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Barry Prize Poetry Winner: Warwick Lloyd

*The Unknowing

By Warwick Lloyd

He likes this road

It offers a troubled peace

A comfort that He could continue

To exist

As he watches his shadows pass

Beneath the lamplight.

They trail him for a while,

Grasping at his conscience,

Questioning his decisions

And he broke

His mind scatters

To the wind.

They emerged, the four

Of them

And for a moment he could not

Distinguish one from another

That distinction, he knows,

Lies within.

They bicker, argue amongst themselves

Or at least two of them do.

Those ones are easy to recognize

For they wait behind every decision,

Hidden by a thinly veiled curtain

All too willing to act

One furious

One sneering

The third figure holds itself higher


They clearly think themself better

And they move to step

Between the twins

Somehow managing to shine

Brighter than all else around them.

But the golden glow illuminates

The greed beneath

They act selfishly, greedily

Seeking to overshadow the fourth

Who does not wish to be seen.

All four the same and yet it shrinks

Scurrying from the light

And all it entails

Why does it fear the truth

Unless its essence is a lie.

He struggles on,

Knowing they will follow,

Moving onwards into the heart

Of the sun.

Watching as they trace a path

Moving alongside into one,

A figure he should recognise

For all the times it has stared

Back at him

But it is marred, distorted

The features are right

But the motives are all wrong

This cannot be.

It is naught but poison

Dripping from an open sore.

The golden glow lies

It must

For his sake

It must.

Flee now, out of the harsh glare

Into the soothing darkness beyond.

Confronted once more though

It lies ahead

Its existence blurred by shadow

Masking the truths

It is comfortable

The sharp edges dulled

And made soft

Bearable enough to reach

To feel soft skin press back

To embrace and to be embraced

Sorrow, now, for this lie

Hurts more than the prior truths

So much effort to push it away

And move onwards.

There it is

The road to nothingness

I turn, briefly,

To seek guidance

From fleeting images

Those who were,

Those who will be,

And those who may

Only in the confines of their

Own nonexistence.

One step,

They say,

To sleep now and return forever

One step then

To tell me I lived

And now I’m falling




And I never land.

*Editor's Note: Both the title and body of the original text appeared in "Shadows Into Light" font, size 13.