Shadow of a Story

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.


Uneasily shift the guards before the gate.
Tonight, they stand a lonely watch, and cold.
In silent dark, they shall eight hours wait;
Protect the wall, and all it doth enfold.

Within the town, the lights by turns wink out;
Each pool of glow becomes a well of gloom.
The stars might shine for those few still about,
But greedy clouds, the light they give consume.

The moon is young, too new to pierce the haze;
Without her beams, mere eyes cannot compete.
The dripping shadows fill the urban maze,
And at the gates, their stifling fluids meet.

Thus dark and silent falls the dead of night
When morning lifts, we'll see what lost the fight.