Old Stairs

I can take old stairs
A salt from lost tears
Perceiving time as incarnation
Shouldering duffel
Backpack full of fear

When hearing walks
Shocks give, tread through hunching spine
No conscience raising better judgment
Each measured step is weight to mind

It’s me… what has been
Shackles forge at will

Self-fulfilling prophecies
She’ll hold me, better, still…

When life returns new feeling
Home not in her head
Travel weary; wrists stop bleeding
Want love before I’m dead

Would you care to hear me read this poem?

*The above poem is my response to our special James Rainsford edition of the One Stop Poetry  Picture Prompt Challenge. Being the awesome artist that he is, James has offered a choice of 6 photos today. Feel free to pick one and write a poem or 55 Fiction (aka Flash 55) based on the prompt you choose!

35 Responses to “Old Stairs”

  1. betweenhearts75 Says:

    As always Adam your writing skill is incredible. “Shackles forge at will” ~ I’m actually sort of testing myself right now so I really understand so much that line. Though some may not understand fully the reasons, my reasoning is to attempt to regain focus. 🙂 Anyway perhaps I’m strange but resisting the very element I am so weak to…things I love, enjoy in… ~hard to explain but this has such a strong effect to me in the writing…because I don’t want to fall foolishly and be deceived 🙂 yeah… “want love before I’m dead” ~ I can feel so much emotion in this and you know what, reading it casts a certain light in it too, for me, so thank you for it!

  2. great write my man.
    I really dig “No conscience raising better judgement
    Each measured step is weight to mind”


  3. Appreciate the encouragement, A.

  4. Fabulous response… not at all what I was expecting for this picture: the image of a world-weary traveller trudging up the stairs rather than opting for the easy ride up escalator… That last stanza is a real cry from the heart, felt all the way over here.

  5. It’s me… what has been
    Shackles forge at will
    Self-fulfilling prophecies
    She’ll hold me, better, still…

    I love your take on the stairs–quite unexpected for me, a twist that works especially the line I quoted. Thanks for sharing it, Adam!

  6. I can take old stairs
    this is deep, filled with emotion

  7. great take on the photograph, Adam. yeah, we want love before we die.

  8. strong write adam…the wrist stops bleeding is a def emo puller…very creative look at the pic…

  9. The stairs are ascending – or possibly descending – into the lines of your poem. Well done, sir.

  10. love how you start this adam – and love how you end it (and all in between..) – very strong and descriptive and full of deep emotions and longing..is there catharsis in your writing as well..?
    rgd. your question…in mine almost always is..

  11. The poem’s focus on the stairs rather than on the 2 “people movers” in the photo immediately gives a sense of trudging forward. Dogged steps seem to shuffle through old lifetimes (as symbolised by the stairs). Powerful!

  12. I was out of breath by the time I stepped to the end of this. Moving poem even though the stairs do not. Heavy contemplative piece that is universal in nature.

  13. This really hit home how difficult inner metamorphosis is. You can change, hell, we can all change, but do we ever stop wishing to find that other part of us that makes us want to return home and stop travelling? Multi layered, but hard hitting Adam, photo kind of reminds me of roads not taken. Great write, as usual 😉

  14. Adam, I love how this can be interpreted in many ways, although for me ’twas more of the essence of : I can take this familiar path, the one that I already know, but it doesn’t satisfy me, because it’s stale. I want something more, something to feel, something (or someone) to love and receive it in reciprocity without forcefulness.

    As always,

  15. Want love before I’m dead. This works from from either perspective of just coming down or preapring to climb, old stairs. In fact the moving steps can ease the journey up or down. Sounds like the MC could use the rest. Great piece. And thanks for your comment.

  16. Perceiving time as incarnation
    Shouldering duffel
    Backpack full of fear

    hearing walks
    Shocks give, tread through hunching spine
    No conscience raising better judgment
    Each measured step is weight to mind

    all powerful ~ descending and ascending those chromed stairways ~
    but nothing mindless here no automated movements but full of measured thought ~rucksack ~ Power packed ~ Brilliant ~ Lib ~ @Libithina

  17. Fine writing adam, full of what can only be called a measured angst. The little deaths and shackles, one at a time, wearing or slicing at us, the senseless-feeling perseverance, the weight of the past and the present carried on the back–your adjective choice here is just masterly, as is the final line.

  18. Yes, this does manage to feel heavy and breathless, which is perfect. I’m also a sucker for rhyme, so you really got me with that as well. Last line, so poignant.

  19. Elaine Spall Says:

    Very emotional writing. Who knew you could go there with this prompt. Great!

  20. Powerful stuff!

  21. intense writing, adam. “wrists stop bleeding” is a powerful image for me – wanting love before I’m dead….I hear these words coming from the center of the soul. wonderful expressions

  22. I decided to listen to this first. You gave it an effective voice, in the pauses especially. Fine take on the photo prompt.

  23. interesting and really powerful . thank you

  24. The imagery and wording in the poem paint a most interesting portrait of the events.

  25. Great imagery built within the words Adam, “Home not in her head” asks questions, thanks for the comments over at my blog, much appreciated !

  26. last two lines really hit home.. such rawness..truth… as always, a wonderful write and very well read ~

  27. It’s amazing that my simple image of a deserted escalator could prompt such an intense and moving poem. Thank you Adam, both for this poem and for organising this week’s photo prompt. Kind regards, James.

  28. Sounds like a hard road to go, Adam.

  29. Killer last line Adam! Great poem.

  30. A backpack full of fear….we all seem to carry one around whether regarding love or life or fear itself….one of first things we much get rid of before we can live and love again….love this photo….bkm

  31. What a lovely reading of a powerful poem.

    Some vivid imagery there …backpack full of fear…shackles forge at will…such loneliness too.

    All the things a picture couldn’t say. But you said it most eloquently, Dustus.

  32. This is so good! That first stanza, backpack full of fear, sounds familiar.

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