The Boy’s Battle

posted in: Blog, Poetry | 0
Ronnie Herrema
September 14, 2016

The Boy's Battle 

One night, my heart asked me, “where do you want to go?”
If I answered with the logic of the mathematician, or recited scripture as
the Rabbi, or even delivered scientific proofs
that supported my goals, I would be scorned—and when the heart speaks,
though it cost you everything, you must keep it talking.
So I did the only thing I could think to do for the heart—write a poem.

“I’ve thought long and hard about your question. I have searched the waters
of my soul, drawing out every wish, whim, desire, and joy, that have long
been buried in the soil of misfortune, circumstance and duty.
Walking through the field of my dreams, I stumbled upon buried treasure,
so I returned to town and sold all I had to purchase the field, that I may
collect what is rightfully mine, that my joy would be complete...and it was.”

These treasures glowed the soft light of innocent years…
where what satisfied the heart was not money, toys, or power, 
but joy in every flower. 
Where sorrow had yet to leave it’s mark.
Where self doubt was yet a thought in the heart. 

It’s power, it’s peace, it’s feeling proud of me. 
It’s “I belong” “I am strong” “I have the right to sing.” 
I’m here, I’m there, I am all things. 
I may thrive, I may fail, but I’m certainly free.

I could see the books, the songs unwritten. 
I could see the house, full of laughter and children
I saw the eyes of love, in all of their colors
I saw the face of God, in all of my brothers

I felt the wind on my face that dances with trees
I felt the warmth of the sand as I sat by the sea
I saw friends by the fire and more by the table
I saw every sunset and sunrise, it felt like a fable

I then saw my dream disappear like the clouds
I saw every hope, every joy killed by doubt
I watched as my guilt slowly reached out for my gems
My worry and fear, wisely ignoring them

I listened as my past told me not to fight
With beautiful words full of practical advice
He said he did the math and I should be grateful
To just be alive, to just work the stable

There’s only a few who deserve such splendor
They’re the ones who don’t fail, the one’s who don’t falter
You’ve fallen here, remember this time?
You’ve fallen from grace, the rest is goodbye

Remember the last time you stepped out and tried?
You fell on your face, she laughed, you cried.
I was there and it was more than enough.
Don’t do that again, don’t you dare mess things up

It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s like one—two—three
Just look at these failures and avoid them like bees
Listen my son and do as I say,
You won’t have your gems, but you’ll always be safe

My future came next but instead of slick words
It thundered, I cowered, it demanded to be heard
It’s voice gripped my heart and made my knees week
The look in it’s eye said, “don’t argue with me.”

You’ve come for your treasure but it’s much too far
Show me your victories, reveal your battle scars
This treasure is only for those who are strong
You’re weak, your simple, you do not belong

Just look at your past, we’re one and the same
She speaks like a snake, I come down like the rain
You’ll quit, you’ll run the moment it get’s hard
You may conquer foes, but never your heart

Your dreams on a train, and it won’t slow down
Each morning you wake, it’s further from town
The day will come they’ll be gone from your eyes
You’ll give up on these dreams, and accept what’s in site

You’ll work and toil and always be the same
You won’t get any worse, you’ll just be ok
Your kids will be safe and your wife will be glad
You’ll trade adventure for security and that’s not so bad

You’ll enjoy the comfort of non disappointment
You’ll breathe the air of static enjoyment
The lights will flicker as you work in the rain
But you won’t feel a thing cause your heart’s now a brain

You’ll be proud of your service, your duty, your strides
You’ll tell stories of how you so bravely died
You’ll laugh at the failures, you’ll point at the their fears
You’ll insult their laughter, not treasure their tears

Oh, and your children are mine, yes I have them too
You want them to grow, but never to bloom
You tell the stories, of days long forgot
But be smart my boy, “Accept your lot.”

Don’t be a fool and chase after dreams
I did that once too but now look at me
We’ve got a roof and clothes and food every night
We’re happy, I think, you tell him a lie

You’ll preach and preach, yes, you’ll work for me
You’ll insert the message, you’ll kill their dream
You may disagree, you may say, “Not me!”
But it’s not what you say, it’s what they’ll see

Haha I’ve got you, these gems are now mine
I am a giant, you’re a boy with sheep by his side
I’m a lion, a bear, you’re every nightmare
Your flock will be mine, and you won’t even care

I’ll offer you kingdoms, the riches of life
I’ll offer you power, with angles you’ll fly
I’ll meet every need, on one condition
Give me your heart, and to your dreams, don’t listen

Imagine the world, imagine your life
With no need to work, no tears in your eyes
Your children sleep soundly, your wife by your side
A wall of protection from the terror of night

Just turn off your heart, that pesky little thing
That fills you with stories of horses with wings
Say yes to my plan, accept my advice
With me comes riches, without the life

Sign right here, you’re not alone
I win most my cases, the world is my home
The masses exchange my treasure for theirs
My rooms contain rubies; the diamonds from prayer

Just bend your knee. Go with the crowd
If you go your own way, you’ll surely stick out
“Insane!” They’ll say. “Fool!” They’ll cry
They’ll pointer the finger, they’ll throw you outside

Your dreams will make you an alien here
Your actions will separate you from those you hold dear
And what could be worse than not fitting in?
Isn’t that what you long for, to be liked, to be thin?

