Poem ‘Barricades’


My home is a castle in need, because
of who I am, for all that went before.
Living close to a sea I rarely saw,
I rode bikes, losing trees, clothes on the way,
all scale of self to glimpse some grey ocean,
a lone redshank wail from his muddy creek
and rise into blanket skies, scorning me.
I didn’t know then, nor do I pretend
to know now exactly what’s hurting me,
but the funk of youth is bitterness now.
The shining ship which might’ve saved me, white
sails riding threshold waves — it didn’t come.
Abandoned, the sailor who never was,
behind terse barricades, counting the days

poem © copyright df barker 2012
*image © Neil Smith



  1. Soma Mukherjee · April 29, 2012

    Ah the broken dreams that seep in the heart and make it bleed a every day for the rest of the life,this poem has such a powerful haunting sad soul …
    What a beautiful poetry David 🙂


  2. Ina · April 29, 2012

    Hi David
    I got a goose bump feel when I read this poem about Weltschmerz and the shining ship with white sails (like the knight in shining armour, the prince on a white horse) . I hope your ship will sail one day!


  3. magsx2 · April 29, 2012

    A very deep poem, the loss of self, but I love the way you have written this. 😀


  4. sevilleestatesflyer · April 29, 2012

    Very poignant!


  5. sevilleestatesflyer · April 29, 2012

    Very poignant !


  6. sulamirela · April 29, 2012

    Uauu wonderful. Happy to find you here!


  7. walterwsmith3rd · April 29, 2012

    A shared and universal experience it seems. A sense of lost at sea. Life.


  8. journeyintopoetry · April 29, 2012

    So beautifully sad David.

    And so beautifully written.

    The first line is really powerful and sets the whole poem off for me – thank you.



  9. dfb · April 29, 2012

    Thank you so much again, Soma!


  10. dfb · April 29, 2012

    Thank you very much Ina!


  11. dfb · April 29, 2012

    Thank you Christine, once again!


  12. Not what you really imagined? Not what you really longed to do? But look at what your treasured spirit does…it touches many with your sincere love, the beauty of your words embraced by paintings that will long tell of your life for an eternity after you are gone. And yet now we who love you, love you like ourselves along with the creative genius which is you! You are a blessing and make no mistake this is what God intended for you…i am selfish, because i need all the emotions that i feel from you to make sense of all that is! You are wonderful my friend! And the poem is awesome! Thanks for always sharing!


  13. Pete Armetta · April 29, 2012

    And there we are right? 🙂 So many obstacles, and so many years to simply figure out what we want and need and make things happen. So well put here, and hopefully minimal bitterness. Very enjoyable poem Dave.


  14. Eve Redwater · April 29, 2012

    I feel loss from this, perhaps not so much a loss of a person, but the loss of the self…but maybe I’m wrong! Wonderful poem David!


  15. dfb · April 29, 2012

    Thank you once again Eve! Yes, you are right. I have used licence, of course, but I think all ‘creatives’, such as ourselves, feel like this from time to time. It goes with the territory, the CV… 🙂 The original idea for this was to be a modern sonnet.


  16. dfb · April 29, 2012

    Thank you very much Wendell, your thoughts are very much appreciated. 🙂 I think I used a fair bit of licence in this one, it is a kind of modern sonnet and besides, us ‘creatives’ often do go through spells such as this.


  17. claudia · April 29, 2012

    hey..it’s never too late really to set sails and get some of that barricades out of the way…just saying…smiles


  18. dfb · April 29, 2012

    Thank you Claudia! Yes, I know but a little ‘confessional’ poetry does one good, occasionally!


  19. dfb · April 29, 2012

    … you know, I keep meaning to post in dVerse more often but for some reason I generally forget. Must try. 🙂


  20. The Course of Our Seasons · April 29, 2012

    The sadness and longing – what could have been – yes, you remind us of those times in all our lives when we wish for that ship to take us away. Wonderfully written – thank you. K


  21. dfb · April 29, 2012

    Thank you K! I am so grateful to you.


  22. jane tims · April 29, 2012

    Hi. I like the line ‘behind terse barricades’. Also, the ‘blanket skies’. Jane


  23. susanjanejones · April 29, 2012

    So sad and haunting, you could write a second poem in response to this one I think.


  24. susangeckle · April 29, 2012

    Reminds me of the poem ‘The road not taken’ by Robert Frost. There’s a part of all of us that wonders that.


  25. Betty Hayes Albright · April 29, 2012

    David, this wistful and well-crafted poem pulls at my heartstrings. I think we all feel a disillusionment at times in our lives – a lack of fulfillment – that “dark night of the soul”, perhaps. Sometimes it comes during a period of inner growth (of which we’re not conscious – but it can be painful). We spiral around to another level and eventually recognize it all as a stepping stone to a greater awareness and appreciation – which leads to a renewed sense of joy. (I might be reading more into your poem than what you intended, but it made me think of my own experience with these feelings.)


  26. Just A Smidgen · April 30, 2012

    I love this line.. I rode bikes, losing trees, and clothes on the way… I wrote a sonnet once.. it’s not an easy form with all those syllables.. Bravo to have written this and done it so perfectly!! Beautiful.


  27. dfb · April 30, 2012

    Hi Betty, thank you very much again! As ever, you are pretty close to the mark I feel, I am very grateful for your comments!


  28. dfb · April 30, 2012

    Susan, thank you so much!!!


  29. dfb · April 30, 2012

    Hi again and thank you so much!!!


  30. Emma · May 2, 2012

    David, this is fantastic. You’ve outlined the struggle so well- the struggle to understand, to feel joy, to thrive in the face of the unknown oppressor. That’s what I’m feeling here, at least. I love how you’ve placed the speaker in a setting that many might associate with contentment and shown how one suffering from mental ‘barricades’ might absorb/interact with the world around him. …’some grey ocean’…and ‘blanket skies, scorning me’… wonderful.


  31. dfb · May 2, 2012

    Thank you so much Emma! I am very flattered by your comments, because I know from looking at your own work how well you write. Yes, I think all creative people have to ‘suffer’ at times, maybe its part of all our human wrangling – we just have to do it? Your insights are very accurate Emma, and I thank you!


  32. Emma · May 2, 2012

    Thank you David, that is a very kind thing to say. The feeling is mutual.


  33. bardessdmdenton · May 3, 2012

    ‘The shining ship which might’ve saved me, white
    sails riding threshold waves — it didn’t come.’

    I love the images in this one, so apt for what you were feeling.


  34. dfb · May 3, 2012

    Thank you so much once again!


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