Poem ‘Witness’


Deep in the darkest place
we feel a faint memory is
lurking unbound like a freeze
on the fast spinning world
a rare sight for we strangers
from the far flung parts
of tenuous space

We must have strolled
those ragged shores
leaving no footprints in the sand
and breathed in deep
the unbreathable air
before sentient life could
crawl out from the sea

We saw the infant sun spill
his light over jagged horizons
and a shattered moon
ascend into sparse skies
to ride across that curious
scatter of stars

Was it us who fostered
the mortal pain of eons?
And did we sanction suffering
from simplicity to sublimity
all borne through this weary flux?

That we were witness
when it began – is true
We will persist to its end
to see star stuff blasted out
when it all starts over again

© copyright Francis Barker 2011

* I’ve had a version of this poem hanging around since I was about 17. This is the latest incarnation and I’m still not satisfied.
* The ‘painting’ is a ‘photoshopped’ adaptation from another painting.



  1. Ina · November 26, 2011

    This is really wonderful. To have had these thoughts at the age of 17 🙂
    wonderful. A real great poem from the sea 😉

    We must have been witness of all that. maybe somewhere in our collective memory ? or something like that, it still is there and makes us creative too.


  2. David Francis Barker · November 26, 2011

    Thanks Ina. Well, you’re right, that was originally the idea, that if consciousness is eternal, then somewhere deep down, we may all have this ‘recollection’.
    You know, 17 is a long time ago for me now, but, of course, it doesn’t SEEM so long ago. We also realise that at 17 we are already fully fledged in many ways, perhaps lacking experience of life. I have always been a deep, independent thinker, even as a teenager, so maybe I had certain ‘advantages’!
    Thank you so much for your interest 🙂


  3. Seeking utopia · November 26, 2011

    Beautiful, quite simply.


  4. Dianda · November 26, 2011

    You might still not be satisfied with it, but I like it. 🙂


  5. Emma · November 27, 2011

    This is a gorgeous poem, it mirrors the ebb and the flow of the tide…so soft and reflective. The painting is fantastic as well. I agree with Ina, my first thought when reading your note was ‘wow, 17’. Of course, we do think fully at seventeen, we just lack the experience (as you say) to qualify our thoughts at times.


  6. David Francis Barker · November 27, 2011

    Emma thank you! Well, yes, I did write ‘the original’ of this at 17 but it has changed quite a bit since then, although some lines are identical. Oh to be 17 again! 🙂


  7. lscotthoughts · November 28, 2011

    Absolutely beautiful, David, and even more so, knowing you wrote this at the age of 17! The image is perfect for it, as well!

    I also have to apologize for my late reply, but I appreciate your visits to my blog and your ‘likes”, too! I am following you, but I don’t seem to be receiving new posts, so I’ll look into that!


  8. reading-stars · November 28, 2011

    “…And did we sanction suffering/from simplicity to sublimity ….” so much in this phrasing – love your art .. less of the abstract in this one (than you used to show) – passion still shows though, in its quiet and yet unpredictable aura. Like it a lot David.


  9. David Francis Barker · November 28, 2011

    Thank you! I very much appreciate your comments.


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