Shadows of the past [Poem]

This is a poem by John Tustin.

Shadows of the past 

loom large over me.

Cast a gauzed smoggy pall

over all I am.

And I think of the mess

I made of things,

the mess I make of things,

will always 

make of things.

A tremulous ship,


frayed sails,

shattered compass,

blood splattering the decks,

battered beyond repair

or recognition.


in the toxic tempest.

I wasn’t good to you

a life time ago;

I dwell on that.

And I can still see you crying

as you packed up your hair dryer.

I sat impassively,

not sure if I should let

my own tears come.

I didn’t even wait with you

at the bus stop.

You didn’t know it

and I didn’t know it,

but the words I had in me

were all written for you.

I held them inside me

most of the time.

For a dozen years

I couldn’t speak,

didn’t want to,

not because I lost you,

but because I let you go.

You told me years later

(when we happened to meet

and I apologized for all I was

and wasn’t)

that we were “just kids” then,

but I was as old

as I was going

to get.

I think of you now

and I want you smiling,

I want you to love.

Your eyes always 

betrayed your emotions,

as my actions 

exposed my phenomenal lacking.

I never grow,

I expand,

basking in my profundity.

Repeating my detrimental proclivities,

dismayed eternally by my emotional violence.

I was afraid

I would break you,

fragile beautiful thing

just removed from the box,

me a childly oaf

knowing only how to demand

and  demolish.

You were 


and ambitious 

and so beautiful

and I was

none of those things

and you always had somewhere

to go.

John Tustin began writing poetry again dozen years ago and his poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals, online and in print. contains links to his published poetry online.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s