Oak (Names)

Oak (Names)

A Poem by Alexander Gillespie

At a school near where I used to live, which had big wooden benches with the names of pupils who had gone there. Reminded me of Keats' last words and I wondered if we live on in the minds of others.

Against stone, oak bears me 
my weight, my inane talk. 
My scars, its own scars. 
War wounds more mighty than a sword could blow. 
Names of lives and dates, loves 
that have long since grown cold. 
Harlston sat here once 
with time to immortalise 
himself in mortal frail flesh. 
Did the corridor buzz? (was it dark) 
All that is left is his fading name. 
I press harder against the bench, 
the sun close to setting the long shadows 
to rest. I can almost hear Harlston write. 
There is more to his story, shavings of 
memory dusting the floor, broken 
apart and old. 
It says: 
Here was man alive, 
alive for how long? 
No songs they'll sing. 
No wreath of plastic. 
But he loved and was loved, 
he felt the shivers under his skin, 
along the dead line of his bones 
and followed them. 
Write your name in oak 
so it lives in the minds of men. 
Written on thought's branches 
to grow a tree. 
I stare into the depths of fire. 
(Yellow, gold, red 
shake off the day 
and head to the east, 
left with a name.  

© 2012 Alexander Gillespie

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I love poems like these, organic poems that grow out of a simple moment of inspiration. This is very well written and shows a real philosopher's mind. Well done.

Posted 8 Years Ago

The words you used were beautiful. It showed sadness and such wonder. Nice work.

Posted 8 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on November 30, 2012
Last Updated on November 30, 2012
Tags: Life, Death, Oak, Names, Sun, Eternity


Alexander Gillespie
Alexander Gillespie

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

I write poetry about the small beautiful things. Failing that I pick the first thing I see. more..