The Voice In An Old Man’s Ear

I’ve not done a lot of writing lately. NaNo came and went without so much as a twitch from me in November. Winter has so far left me somewhat dyspeptic when it’s come to writing. But in the back of my head has lain the knowledge that next year my OU course stops focussing on the French element of my degree and shifts to the Creative Writing. And I’ll be expected to produce works in a variety of formats at prescribed times. Terrifying.

So when, rather out of the blue, my friend Jamie decided to throw down the gauntlet (yet again, it has to be said!) and have us a little challenge (possibly too strong a word …) whereby we share a picture that acts as inspiration for a piece of flash fiction (under 1000 words) for us both, it seemed like something that would a) pass the time, b) get some sort of juices flowing, and c) be a bit of fun!

The inspiration for my piece of prose poetry lies at the bottom of the article (in all its badly Photoshopped splendour) …

The voice in my ear has no body.

Not that anyone would call this a body.

It has no breath.

Not that a man would want these lungs.

It has no solidity.

Frail, like tissue.

Yet the words fall like iron bars into my brain.

Fall and spear a weakened heart, driving icy cold through what remains of my veins.

Such promises.

The voice is here again. Here always.

Such offerings.

The voice is chattering, calming, cajoling.

Desires laid bare.


Days. Weeks. Driving. Pushing.

The whisper in the night. The half-heard sound. The half-remembered song. The half-forgotten memory. The voice. The touch. The face. The eyes.

The smell of the taste of the sight of the touch of the sound of the feel of the kiss.

Driven. Dismissed. Parked. Locked.

A sight unseen. Young men. Laughing. Proud. Conjoined.

The murmuring increases.

A life unloved. Vitality.

The voice is loud. Insistent.

It questions. It shouts. It demands an answer. Shouting. Raging. Thumping. Twisting. Tearing.


Yes. Wanting. Needing. Yes.


Then there is light. Bright. Painful.

Then there is beauty. Water sheets, drains back amongst the willow roots and rushes.

Then there is a smile so wide. Wider than any ocean.

Then there is grey. Cloying. Gasping.

Why? Why?

Fading. Beauty receding. Untouched.

A fuselage. Young men. Flames. Screaming. An orange cap.

Collapsing. Slumping. Greying.

The voice in my ear has no body.

Nobody wants to claim this body.

It has bite. It has teeth. It snarls.

An eternal youth.

No. Nonononono. No!


A wet cheek.


A shudder.




One comment

  1. When I sent you the picture as inspiration, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and poetry was a nice surprise.

    There’s a wistful, longing, quality to it. Yearning, wanting – and yet very regretful. Something that’s almost sad. It reads/feels like a raw memory of an event, like a dream almost. Something that happened that was bad, and yet started out so good. Almost like the last thoughts someone is having, dying thoughts that are fading. The yearning in it is just… amazing. You can’t help but want more when you get to the end of it. You can’t help but wonder what the memory/dream/event was, and what happened.

    You’ve still got it mister!


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