Richard Pierce

Life, Poetry

Day 191

On O’s recommendation, M and I watched 1917 late last night. As the final few seconds of the film played, the first line of the below just popped into my head. I think it started as a meditation on courage and that there’s someone always worse off than us (and probably braver), and morphed into a thought piece about depression. I don’t normally write rhyming poetry unless I’m writing lyrics, so this is a very strange piece. M liked it, and so do I. And I wrote it today gone midnight, so it counts as today’s original piece of writing.


We think we are the walking wounded
The ones that life missed out.
We think we are the footsore,
The ones life left in doubt.

We think we are forgotten angels
The ones death left behind,
The winged and flaming spirits,
The only of our kind.

We think we are the chosen ones
Whose wounds bleed crimson gold.
We are part of those legions
Living with minds born old.

We are the chemically unbalanced,
The terminally depressed,
The medicated millions
The sane think are possessed.

R 10/07/2022 00:40



‘This can’t be right,’ Lilibet says. ‘They’ll go mouldy, surely.’

‘It’s cold in here,’ Aggie says. ‘Some sort of suspended animation.’

‘You have an explanation for everything.’

‘I’m a machine of logic.’

‘How come you’re in love then?’ Lilibet says.

Aggie grabs her hand. ‘Am I?’

‘It feels like it to me.’

‘And are you?’

‘That would be telling.’ Lilibet doesn’t let go of Aggie’s hand. ‘But it feels like it.’

‘How does love feel?’

‘Like you feel right now.’


Lilibet nods. ‘And a rush from somewhere below your ribs, like you want to shout, like you can’t catch your breath, and like you have too much breath in your body all at the same time.’

‘How do you know?’

‘Because I feel it.’

‘That’s what it felt like for me when he … when … that time ago.’ And she tells Lilibet about the baby again, and the nightmares and the pain, and the blood, and the seemingly endless feeling of bleeding to death. ‘And then it didn’t feel like it anymore. And then nothing.’

‘And now?’

‘And now it feels like that all over again. And I’m afraid.’ Aggie’s breath hangs in the air now, and sits there, a small cloud of exhalation and soul.

‘Don’t be afraid. Not of me, not of what we feel.’

‘How can it just happen so suddenly, so unpredicatbly?’

‘It just does,’ Lilibet says. ‘And it feels different every time. In some small way.’

‘I could never hurt you.’

‘I know.’

Aggie sighs.

‘And I won’t ever hurt you,’ Lilibet adds.

‘Can we ever make such promises?’

‘Of course we can if we mean to keep them.’

‘To find an excuse not to keep them?’

‘I won’t find an excuse, and neither will you.’

‘How do you know?’

‘I just know.’

‘It’s something the logic machine can’t understand.’

‘Oh, Aggie, logic makes you overthink.’

‘That’s it. And right at the beginning of this, just a few days ago, I promised myself to stop thinking, to stop looking for the cathedral in the dark every night when I don’t sleep.’


‘I walk to the cathedral in Norwich every night after its light goes out just to make sure it’s still there and hasn’t disappeared under cover of darkness.’

‘But that’s not logical, Mrs Logic Machine.’

‘Of course it is. Logic needs proof. When the lights go out, the cathedral can’t be seen any more. So I need to get to get proof that it is still there. Seems entirely logical to me.’

‘And you’d promised yourself to stop doing it.’

Aggie nods. ‘And then I did it anyway. And found Zak. He was going to kill me. Or so it seemed.’

‘And now we’re here.’

‘And now we’re here,’ Aggie says. ‘Surrounded by sleeping bodies.’

‘Unless they’re dead.’

Aggie walks up to the nearest bunk, puts her hand on the arm of the closest victim. ‘A very slow pulse. A beat every twenty seconds.’

‘Three a minute. They must be fit.’

‘Very funny.’

‘What now?’ Lilibet says. 

‘I don’t know. We leave, and tell Robert …’

The lights switch on, and the glare blinds Aggie for a minute. She hears a collective breath, and the bodies begin to move.

‘A trap,’ Lilibet says.

There is no howling or screaming or roaring. These are not monsters. They are silent killing machines, and they have only one mission. Aggie and Lilibet turn for the door, but it slams shut.


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