Tuesday, 26 April 2011


“The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.” – Seneca

The days are getting appreciably shorter now and even though the afternoons are warm and sunny, the misty mornings and the violet evenings are cold, with nights getting longer. The sky is strewn with stars and in the crispness of night, their sparkle seems all that more brilliant, more sharp. There are so many dead leaves in the garden now and summer plants decay, black spot marring rose bushes, mould growing on fallen, overripe fruits and fungi growing in the humus. Autumn is here and brings with it an undesired guest that has been waiting in the wings for his cue. Autumn is hosting a death feast and the guest of honour comes on time although uninvited…

The Guest

As I stretched my hand to grab the red balloons,
A guest entered suddenly, and he was unexpected.
I let the red balloons fly up to the sky,
Starting as I saw his awful face.

He had black curly hair, his wet ringlets
Smelling of earth after the rain.
His green eyes were soft,
Like fresh, moistened moss.
His lips were red as if coloured by
Ripe, red, pomegranate seeds.

His bony hands were white, with long fingers,
As he stretched them towards me;
Outside the rain kept falling,
While indoors there was darkness,
Silence, an empty void.
I touched his hand and was startled
By his icy grip.
His arms locked around me
And I felt his embrace around me
Heavy as if it were wet clay.

Now, he stoops and kisses me, tenderly like a father,
And his red lips freeze the life out of me;
While my last warm breath
Melts the ice of his cold heart,
So that it warms with pity towards me.

He holds my hand and leads me
Out into the falling rain –
We don’t mind its liquid silver drops
And we go ever forward, to be lost,
Never to come back.

Above the clouds where the sun always shines,
A thousand red balloons
Go ever upward and so far away.


  1. Hello Nicholas:
    We were much struck with the quotation by Seneca with which you open this post. Following that, the description which you give of the onset of autumn is very real indeed, so much so that, in our minds, we could see the decaying garden and feel the closing-in of Nature.

    'The Guest' is a very powerful poem which, whilst full of melancholy, nevertheless ends on a moment of triumph and hope which links back to Seneca at the start. You have used some wonderful imagery, but it is the red balloons soaring upwards which appeal to us most.

    Thank you for a very interesting and thought provoking read.

  2. This is a beautifully written poem about our "last great adventure". It blends the images of autumn with the arrival of death and decay and yet uplifts the spirit with the flight of the red balloons into the heavens...

  3. As usual a beautiful and pensive poem, Nicholas!
    Wonderful images...

  4. This is a neat poem Nic, but once again so sad......
    Don't you ever write any happy poems???? :)