Vicariously be an angel by leaving well enough alone…


Imagine a picture of a man with a boy – the man
has his hand on the boys left shoulder, which
means that the man is standing to the boys
right – because of their resemblance it is likely
they are father and son.

They are in a room of the house where the boy
grew up – there is no background – no color. It
is as equally possible that they are rich as that
they are poor. You could make up a story about
the boy and the man…

Insert some meaning about the mans hand, or
make something up about the weight of it on
the boys shoulder – or that there is significance
to it being on the left and not the right, do not
spare them your speculation.

Fall in love with your story about the man
and the boy, now go ahead and take sides
with one or the other of them – you know
that one of them is right and that the other
is wrong.

It will help the condemnation process if you
are able to make the wrong one your enemy –
for how else will you be able to sew the mask
of his future executioner from the threads of
your imagination.


A long time ago a ship left a harbor – at the
dock to see the ship off was a woman waving
a hankie – she was old and she told those who
would listen that she had earned each and
every one of her wrinkles.

She was sending her first son across the water
to a land of stone to send back enough granite
to build for her a mausoleum, and as she turned
to make her way back home she somehow felt


The captain of this ship was a notorious drunk
who flogged his crew while sipping brandy. He
made so many shipboard waves that one day
his crew threw him overboard and into one of
them, which then carried him away.

And slowly plank by plank and splinter by splinter
the ship fell apart until the sea was filled with
bobbing heads holding onto floating cargo. The
old womans son survived and eventually washed
up on a craggy shore.


He became a stone mason, took a wife and built
a house, sending rocks and the occasional block
back to the old woman who did eventually build
herself a mausoleum. And when she died, she
was positively lighter – a feather buried in stone.


Now back to the picture – If you look very closely
in the mans eye you might see the entire above
story or you just might see a picture of a man and a
boy and never wonder about the weight of the mans
hand on the boys left shoulder.


13 responses to “Vicariously be an angel by leaving well enough alone…

  1. No eyes could hold such a picture without consequences… and no angel could accept his commission without examination of those eyes. So, if there are repercussions, are they, then, not the fault of the angel?

  2. Beautiful. I especially love how the third stanza flows into the rest of the story. Excellent site, too. Take care.

  3. so much here poetman–I remember the weight of the hand

  4. I’m a people watcher, every chance I get. This piece reminds me of how many times I make up stories about the people I see.

    And – just because I can – I’d like to imagine that resting hand as one that offers strength, protection and connection for that little boy.

  5. Very Immanitive!-It does raise alot of questions.
    Thank You.

  6. such evocative images.. so many layers of weight and light… this is a novel in itself,, and a story that will never cease being told… excellence…

  7. set up in a format that complements the story.. a relationship between a man and a boy is not told enough in the small weight of his hand.. where lies the affections of unspoiled male pride…

  8. Wow, quite a picture indeed. Great story.
    “and when she died she was positively lighter, a feather buried in stone”
    I really liked that line.

  9. Bob – Fault…mmm…culpable – the angel…well I am not sure…I as a human being make up meaning every chance I get – and I make up stuff about people all the time – with the barest of information…and sometimes I just get it wrong…sometimes I just don’t know where the weight in the picture is…

    Julie…Why thank You!

    Scot – Thank You…

    EDG – …as a poet sometimes questions are better to pose than to pose like I have the answers…

    whypaisley – well those words of yours are mightily appreciated…so with sincerity I thank you for them…

    pieceofpie – Thats an interesting take on the poem…
    I’ll give it some thought…about the male pride part, I mean.

    krkbaker – well done, the line that you point out is the pivot of the whole piece…at least for me…

  10. You are a genius, you know that? You are one real gem on this hotch-potch internet. Well deserving of some great, great recognition.

    Fabulous imagery – each and every single word of yours holds the reader with a grip quite like the mariner in Coleridge’s melodrama. There is an inscrutable yet perfect rhythm, and a profound depth which completes an infinitum of circles. Fabulous.

  11. Dearest 1Poet4Man,
    I have awarded you the Arte Y Pico blog award. I am not much for visiting these days, anywhere on the net, but I know your impact on me and hope this will drive them to you.

    Mark (thepoetryman)

  12. The ending to this particular poem was as delightful as it was filled with power.

    Thank you.

  13. Sumedh – Thank you, your words and praise are appreciated…and perhaps one day these poems will be read by a greater number of people – and I hope that they may see themdelves more clearly – that I might contribute to that…

    The Poetry Man – Thank You for your kind words and for the award – or should I say – Aw Shucks…

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