This poem placed first in HSLDA’s Poetry Contest, much to my surprise. It may not make a lot of sense at first, but I challenge you to look deeper.
Her footfalls strike hollow against the world’s bones;
Long trampled to iron, the blasted earth groans.
A half-crumpled road twists away through the dust;
The old Road to Silence spins circles of rust.
She runs through the echoes, dust catching her feet,
A droplet of lace in a sea of concrete.
Around her rings chaos, red-ragged and charred.
She dreams of cool silence, but that dream is scarred.
Her feet drag her farther; the Road twists again.
It loops through a haze of black echoes, and then
Uncurls a dark River, forgotten and deep—
No rust taints its sapphire; no sound breaks its sleep.
Here lies the end of her spindling dreams—
A gash of dark water sunk deep in the seams
Of copper cacophony, meaningless halls:
A nerve-jarring jangle of iron. She falls.
Cold water slams into her; drags out a skein
Of glimmering bubbles: an upside-down rain.
They flit through her lips masquerading as Hope,
Leave nothing inside her but dark-pulsing smoke.
The water is icy and empty as Void;
The silence drowns memory: heart-flame destroyed.
She’s drowning and drowning—and then beyond breath,
Awash in red poppies, far brighter than death.
A flurry of flame to the River’s cold mire,
But sweet, cooling rain to the iron-etched fire,
They sing and Eternity fills with their thrum:
‘Awake! Hallelujah! The Kindler has come!’
The color of glory twines light through her hair;
Her scarred fingers dance with its carmine, and snare
A whisper of crimson. It weaves through the dark:
Light rising through shadowy foam like a spark.
Her heart-flame dissolves in a far greater Light,
But the red flower rises unchanged by the Night:
The color of glory weaves true harmony
To hallow the rust of a lost galaxy.
© Sheila Roberts