I found myself one day
wrapped up in a cage.
I stared around my surroundings
and to my senses I felt pain.
The forest air relaxed around me
but breathing I heard on the forest plain.
What’s this metal cage that surrounds me?
And where am I, I implored.
And beyond a large oak tree
stepped a little girl who held a key.
I beckoned her name!
I shouted so fiercely!
Oh but did I scare the child away?
She looked on at me with a childish gaze
But what, did she put me in this cage?
And squarely in that moment,
we began to hear the pant of horses’ hooves
strangely men sounded, across a river brook.
Along the forest path a new cage dawned
and was dropped on the ground
with a man inside, sleeping at once.
And with a toss of her hand, and turn about her stance
the young girl left
and flying in the air
the key that I believed would let me free
landing straight in the cage
of this other man!
The scene cleared up and once again,
I heard the breeze of the forest air.
The key shimmered, tickled gently by the sun.
Would that I be wrapped in this cage! The dizziness of freedom calls my name! Caress me wind, touch my face! Whisper me rhythms, that freedom may stay!
Oh freedom! Oh freedom! Worthless life–
Tell me something,
as I lay in wait.
A fortnight passed without a trace.
The little girl brought food to us in our cage
–And though I tried to make acquaintance with his name
He only held the key somberly, as if looking for a familiar face.
I asked him what it was that bothered him still.
Had I not been patient enough in waiting for this key?
That he could set me free! Unbind my chains!
Oh but then, he only gave me that face.
I speak, “You urchin! Speak, why must I stay here in chains! –I ask that you give me, that key that you graze.”
He looks over to me, he’d been silent all these days. But then I saw the rapture, the eyes that he’d hidden from me all these days. A bloodshot red that terrified my soul with its gaze, but then he should reply, with this I say:
“Repent from the sins of youth! Repent from the future you! Repent the now of things –and set free that longing that binds you still!
Your freedom you see, is already given to you! That you stay in this cage, can’t you see that’s your safety too?”
To which I reply, “That you can say that to me now! I have decided, and decided I have now. My cage and your key –rather my key to my cage, that you hold! I have dreams that I should want to reach for, and can’t you see that you block me with your seething?
Look at how you smile! I have never seen anything more wicked! That you could hold a man imprisoned, with at no expense to yourself! The key, the key! Look at how you coddle it like a child, but is that your child? It is my freedom!”
But the man did not give me the key.
Indeed, I saw that tears had filled his eyes
and with one last ignorant stride
he too wiped those from his mind.
He lay in his cage, but he did not wait.
Several years later,
I no longer sought escape.
This cage has been my home
and in it I will stay.
My partner in the other cage
he’s stayed much the same
and still in his hand he holds
that little key of mine.
The little girl from years past has now become a young woman.
She strides in from behind the oak tree
the drop of her gaze
the look of her ways
unfortunately or fortunately
have stayed largely
She looks at me and says, “Should I ask you about your stay? It seems to me that we’ve come a long way.
You sit there in disgust, I see it in your play.
The way you toss your food, and look at me in dismay.
But am I not your keeper? Your maiden for the day? But then why not everyday? Wouldn’t it be nice for us to play?
I see that you don’t enjoy my company much. But then, did you ever ask me what I enjoy?
The butterflies of this forest seek out the wisdom of the trees. For they stand the tallest when their roots would go down deep.
Deeper and deeper. Darkness is light! My poor men creatures, are they starving in light?”
A pleasantly unpleasant smile forms on the face of this young woman. A woman –I note, I have now seen with my own eyes.
The woman calls to her strangely men and in that moment
they hoist the man’s cage and leave the light.
The woman stays and stares longingly into my eyes
what did she say? I felt only riddles in my eyes.
Several nights pass, and I wonder if I’m alone. The man besides me has not returned, and there’s little for me to do.
I miss the countenance of his face, the stillness of patience that he had with his fate. Whereas I had mulled and stomped about my cage, he always held that same position, laying in a daze.
But then around the corner, the sounds of hooves’ and strangely men. The impending look, of that dame I sense coming too.
I turn to look and the men drop the cage, and in this cage I see the man with his countenance completely changed.
The peace in his eyes… gone! But then I remember that first fortnight, when I first saw those wicked eyes. The bloodshot manner, the hiding in disguise.
I reached out from my cage as if to touch him, to beg and plead that he may return to his stateless state. The horror on his face! Oh but could this be my fate too?
He looks to me, opens his mouth as if to say, but nothing escapes it
just a hollow wince of pain.
