and melancholy; nostalgic and sad; humorous and embarrassing, all rolled together to form a rather strange feeling of uncomfortable familiarity, but also of the unknown. My youthful thoughts were staring at me through a glass of time far removed and a place not of here. I could see the younger me within the mirror of my mind and I was enclosing within me several incarnations, nested in each other like a Russian doll. Ah, those old journals are like a time machine, and oh, so revealing!

Here is a poem, coming from a time long ago and from a place faraway. It was written in Greek, but translated now into English, putting that extra twist of time/space travel on the spiral of my life…


There, banshees shriek
Liars, murderers abound.
There, eyes’ crystals dull,
Dreams fantasies are killed,
Sweet memories are deadened.
There, bright, exotic faeries
Rejoice in rainbow orgies,
Sinners, transgressors of all sorts
Congregate, cry, waving arms
Like dancing skeletons.

There, pink flesh will undergo
Sterility, necrosis, sepsis.
Mind dies a slow death
And thought begins to limp,
As brain is injured and is doomed to die,
Unprotected to the wounds dealt
By time’s bloody sickle.

There, skulls gape and cackle
Because they find their sorry state
Witches with purple nails
File them into pointed talons
And the rasping sound
Cuts my heart to shreds.
Wild ogre women,
Shred yellow breasts;
Shed scales from scurfy skin
And vomit up their entrails.

There! I want to go there,
To that chilling and magic world.
But just before I cross the wretched threshold,
I must pause, look back,
For I’m leaving behind a place of innocence
To where there is no return…

Jacqui BB hosts Poetry Wednesday


  1. What a frightening and macabre poem, Nicholas! A youth's view of the adult world he is about to enter is conveyed with great effectiveness. Entering into adulthood can be a very scary experience. Attractive yet repellent at the same time.

    An insight into the innocence of childhood that a youth entering puberty is leaving behind is unusual. Most youths view adulthood as a much more desirable and appealing state than your poem indicates.
    Seeds of wisdom indeed!

  2. How old were you when you wrote this? It is very dark. You articulated your thoughts and fears very well for a youngster

  3. lf we only knew then, what we know now...but we did know, because we were told, but we had to feel and experience what we were asked not to do. hence rebellion.
    lve loved the stages, and the ages.
    Thanks Nicholas for your poem.

  4. Thanks everyone, for your kind comments.
    Meredith, I was just going onto 18 when I wrote this.

  5. I appreciated your description of the younger you "several incarnations nested in each other like a Russian doll." That's sort of how I view my entire life. I grow a new outer shell, but the old is still there inside.

  6. what bekkieann said...
    it was a lovely metaphor / image (one of many in this poem)