The Tale of a Balloon and a Piece of String

by Martin Shone

Dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
unshaven, unclean, ugly and smelly
his head is bowed, shoulders sagging
it’s summer so he isn’t cold yet
he sits and sits and sits
all around him the birds visit
the animals walk by
he is in their world
they sense no danger from him

dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
with a mind full of ache
full of despair too
and sorrow

Once upon a time dishevelled man
was in love and was loved
and happiness reigned in his
in their hearts
sweet kisses they shared
sweet romances they gave each other
sweet love of touch and sleep they enjoyed
sweet came easy for they were
true and of the same piece of soul
so love was easy

Dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
as a clown walks through the forest
on his way to market to sell
his balloons
he whistles a tune
the birds fly and the animals scamper

dishevelled man looks up
with his creaky neck and itchy beard
clown man stops as dishevelled man
beckons him
he points to a balloon but has no money to pay
clown goes on his way
but stops as dishevelled man
beckons him with a poem
clown man turns and accepts
the payment of a poem

dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
holding a piece of string holding a balloon
he traps it in his fingers
and watches as the balloon tries to escape
in the breeze
he allows the string to slide right down to the base
and stop
the balloon jerks to a halt and wobbles
way above his head
he rolls the string around his fingers
till the balloon is in front of his face

Once upon a time dishevelled man
and his love were this close and closer
his face aches to smile as he sees her now
in front of him
bobbing as she would
a spirit, light, innocent, pure
for him she danced
for him she loved
and he loved and danced for her
yet
time. Oh how evil is time –
it wends along being time
aging is time and aching is time
till
at one time, one moment
the dance stops.

Dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
a tear forms easily and rolls to hide
in his beard
he eases the string a little and watches the balloon
dance in the breeze

Once upon a time dishevelled man
waited for his love to dance for him
yet she did not come to him
he waited and waited
yet she did not come
he searched without success
the town searched without success
his love was no more
his heart ached for her
yet no one knew where she had gone
and he knew she had not joined another
for no other was her soul’s other half
so he knew something had happened
yet nothing was found – ever
she was no more

Dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
and releases some more string
and watches the balloon swing and sway among the branches
his tears now drip from his beard
and onto dry leaves that drink
he watches the dance as Mother Nature drinks

Once upon a time dishevelled man
came to the conclusion that she was taken
by force or that she had died
yet no news was forthcoming
nothing ever, ever, ever was heard of his love
and so he became
dishevelled man

Dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
and unwinds the balloon
all the way and watches her sprightly movements
amongst the branches and leaves
Oh how she dances for him
and oh how he cries
and how his tears feed the leaves
beneath his feet

dishevelled man watches and smiles and cries
while
his tears soak through and into the earth
into Mother Nature herself
right into her heart
and she cries too
at this sad moment
she cries and calls
she calls for the wonderment
she calls for the merriment
she calls for the joyousness
she calls for the dancers
she calls for the smiles
she calls for the singers
she calls for the earth
she calls for all her nature
to search for his love
and they search
they search
they search
search
search
search
until

Dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
as a gust of wind rips the balloon
from his fingers
it floats away up, up, up
and the tears flood from dishevelled man
and they pour over him soaking
drowning his broken heart
he aches for the balloon for his love
his heart is flooded with ache
as he watches the balloon fade away
he watches his love leave him
for a second time
yet
he utters, he shouts to her
“Goodbye my love!”
his heart now stained with ache
beats
slowly it beats
as he sees the balloon one more time
“Goodbye my love!” he shouts
while his heart
beats no more

dishevelled man sits beneath a tree
head bowed
heart no more
life no more
love no more

Once upon a time dishevelled man
heard his name called
“Hello my love.”
he turns
now clean and handsome as he once was
now more tears fall
to soak into Mother Nature
who smiles
as the two are now one again

“Hello my love, shall we dance, shall we sing –
come – hold my hand – let’s walk
amongst the trees
amongst the fields
amongst the mountains
amongst the earth
come my love
let’s walk amongst ourselves
once more –

come, take my hand.”

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