This poem was composed after an exercise at drama school, where I performed a character in a long-term improvisation for three days. The improvisation was set in 1649, and my character's name was Emmanuel, a veteran of the English Civil War. This poem went through many different versions as the writing was subsequently incorporated into a performance piece in a play. This is the Emmanuel version.
After the thaw, the sun was shining,
And the warmth had returned.
He had been alone, and he was happy alone.
But then he was changed.
He sipped from a sweetly poisoned cup.
And thirsted forever more.
Before, he would briefly encounter
And then release without regret.
Her stillness. Her intensity.
This was not mere satisfaction.
It was a joy he did not understand.
It grew in him,
Beautiful and cruel.
When he woke, it was night.
And the heat of the day,
Had been flooded by the cool of the moon.
And he was alone.
And in his solitude he felt
A feeling from the heat of battle.
© Jack Blackburn, 21st April 2013