The Archer by Peter Adair

I am not a silent poet

You were the archer who missed the mark,

the cyclist who lost his way in mist,

the runner fleeing his shadow.

When you fumbled your lines in school

Mr Brass snapped: ’Can’t you read, fool?’  Under

the ruck you curled up; studs trampled over you.

Rigid on the garden seat or clamped down for dinner

hands never touched.  The gods just nattered

on high or ate in silence.  You ached for praise.

How early were you broken?  Whose careless hand

one sunny morning shattered your glassy brain?

Those yells still echo, splinters pierce your skin.

Your heart or your nerves was the weak spot

the strong unerringly found.  Each arrow hit home

till you, the simple and blameless, were cut right through.

Bullies sniff their victim’s scent.  They marked you out

for sacrifice, smirking, laughing, dragging you

to the pyre where you shot back arrows from the flames,

taking a…

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