Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 174 - No Courage Left For the Next Time

This poem was written during the 3:15 Experiment in August.

It's a backstory poem for my falconer character, Richolf, who is featured in my serialized Saturday fiction. I was just brainstorming his storyline over the weekend at my annual real-life writer's retreat at White Point Beach, Nova Scotia.

I've based him on Scottish-Peruvian actor Henry Ian Cusick.

No Courage Left For the Next Time

Cowering in ceaseless dark
He didn't know what was worse
The waiting
The knowledge there was no more waiting
The tiny flame of hope
The hopelessness
The weight of iron on his wrists
The moment of weightlessness
The sound of their footsteps coming for him
The silence of solitary
Were they coming with food?
Would they drag him down the corridor?
Would they break something?
Would he beg them to stop?
He didn't know what was worse
The memory of his cries, his screams
Or the knowledge there were more lurking inside of him
It was hard to say
Hard to know what was worse
It was all worse
He could see no way out
There was no courage left
For the next time he heard their footsteps
For the next time the keys clicked in the lock
But he was so hungry
So thirsty
Maybe he heard something
Maybe they would bring him something
He had to ride the turbulent hope and dread
He had no choice
The iron pressed down on his wrists
The cold seeped up from the stones
The bruises ached from the last time
His stomach growled
He hoped they arrived soon
He hoped he never saw them again
He couldn't take much more
How long did it take to go mad?
Or was it already too late?

© Julia Smith, Aug. 9, 2010

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!