The following verse is from 1969. As is the case with many of the pieces I wrote at that time, I have no memory of composing it. It seemed to spring, fully-written, into my mind. I think is is a reflection of my state of mind at that time, which was that the loneliness I felt was a hopeless condition.
The floor is made of matted straw —
Enough to make his blisters raw,
Enough to make a catch-as-can
Pallet for a weary man.
At each new dimming of the light,
Begins a wakeful-watching night.
He gazes at the distant stars,
Checkered through the criss-cross bars.
His face seems old, or maybe tired,
The spark of youth long since expired.
He’s dressed in ragged, khaki shorts —
Large holes expose his nether parts.
Tonight, a woman with a pin
Tries to pick-lock her way in.
From her, a sharp, triumphant shout —
And, suddenly the gate swings out
The man runs out, and pulls up short,
A sudden wrenching at his heart,
He’d better take it stage-by-stage,
His only home has been a cage.
He squints at his new and larger room,
And makes out nothing in the gloom,
Nothing but a dreary night,
Somehow the outside isn’t right.
Is he free? Or trapped? Or who can tell?
He looks back at his former cell,
And slowly, seeming satisfied,
The woman locks herself inside.