Don’t fear the rain, don’t fear your past,
fear your surroundings, fear the shadow you cast
Fear the reflection, in waters you drink
Ponder the face of the one you now hate

For if you defeat the giant with stone
If you find shelter from rain and the snow
If crowds bring you to the edge of a cliff
if you disappear, find some way to live

You’ll have one final foe, defending those gems
A giant, who’s never letting go of them
A snake who lies, a sheep who cries,
a voice who says, “Father, why, oh why?”

Alone on the path with the victories near
You’ll meet the great foe of all you hold dear
He can’t be seen, he won’t speak a word
He can’t be defeated with fists or a sword

He cannot be touched, he cannot be perceived
He’s there standing guard over all that you dreamed
He’s the past, the future, the great adventure
He’s you my friend, you’re the one to capture

I’m the great future, with fury and pride
I’m the ancient past, who blinds you inside
I am the sorrow, the shame and the night
I am the boy with treasure inside

It was never the giant, the lion, the cobra, the bear
Nor the mountains you climbed, or the friends of dispart
Though oceans and rivers and battles you fought,
There’s no greater battle than—commanding your thought

Sleep well my dear, you now have been warned
Wake hastily my dear, for now you’re in charge
There’s no more waiting, there’s no one to blame
You are the devil. You are the saint.

You’re prisons been built by hands that are sore
You hold the keys, the kingdom is yours
You’re free to stay, or go down that road
You’re free to choose, which way will you go?

Afraid as you are, the prophecy is true
This message is freedom, I proclaim good news
You’re joy may be full, for that is your lot,
Love’s what you’re made of, that’s all you’ve got

But you won’t listen, we go back once more
What voice will you heed, mine or yours?
The sultry wisdom of snakes on a tree?
The mighty voice of the futures unseen?

Perhaps your soul has just had enough
Just accept my offer: your heart for my stuff
Remember your children, your wife, your pearls
They’re included too, they’ll be safe in this world

I leave you now for others await
To hear this same story, to ponder their fate
Farewell my child, I’ll return with the snow
Til then, your pearls are mine, til you tell me no

I screamed I cried I drew out my sword
“You will not take my dream!” I declared with a word
Then fast as thought they were off with my gold
My future, my past, my demons, my soul

What would become of this treasure I found?
Would the boy in the dream pursue or back down?
Would he give all he had for his gems, for his lot?
Would he walk away sad because, he deserved what he got?

Would he accept the offer, the safety and more?
Would he risk it all, would he win the war?
Would he die in pursuit of something so dear?
If he gave up his dream, could he look in the mirror?

And standing upon a high rock he saw
a field full of angels and demons and gods
He saw every failure, the fears and the lies
He saw every sunset, every sunrise

He saw himself in enemy eyes
He felt his spirit in the warriors cry
His heart beat wildly, “Which side am I on?”
His replied, “I’m the first, I’m the last, the begotten one.”

With clarity of mind and grace in his step
He approached the field from the right and the left
The fire came down, the waters rose up
the earth like stone, a hurricane his lungs

The mighty oaks broke, the sky turned black
The mountains trembled and melted like wax
The enemy vanished, the heroes no more,
Alone in the field, he knelt to the floor

And on his knees the sun rose again
breaking through clouds and forests and glens
“I am the sky, the sun and the moon.
I am the coward, the warrior too.

I hold Orion, the bear and her cubs
I am the darkness, the bright morning sun.
This is my home, this is my field
This is my treasure, this place that I kneel.”

His thoughts like water, untouched by the wind
His heart like a river, his strength had no end
He musters a prayer without any words
His will is his power, His peace is his world

The sorrows of past as true as they are
hold nothing to presence, those wounds turn to scars
The future is gone, it’s been welcomed home
Time has been stopped by a warriors soul

Removing the earth that covered his joy
He pulled out the box, from the heart of the boy
And placing his hands on the beautiful gems
His eyes saw the future, his heart sang a hymn

“Bless the one who troubled me much.
Who told me so often, “You’re never enough.”
Bless the hands the slapped my face
In you I see anger, beauty and grace

Bless the voice of futures unseen
You made me question, is this really my dream?
Bless the past with anchors and chains
you’re where my roots grow deeper each day

Bless the boy, bless his life
Bless him with joy, bless all that he tries
Bless the misfortunes, bless the good days
Bless him, bless him, bless him I say

Bless the ground where his feet take their steps
Bless the dreams that begin where he rests
Bless the eyes of the strangers he meets
Bless the heart of the boy with the dream

Taking his jewels he looked to the sky
He said a small prayer, “I am yours, you are mine.”
The battle was over, but just for the day
Each morning he’s offered a decision to make

Each battle won, sets the pace for the next
when he hears that voice, he’ll see through the test
He’ll listen because the tempter must speak
He’ll ponder the comfort, so often feel weak

He’ll sometimes forget, he’ll sometimes fall down
He’ll get back up, because faith never frowns
He’ll go to his field, where his treasure is hid
It tells him of beauty, it speaks for the wind

He’ll remember his home, his place in the sky
He’ll hold onto his dream, cause dreams never die
When he stands to his feet, the battle is won
“I’m the first, I’m the last, I’m the begotten one.”

ronnie j. herrema