“Keep things at arm’s length…If you let anything come too near, you want to hold on to it. And there is nothing a man can hold on to.” –Erich Maria Remarque
Walls are not built by accident.
The Great Wall of Keeping You
at Arm’s Length is carefully constructed
by the ones who seek to keep your love
from penetrating the thin covering of
their heart. Don’t shield your eyes,
trying to unsee what you’ve already seen.
When your gaze is obscured by the
bricks being added one at a time,
the unspoken words, lapses in speech,
don’t bother trying to fill the gaps with
the desperate cement of longing gazes
and tumbling words meant to hold
together what has already fallen apart.
There’s always a reason the wall begins
to tower before your eyes, increasing in size
until you can no longer see beyond.
Don’t ignore the presence of a wall,
hoping it will one day liquefy from your
clumsy efforts to grasp what is gone. Walls
do not simply dissolve. The foundation
is too strong. Words they’re afraid to say
build walls, burn bridges, become an optical
depiction of what you’d rather not see.
The illusion lies within you.
Wishing something to disappear does not
make it so. Were it that easy, I never would
have let him go. People don’t suddenly unknow
you, but they can start to unravel love
they once felt for you. So when you see
the walls start to grow, don’t unwish it so
and don’t waste time trying to climb
a wall that was put in place to keep you in yours.
And climbing a wall is not like climbing a tree.
The view will always be obscured, and you’ll see
only what you want to see.
*I started working on this poem today while I was driving. I thought the words would continue to come to me as I cut the grass. But my muse took a break and sat that round out, allowing me to concentrate fully on the grass and that’s all. This still needs work, but I think the message comes across clearly. It’s in the first lines: people don’t build walls by accident. Walls are built to keep someone from getting the wrong idea about their feelings, to keep someone from seeing the truth, or to just keep things from going further than they want them to. Sometimes we ignore signs when entering relationships. This is one that should not be ignored. If a person is building a wall, believe me, there’s a reason.
Peace & Love,