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2005-03-24

SHADOWS OF SUBSTANCE

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Woman walking
In the crisp dimness of the night,
Shadowed by the street lights,
Bathed in their electric hum.

Her silhouette,
A shadow of substance,
Is stepping toward me
Or stepping away;
It's hard to say.
This distance plays tricks on my eyes
And on my longings
As I stand
(In another's eyes)
In the crisp dimness of the night,
Shadowed by the street lights,
Bathed in their electric hum,
A shadow of substance
Standing still.

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Copyright © JONATHAN TAD KETCHEN

Tad's Note: This poem, while it deals with more mature longings also brings back memories of my childhood. From ages 5 to 8, I lived on Park Street, in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. It was during this time I first noticed the visual phenomenon described in this poem. I would see a person in the distance walking, but because of the distance, I could not tell if this human silhouette was walking toward or away from me. Even now, being a grown up, looking for more than the answer to a visual puzzle, longing for romance, I always imagine the story of this poem taking place on Park Street, in Sydney.

There are three people in this poem, (1) the distant female walking silhouette I'm gazing at, and (2) me, of course, plus (3) the mystery woman longing for my "shadow of substance standing still." Maybe all I need to do is stop looking for unattainable love at a distance, and turn around to see who's right behind me with eyes all a-glow.

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