Orpheus as a Child
Everything is bright to his eyes.
The spaces between the connections of life.
Each sound is music, whether it is
factory thrum, or spider web vibration.
He loves raindrops falling into puddles,
tiny ripples, reflected skies.
Rocky outcrops and tree silhouettes
outlined against the light.
The sun reminds him of his father,
both powerful and distant simultaneously.
He dances in rainstorms, dances with the thunder,
loves blue and grey equally, without reservation.
The loneliest hills surrounding his early life
burst with different colours everyday,
as the grasses ripen and die,
and the sun goes round the earth.
The purples of autumn, the gold of winter,
the dark black of spring,
the rapid confusion of summer.
Using his difference to learn about people,
landscape and birds are not enough for a life.
He keeps his mouth quiet, his heart open,
he holds each moment’s hand.
Daring in friendship and love, though he is told
that he is too extreme: he thinks too much,
feels too much, speaks too openly,
loves too passionately.
He spent his days thus, and spends his moments
like this still. Seeing what is real, writing
the best words he can. Placing them into
the music of a line, creating a verse
in the song of the life of these times.
The sun is a painting. The child walks home
in the afternoon light of late spring,
or early summer. Schoolbag at his side,
heavy but not heavy with reading.
He sees the reddest flower in the breathing light,
and for a second, a lifetime:
air, sun, flower, schoolbag, and boy.
Looking closer he sees the flower is
a crushed up Coke can, and life shines in him
as he accepts this gift from the God of all things.
Meditation teacher and poet John Siddique is the founder of Authentic Living, and the author of a number of books. His work has featured in many places, including Granta, The Guardian, Poetry Review and on BBC RADIO4. Siddique is the former British Council Writer-in-Residence at California State University, Los Angeles, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow, and the Honorary Creative Writing Fellow at Leicester University.