The Prophet

Alone for all eternity,
I’m bound and banished
to this place of squalor,
in cold and storms
and through the lonely nights
as the wind screams clear
across the dampened moors
with nothing to stop it.
This wasted land is now my penance,
my haunt.

It is an empty openness,
this place,
the kind I once roamed,
young and naïve,
when I thought I knew what it was to live —
to be —
when I thought I had everything right.

I’ve discovered only now
(too late)
the depth of my mistakes.
Only now
that life has flown
like leaves upon the wind,
taking with it all freedom,
only now have I begun to understand
what life was supposed to be,
supposed to mean,
what everyone had tried to tell me
all along.

Now I see that I never lived with grace
nor honesty, nor truth.
I wandered these lands
spouting empty words,
pretending to be a leader of men
and a messenger of life,
thinking I was a Great One;
dreams of grandeur, misplaced.

I thought they – you – wanted to hear,
I thought I had something to share,
but I led us all astray.
Beware those signposts in the gloom;
they lie.
It was I who painted them
for all to follow,
dripping falsehoods across faces,
now weathered.

I am left with nothing,
but an existence as faded as those signs;
empty words in aninfinite, empty land.

Let that be a lesson to you.


This wasn’t what I set out to write for this first week at the brand new Grammar Ghoul Press, but my somewhat preoccupied mind spewed it out this morning and refused to let it go.

To read other entries in this first weekly challenge, and for information on this exciting new writing hub (it’s broader than the weekly challenge!), please click on the ghoulish badge above. 


14 thoughts on “The Prophet

  1. “I’ve discovered only now (too late) the depth of my mistakes.” – this line struck me… I think that would be the worst torture; to have the burden of looking back and realizing how wrong you’d lived .

    • Yes, exactly, and especially when it’s too late to do anything about it, when you’re powerless and have to exist with the burden. Thanks for reading – I’ve missed your thoughtful comments 🙂

  2. The problem is that we seldom learn from the mistakes of others. And we should be fortunate enough to learn from our own mistakes while there is still time to right them.
    Well done.

    • Quite right! It takes being open and introspective and aware. Not easy, but by far better than the alternative. Thanks, Thom. I made it to the party after all 🙂

    • Thank you! I really thought I wouldn’t have it in me to write something, but then everything I’ve been dealing with came out in these words. Sometimes, often, upheaval can inspire!

  3. Beautiful and evocative. I love the introspection and the lessons in this. There are many wonderful parts, but I think this is my favourite:

    “Only now
    that life has flown
    like leaves upon the wind,
    taking with it all freedom”

    Nicely done, my friend! 🙂

  4. I found this haunting. I love how you warn that the signs lie, you would know, because you painted them. Brilliant. I think that’s a fear of mine, to look back over life and find I done it all wrong, and cannot have redo. Lovely poem.

    • Thank you! I kind of liked the signs part too 🙂 And I know what you mean. I find myself wondering frequently whether I’m doing things right. Don’t want to find out later that I wasn’t!

  5. Oo I see you’ve been inundated with haunted voices, lately 🙂 I really enjoyed the atmosphere you conjured here –
    “as the wind screams clear
    across the dampened moors”

    And the voice sounds so authentic in its remorse and frustration. My favourite lines were:
    “Beware those signposts in the gloom;
    they lie.”
    In part because they read wonderfully and in part because the character still can’t resist a bit of declaiming, now and then 😉

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