Posted by: David Harley | June 29, 2013

Third-Degree Burns

First love
taught me to hide my heart
wasting no tears on the times when
tongue-tied and panic-stricken
I talked too little
or too much
and prayed for cures
for timidity and acne

love taught me
if not to fly
at least to shake a feather
defiantly toward the sky:
if I saw myself as eagle-winged
certainly I strutted bantam-like
and mastered the art
of crash-landing

taught me to cheat and to curse;
to fight fire with fire
and live on behind the blisters;
that the person who knows you best
can cut nearest to the bone;
that guilt and anger
are natural bedfellows;
that pity
is more destructive than hate;
that no-one can plead
Not Guilty
in a divorce court

have taught me
how little I’ve learned

Can I teach you to trust me
or me to trust myself?


First published in Chaff 1
Copyright David Harley, 1984


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