Ghosts

On the field where they played,

Grassy Hillocks and the heaving emerald treeline

were great stadium walls –

swaying; roaring with a thousand eager eyes.

 

Sunbleached goal-posts,

warped and weathered from a hundred old wars:

The gateways to victory and immortality.

 

The misshapen ball

wedged beneath handlebars,

trainers scuffed,

And souls liberated.

 

Long shadows streaked

as the sky fired amber –

rouge –

and a million colours never devised.

 

Humid breeze caressed sodden shorts;

The downy, crumpled earth

scorched by long days.

 

Rucksacks of sustenance,

but bellies grumble for dinnertime –

Regardless –

The game sped on under the sky’s darkening arc.

 

A world untainted –

unpolluted by the riddles of others.

They imagined:

Impossible feats

Limitless ambitions.

 

Here,

They were unbridled and unencumbered,

ensconced in reverie,

until the light gave out.

 

Years pass

in a haze of anxiety.

Summers and winters turn like a wheel.

 

The world moves –

Schisms.

Dreams coalesce.

Those once-familiar faces fade

into the crumbling headstone of memory.

 

But that hallowed place –

that vast arena of yesterday,

is trapped inside a glass prism –

Ageless –

still basking in that engulfing evening hue.

 

The clatter of feet and echoing calls that never ceased,

as if the protagonists never left.

The plateau silent now though –

as if they never even existed.

 

No marks record their stories.

 

Place has no memory

and time has no mercy.

But the heart wrenches,

as he walks by.

 

The field where they played,

The field where they retreated,

The field where they grew –

Where they roamed –

And where their youth remained –

Frozen –

Long after they departed.

 

Glancing over his shoulder,

One final time,

he catches sight of his history –

of unredeemable promises,

that capriciously slipped from fingers:

 

There,

They are still running,

Still shouting

and laughing –

still thirteen and blissfully unknowing…

 

But he can’t call out to them now, those fleeting ghosts –

He can’t fall on that cool, dry grass –

or speed away on his bicycle into the cool night

when the game was won.

Because he is thirty years old,

and this was all another life –

that no longer belongs to him…

 

A life that drifted away

In that warm summer air.