The Constant Stranger


Lost soul riding a lightning strike!
Damning thunder slips shudders
through a tormented, hammered
city.  God, you know the damage
such a one wreaks – the tears,
the torment that the so-called
innocent face.  But who?  Who
are innocent, truly?


Not me, for certain!


Damned for the truth, I know
my guilt, and I plead guilty
before the judge.  Long ago
the verdict was given, fairly.


That’s me, damn straight!


When did my own purity not
reek?  When did my righteous
strivings not offend the heavens?
I ride Satan’s lightning, laughing –
bitterly laughing.


I have been cast from hell – cast
away from the gates.  Not one
within will recognize the soul
that has been lost to them!


My sentence is wearying – bear
the burden of the freed.  Carry
the suffering of joy.  Learning
love’s demand; become strong
in my own weakness.


Take the ridicule of intelligent,
reasoning others, and proffer
kindness, mercy, and sympathy.


Captive me, a soul lost to self.



Posted at dVerse for Poetics.

40 thoughts on “The Constant Stranger

  1. “Not one
within will recognize the soul
that has been lost to them!”
    Now that has to be the greatest torment of them all, making me think one experiences greatest suffering in purgatory…

    I remember when that album came out sometime when I was in high school. Watching this video brings back a memory I thought about while listening to that song played with the San Francisco Symphony. I pitied the orchestra, used to playing such intricate music of the past four centuries, exercising their souls on their instruments. Sure Hatfield is letting it all out here, but with all those sustained notes on the strings it must be hard to keep up the energy. However, I do like the effect, just wish it wasn’t the rock bands that keep symphonic music “relevant.”


  2. This is packed with a great deal, Charley. Allusions are only the tip of the iceberg. The burden and the required response are so exacting and accurate. Strong in one’s own weakness and the ridicule of the opposition – clear images made here. I agree with Paul – this is one of your best. Outstanding writing!


  3. This soul scorched bolt burns the page as we read. “Lost soul riding a lightning strike!” is probably your best image ever. I want way, way more of that.


  4. I love the brave shape, Charley, and the exciting opening line which immediately drew me into the poem..
    There’s a lot of sound and movement and the asides are effective.After reading it, I thought, ‘Better out than in!’ Those demons won’t release themselves. And thanks for the burst of one of my favourite Metallica songs beside ‘One’.


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