“The Everlasting Room” by Tom Wayman

Tom Wayman


Red pain in a small room
That holds only me and pain.

Through a window
Green leaves spatter against green ground:

An image of some removed, pleasant place
Or hour. Within the room

Agony chooses what I do and
Can’t: boss, captain,

Decrees the sole acceptable thought:
Priest, instructor.

Pain is an entire house
Compressed into a single room.

In this constriction, minutes are fractured,
Misshapen. Without possibility of measure

Music fails. Wine and carpentry
Never existed. Each memory torched,

Vaporized: a room of fear trembles
In the room of pain.

No wonder we forget the dead.
Dying in pain, they forget themselves,

Remember only pain’s childhood,
Exams on pain, marriage

To pain: the body clamped to the anvil
Of pitiless time.

from Rattle #35, Summer 2011
Tribute to Canadian Poets

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