Poetry Drawer: Asking Directions: Padlocks and Tattoos: Insomnia by Ben Macnair

Asking Directions

I took the Road less travelled by,
and I got completely lost.
Not even Google Maps could help me,
thanks a lot, Robert Frost.

Padlocks and Tattoos

There are hundreds of couples,
who paint their initials on a padlock,
and attach it to a bridge,
for strangers to see,
decades from now.
Some men have tattoos,
of a love they hoped would be forever,
but is now a reminder
of the one who was before
the one before.
Some people have no tattoos,
no unused padlocks on bridges in a big city,
but like EE Cummings
will keep their memories of love
Inside their hearts.


When sleeplessness pounds
like spooked black Horses,
and the Night-Mare rears her hooves
calling across a canyon,
the hooves are a drum on the ground,
and pointed teeth and fetlock
are the blur of a shutter speed,
shadows are the shapes of fear
the sky is tainted black,
and the pin pricks of stars
mark the surface of a dream,
wake up.

For the shadows are only trees,
knocking against the window,
insistent you pay them attention
and the spooked black horse is calm,
carrying the eternal foot-man
who holds your coat,
but smiles and waves,
saying it is not time, just yet.
You know it was either the rain,
or the pipes that woke you,
but somewhere, out there,
is a Spooked Black Horse,
and unanswered questions.

Ben Macnair is an award-winning poet and playwright from Staffordshire in the United Kingdom. Follow him on Twitter.

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