The Well

The Well

You join me, gentle singer, as I edge my fingers thoughtfully between the stones that form this well.

We contemplate together how a feeble soul should thus attempt to climb back up and find the light

For here is dark and reeks of death or is it not so close? Perhaps I’ve stayed here quite so long to spite

My yearning need to learn how all of you will come to blows or love. I mourn it not because your spell


Has kept me here and, mostly dry and mostly safe, I’ve been protected. Yet I climb. For overhead

The churchyard playground sings to me with stately calls of everlasting peach-pink joy. Your holy bed

Will smother me again and yet I climb. Please watch me slowly haul my frame between this crevice, witness

Every pull and each shrill scrape, as, ape that still I am, I seek to overwhelm your bitterness


And heap before you these old bones to make you cry or laugh, and to forgive. For years again you almost thought

You wished me dead. At Nedham Street in Norwich bodies decomposed. I’m not supposed to steal the show.

So hush and throw down rope or cord. Help me to board a new-lit life. My hands are slipping. Now I’ve caught

Your hand. You lift me, not so dry, upon the grass, a fragment here, a splinter there. So now you know.


Our well stands empty now. Its bleak remains identified. Its mystery unfurled. A problem solved

So finally. Not quite. Not yet. But you can now get back to what I’ve kept you from. All guilt absolved.

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