The Road of Bones

The Road of Bones


There is a zone between here and there,

Where few would choose to tread.

The baking ground shines bright

With the teeth and bones

Of those who lost their way,

Wandered long without a map,

And starved and lonely lay down to die.

The clean white bones, picked bare

Of flesh by wily carrion birds,

Lie as their owners fell.

And if you can but bear to look,

To stare long at the path they make,

The way ahead comes clear.

My path is made of ancient bones,

Holding still their unspoken words,

Waiting for kind and patient hands

To lay their jumbled lives anew

And read the way their bodies made.

I cannot tell which way to go,

Which path to follow, where to roam.

Beneath my feet is only sand

That’s made from bones returned to dust,

Gleaming silver under noonday sun.

No limbs stretch out, no fingers point,

No laughing skull grins at me;

Just pure white sand of powdered bone,

Stretched out till sky meets earth.

The sun is hot, the nights are ice,

But while the sand beneath my feet

Remains this eggshell textured sand,

Then I will know that others long ago

Have trod this road and lie here still,

Guiding my witless feet from harm.

The road of bones leads surely on

To what end I cannot guess;

Its end in sight, then I myself

Will lay my bones along the road,

To mark the way, while I go home,

On silver sand and joyful feet,

And leave the road of bones behind.

12 thoughts on “The Road of Bones

    • Many thanks J, but they never turn out the way they did in my head.
      I had a spell where I dreamed a great deal about travelling through a huge desert, and this dream prompted the poem, but I never felt I captured the emotion or the images I saw in the dream.
      ah well!


  1. It sounds like you are your own worst critic but I do know what you mean though.
    Most of what I write hardly ever turn out like I thought it would but then again I have very little experience of writing so figured maybe this is just how it works.
    I still think it is stunning and every time I read it I get images coming through.


    • Ha, very true.
      In some ways I don’t write at all, I listen and then transcribe what I hear. When I try to write, nothing much happens at all. I don’t know if this is what happens to others because I have hardly ever talked with other writers in any depth; the only person I did try to talk with turned on me because my way was not her way. Ho hum!


  2. I know what you mean about “trying” to write. I am not suggesting I am a writer at all but whenever I feel like I should write a post I usually end up staring at the screen until I decide to do something else.
    It’s the times when I just feel like writing something with no real plan in place that it seems to just flow.

    I love how you listen and transcribe what you hear and I actually remember you mentioning it in one of your previous posts.
    I was at Stansted airport a little while back and could not avoid the conversation that took place between 14 women going to spain on holiday. It was hilarious to listen to and you have just reminded me that I must look back at the notes I wrote. Maybe there’s a post hidden in there somewhere!


    • or a sit com….
      I’m thinking of writing a sitcom about a Language school…and call it “May contain nuts”. Or possibly a murder mystery.
      but only after I’ve moved on and can’t get sacked for it!


    • When the ideas come, I will. Maybe not a sitcom. My brother reckons I don’t have a sense of humour at all.
      Right now, all I am able to write are the articles on this blog and the occasional poem. Nothing else is there at all. I feel bereft!


    • Psych and J, I have a small confession to make about this poem: I haven’t got a clue about what it’s about or why I wrote it. I don’t know what it means. The words just appeared.
      Funny ole world isn’t it?


  3. The fact that the words “just appeared” just makes it even more beautiful.
    I don’t subscribe to the theory that creativity has to have some kind of deeper meaning. To me that concept blocks the creative flow (at least for me).

    I absolutely love and adore music, which is another art form where some people think that it has to have some kind of message or meaning hidden in there somewhere. What happened to being creative for the fun and enjoyment of it?

    I love playing and creating music that would not necessarily fit into any particular category or have any particular meaning.
    Sometimes it’s like I become one with the instrument and I sense that in your words.

    I loved the poem before and I still love it!



    • I’m glad you love it. In some ways, creativity is greater than an individual ego or expression and there is a mystery to it too. I can’t remember where I posted it but I did write a poem called Letting Go, that was about how once a piece of work has left you, it has its own life to lead. So how people interpret or understand a poem or whatever is actually beyond anything the author meant to say. Having studied literature at university in a number of languages, it became apparent to me that good literature left the most room for personal interpretation, and the best retained that space centuries or millenia after it was written. Having just read my daughter’s latest essay for university, quoting from Roman poets I studied 20 or so years ago, it becomes clear that what lasts is work that touches the human spirit that itself remains untouched by time and mores of those times. I can’t imagine that my work will be read in hundreds of year’s time(that would be a chance in a million) but when I work, in my heart is the hope that what I work with is something that touches the essence of human life, regardless of what century. I suspect the same is true of music.
      But that said, creativitiy is essentially the human spirit at play. What comes through it is something that is a gift of the grace of being able to play. I’m not sure I can explain without sounding “worthy” or sanctimonious, but in the end, when human beings play, like innocent children, the powers that be smile on us: and sometimes that sacred smiling brings gifts of the otherworlds beyond our conscious lives.
      Oh dear, I did sound rather pompous. Oops!
      I do write for fun and for sheer love of writing; if more happens, it’s not always my doing that does it. I’ve heard one or two people use the phrase “being in the zone” (which I hate) meaning a state of being where the writing just flows without effort. It’s rather a jolly time but my best writing has actually come when I have lost myself entirely and the words come without my bidding, and I lose awareness of time, the world beyond my keyboard, body needs and pretty much anything else. This is not a healthy way of working. Joanne Harris, in “Blackberry Wine” (incidentally one of her very best works) wrote, “there is in writing a kind of possession(madness) that is not altogther benign” and I concur. I only wish I had more to show for my life as a writer.


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