It is something like a shadow
that goes everywhere with me,
Cast by the light of distant lamps
that I shall never see.
For some, it is a chain I bear.
For others, it is I.
It fades faint when I am busy,
and it thickens when I cry.
Each morning, you’d a shadow-road
that rolled out from your feet,
And fell on places you should go
and people you should meet.
Then at dusk, your shadow trailed
from your feet back to the dawn,
And its fingers picked out places
where you had — or hadn’t — gone.
From afar, my shadow crossed your path,
and whispered to your mind.
In due course, our shadows mingled,
sharing face, and shape, and mind.
For our daughter, they stretched stronger,
showing all that she could prove.
Since we parted, each has faded
to a shadow of our love.
When I saw your shadow frozen,
cast alone upon the ground,
And I could not find you near it,
though your thoughts lay all around,
Then I knew that you had left us
for a life without decay,
Under light that casts no shadows
— so your shadow had to stay.
7 responses to “Shadow of a Story”
Just curious, how would you describe the meaning behind the shadow metaphor in this poem?
I was thinking about the online traces of the things we do — Facebook in particular, but of course that’s not the only example
That’s interesting. So how does this tie into the rest of the poem, if I may ask? I get the sense that the poem overall is about a divorce or a death, would that be correct?
You’re right about the subject of the poem (though it’s pretty much all fiction).
As to the metaphor, think of it as the window through which you view the story. We’re watching these events happen on social media, and inferring what’s going on from how the “shadows” behave.
I see. It’s a very beautiful poem, by the way. Is it about someone you know?
Not really. A few lines are inspired by things I saw on Facebook, but the rest of the story is made up to fit around them.