Spears & Stars (A Poem)

Some had bows and arrows,

and bells that jingled from their waists;

walking in a semicircle,

with arms interlocked,

they kicked and lunged and yelled,

and followed the shadows in the mountains

that were watching them—

watching us all;

they sang to the stars,

wild songs of courage and torment,

they wanted to be understood

by a world that has lost touch with itself;

hands pointed skyward,

a child had accidentally let go of her balloon,

we all watched the night swallowing it up,

and imagined it popping on a star,

with nobody to hear its final exhale;

the girl’s friend deflated her balloon

to save it from the same fate;

many children walked past me,

the foreigner,

the one with the white face and hairy arms,

staring at me, with a laser-like gaze;

three of them,

all at different occasions,

in their own world,

without an audience,

with no mischievous snickering coming from anybody,

with no malicious intent,

with genuine kindness and curiosity,

simply placed a hand on me,

whether it was on my shoulder or my head,

and left it their for a second or more,

as if blessing me,

and carried on with the event,

a celebration of their people.


Inspired by the Paiwan festival we recently attended in the mountains of Taiwan.



(The photo of Taiwan was taken by YC Lo)

Published by Gavin Whyte

I am the author of the modern-day fables The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair, and Happiness & Honey, plus several other works of fiction.

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