I look around the forest floor
and noticed that the air has changed
its thicker, foggy, more impure
and who’s that, standing in the way?
The woman, dangling a key about her wrist. Does she want me to take it? I’ll gladly leave this cage! But instead, she throws it, again, in the other man’s cage.
She speaks and addresses me, “Once again, I return to make a claim. All these years, my love you never asked a thing.
Is it not my key that I tossed into this man’s cage? Yet all this time, you never thought to ask a way?
Are you confused my darling? You thought so quickly that he had choice. When all this time, is it not I that put you in this cage?
Why not ask and beg and think to please? Would that not have suit your needs? Your freedom you want but little did you see, that even freedom has its wants, desires and its needs.
I am your freedom. I hope you do pleasantly see.”
The man besides me picks up the key, turns to me, a new sorrow in his face, in despise he stands up, firmly begins and speaks, “A decade I have spent, accepting all my fate! And my dearest maiden you,
have aptly twisted fate!
My child! My child! Oh but that you were a child, how could you not spare my child?
I held this key for in it I saw fate! I saw the pearly doors of heaven, that said to me just wait.
I waited for it! Though I did not wait in life. I stay content, but my child you have robbed!
You’ve twisted his heart, swallowed his mind, you’ve set him free from his cage, but I see that he’s still caged!
He follows you my maiden, now is that his fate? I see the longing in his eyes, and there’s nothing he can taste.
He digs the dirt with his hands! Makes mud-pies and breaks sticks in your name! My boy, my boy, that you have grown up in this way! How shallow I can say…”
The man kneels down on the floor and holds the key up to the light as if a cross and with a reverent bow, throws the key in the air towards my cage.
It arcs and follows
the wind that blows
and lands upon
the top of my cage.
I speak, “Oh, what a pleasant surprise. Thank you for tossing, the key to me. Thank you. Thank you. You graceful man, you!
I watched as this key, landed right upon my feet!
But! Oh but! It was a great big dream! This man should have the fortitude, to toss it on top of me! Above my cage! You fool, a mistake!
I chastise you! Condemned to your grave! Rot!
Prudently, I trust no man such as you! Who would cast his lectures of past, present, and fate. Who would go about, sitting around all day!
To think I once loved that face! Ah, but sorrow did I miss, I condemn you to your fate!”
I drop down cross-legged in my cage and pout.
The young woman smiles at me, says,
“This is indeed fate. Can you hear the Gods calling? That they should ask for your embrace.
Submit! And hear the bell chime loud. That you should hear its call, is all I ask of all.”
I stand up in fury, did I hear what she just said?
I speak, “Dearest maiden you fool! You surely cannot be true!
You would have me believe, that his toss of a key is fate? He’s a buffoon! A weightless weight! He carries nothing, yet puts everything on his plate.”
She smiles at me, that wicked smile that dame!
I grasp at the two poles of the cage in rage.
And just like that, I feel a them bend slightly in vain.
I widen my eyes, I close them quick, to let off my surprise, I must think of something quick!
I speak, “Curse that buffoon! Hah! And that you should think me enough of a fool to beg to you too! The key is not in your hands either! It is on top of this roof!
And that I should shake this roof down! My dearest maiden, do not promise, that which you can not furnish! Indeed it is not respectful, to any and all humans.”
I wiggle my shoulders as if to beckon her near
I stick out my tongue
wag at my ass
tilt with my head.
She tilts her head, speaks, “Would you have to mean, that you should listen to my deeds? Does a little rage, go so quickly to the core of man?”
I nod my head, “That you may free me from my cage, and that I may serve the pleasures of my maid.”
Thus the young woman smiled, and moved closer to me.
One step first, a careful gesture indeed,
She speaks, “I find it well, that you beckon to my needs.”
A second step later, my, her appearance exceeds!
She speaks, “Let me hold your key –can you offer me your peace?
A little, light hop: and there she stood, in front of my cage.
I watched as she stood
her eyes, her face, her feet
the scent of honey
a dash of rose and meek.
Ah my maiden, the falsest freedom you send.
She stands on her tip-toes to reach for the key
and in this moment I take
–a step, a hop, a leap
into an embrace.
The poles of the cage bend easily,
our bodies fly through the air
I catch the gaze of her smile
as we land upon the floor.
I stand up and run as we thud
I’m off this time I’m sure!
But still I take one look back to ensure.
There she lies on the forest floor
and rolls about in playful glee
a stark contrast to the other man
on her face
a smile forevermore.