Eyes Down [poem]

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They averted their gaze when they looked into mine;
I know that look — I’ve seen it many times.
I saw the children dwelling in their hearts
cowed defeated — couldn’t even start
to stare into the eyes of those who stood
before their sallow frozen features.

Just how many swipes across the face does it take?
Leaving bitter traces — eyes then taper
down (for they never gaze at you in yours)
but only make a furrowed frown of fear
as if they wore a crown of poisoned thorns
in broken-pointed unfulfilment.

Never [sigh] do they look into the open sky.
Firmaments closed no matter how they try
to spatter through the craven countless whys
which drones unwise engraved into their dreams
when they were small and helpless smithereens
unsympathied; now broken reeds.

© 2011, Alan Morrison

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