Thunder on the Mountains

I have seen the people at the close of day,
dark like the dreams of storm clouds.
In a city on any day, millions of lives unfold,
burning like little candles.

The sad face of life looking in through the windows of laundries,
where people sit, side by side, in yellowing underclothes
watching the spinning of the machines, laughing, detergent frothing machines,
always asking for more money.

Three friends grown up together,
one died young,
the other two moved to different cities.
Took on different lives.

One works hard on her fitness,
running and lifting weights.
but lost a lot of money investing in property
and now works hard to keep off the thoughts of darkness.
The other married and had three kids
and dreams of what might have been
if only, if only things had been different.
And her husband has sex with the secretary three times a week.

Jack had been in their class at school,
but they had forgotten him after 20 years
and could pass him on the street,
and not know his face.

When Jack was a kid he followed his father down the street into town
to buy the Sunday lunch. They visited the butcher and the baker and bought vegetables.
Jack always carried the vegetables in a wicker basket
his mother gave him specifically for that purpose.

When Jack’s father died,
Jack stood at the funeral numb with pain
and knew then, that those days of being loved, and free,
would never come again. The best he could hope for would be to have his own son to love.

The great clock that sits above the street,
ringing out the hours, disturbs the lovers in the rooms nearby.
So many people making love,
as the mist of the early night settles on the grey roofs.

As midnight chimes out,
Mary sits up from her damp bed, and notices tonight’s lover has left.
She runs her fingers across her tired eyes,
and wonders if she’ll see him again.

We leave them now,
you and I.
Think of these people sometimes.
It is their lives that echo around you like thunder on the mountains.


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