A Poem by Louis McNab

Can we re-discover our youth and the wonders it brought even after we've abandoned it all? Is there something that can take us back to the times past? A book perhaps?

The tender white snow falls outside my window, dancing to the ground like a million ghosts dance to the end of the world, consumed by the final ascent. The flickering warmth of the fireplace fills my tiny, lonely room. Long ago, the light of my life left me, replaced by a sensation of sheer terror and fear. I now sit here, at my typewriter, the spirits of the night fading away into the distant blizzard, and I listen, I try to feel it once again, just like I’ve felt it so many years ago. And no matter how hard I try, it is gone forever, replaced by a void, a great emptiness, a cave of the ages that looms over mankind like some form of colossal rock, waiting to collapse on us and extinguish the very last voices that spoke up from the primordial depths of that great crevice. And outside, the people walk like corpses, the minds twisted and warped, destroyed and hollowed out, much akin to the aforementioned void. The void exists everywhere, it is all around us, it surrounds us, and it is even inside of us, consuming our very last feeble breaths like some form of ravenous beast that was caged within us by none other than ourselves. And the monster is the rock. We have become the rock, the massive boulder that is crushing us. We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.

A lone car passes by my window, it’s tracks quickly extinguished by the violent blizzard. Slowly, carefully, I pour more coffee into my mug and sit back down, the paper in front of me now filled with the rage of an aging man, someone without any light left in his soul. The light was taken from me the moment they pushed me into the crevice with the others. With a sigh, I put my hands on my forehead and lean over the yellow paper. And as I read through the lines that adorn the aged fibers, I try to re-imagine the world’s I’ve known so long ago. It’s a blur, a distant memory of a forgotten youth, a time that I have spent dreaming and wondering, unraveling the mysteries around me, finding beauty and light in everything. Gone, all gone, swallowed by the beast and pushed beneath the boulder, waiting to be crushed, torn and burned. Oh god, what have I become? How long have I been like this? When I was younger, I always knew of time and death and god. Now, all these things fade, they become small and irrelevant, like little motes of dust dancing in some form of forgotten breeze, carried along the lines of time by an unseen force, ripping the sea in half, opening and closing the void. My work has become the sailor and my paper has become it’s ship, waterlogged and dissolving in the currents of life. The islands I knew, the islands that once were within my mind, as clear as the mysteries of time and beauty itself, are no more, now existing only as a set of dead and dying trees or a few scattered bushes that lie along the path that I once called mine.

Outside, the night slowly rolls across the barren streets, the occasional car silently drifting past my little eye to the world. With a heavy heart and a heavier mind, I sink into my old. rotting armchair, drifting away into times unknown and unseen, hoping, praying that the flicker of light in my soul shall re-ignite. Control your breath, close your eyes and listen to the fireplace. And, sure enough, I drift and I sail, unfurling my wings on the warm breeze of another lifetime, the whispers of my former life calmly stopping at the gates to this wonderful place. With my eyes closed, darkness resting in my mind, I feel across the end table to my right, grasping for something that I had left there many years ago. A shiver goes down my spine as I touch the fine book paper. Slowly, like a blind man who cannot see by choice, I pass my cracked fingers across it’s pages, reading the contents by memory. And with every familiarity, with every sentence, every epithet and every paragraph, I become absorbed, my mind’s eye passing over the pages by habit. The rebel, the system, the collapse, the blindness, oh how I knew it once, inside and out. From the paper I drank the words, integrated them into me, lived by them. They were my creed, my law and my dream. I wanted to fight for change, I wanted to fight for peace. Back then, the world was filled with hope, with a cry for freedom so primal, so basic and so simple, that I could not see how it could be misunderstood. The tape of my mind starts to skid across the magnetic head, the lines and words falling away, melting into the death and decay before finally falling into forget.

And with a sudden start, I am pulled out of my world, back into the realm of the material, where nothing spiritual can exist for very long. As I open my eyes, I search for the book on the end table. There is none, only a stack of old papers that form no rhyme or reason, a single disjointed thought, put down over the course of many years. The room in which I have spent the majority of my older years now seems small, even smaller than before, almost as if the walls had been moved, further increasing the intensity and darkness of my self-inflicted imprisonment. The island is gone, replaced by this horrible little chamber, the streetlights barely reaching into it. But something is different. Something has changed. I touch my chest, feeling for my heart. It is warm to the touch, warmer than before. The flame, it has returned, albeit not as intense as before. Do not worry, I tell myself, I am far from gone.

The closet of my memories is filled with cobwebs, the old clothes still hanging on the wooden beam, forgotten, a mere memory on some old black and white photograph. Beneath them, lies something that I’ve kept hidden from thought and sight, something that meant life itself for me. I bend down, my knees creaking from age, reaching into the dusty attic of my soul. Behind the coats, I feel it, just behind the tweed surface of my old jacket. The material is very dry and brittle. I pull it out into the half-light of my cell. Gracefully, almost as if I’m opening a tomb, I lift the lid of the old shoebox. There it is, the very basis of my being, my beating heart, the old flame, all kept within that odd little container. On the very top, lies an old newspaper, it’s headline turned up, speaking of some old conflict, some crime, something pointless and trivial, purely human. I quickly move it. Beneath the papers, a single book cover stares at me, it’s title art unchanged, adorned by two initials, two letters, the name of the man who I owe my philosophy to. R. B. I pick it up, and blow the dust off it.

In everyone’s life, there’s the one book, the one who showed us the way. For me, this was it, the one I kept even after it was made illegal, even after all the threats and all the men in black with the hearts of ash, after all the disappearances and all the deaths. Even after all that had occurred, I still cherish it.

Fahrenheit 451

(Dedicated to, in loving memory, Ray Bradbury. Written June 6th, 2012)

© 2012 Louis McNab

My Review

Would you like to review this Poem?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on December 7, 2012
Last Updated on December 8, 2012
Tags: rebellion, age, dying, flame, hope, whispers, spark, thought, prose poetry, Fahrenheit, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, chidhood, death, inevitability, dystopia, dystopian future, dedicated to someone


Louis McNab
Louis McNab


I'm a 17 year old prog rocker, soon-to-be college student (hopefully) and chain smoker who writes anything at all, really. Q: Can I use some of your *anything at all ever* A: Sure, I don't real.. more..