Poem ‘Fugitive’


for so long you said nothing,
you let it all well-up inside.
It swelled like some geyser beneath you,
or some vast unstoppable tide

but clearly the choice was yours;
to sit quietly and safe in silence,
or face the dangers of disclosure.
what use was there in pretence?

so you told those cowards straight,
to carry on with ignominious lies,
because you knew the whole truth –
heck, you saw it with your own eyes!

so now you ride trains in the night,
mingle quietly in busy queues;
the world doesn’t want to see you
nor cares of the state of your shoes

and then one day, maybe quite soon,
you’ll vanish with barely a trace;
at least you knew your rabid enemy
defined the justice of your case

© copyright David F. Barker 2012

35 thoughts on “Poem ‘Fugitive’

  1. These lines: ‘… carry on with ignominious lies,
    because you knew the whole truth –
    heck, you saw it with your own eyes!’
    Say so much so economically. Great read, great write.


  2. This is one of those poems where the question of who the subject of poetic reflection is raises an ultimate question. I think the answer comes at the end, where relationship forms the nature of the subject. Yet, how difficult to define ourselves by the eyes of the enemy, though the injustice requires it, though the one wielding injustice holds the ultimate power. What is sinister about the entire dialectic, however, is that the fugitive is nameless forever, never to be known. That is the most powerful injustice perpetrated by the powerful; deleting all power to be in the victim of injustice. I think of the Desaparecidos around the world, though their families never let their memories die.


  3. interesting picture of this character…telling the truth in the middle and then being relegated to the unnoticed…on some level this made me think of the street corner prophets…i wonder how we would deal with a prophet these days…


  4. Great write. That first line, with only Fugitive, sets the theme, and metaphor that will be illustrated throughout the rest. Great job. Thanks


  5. Hi David
    you gave a face or a voice to those people who are wandering through the cities unwanted. Very well done!


  6. I like the fact that this can be read as a poem about self-imposed exile or otherwise, depending on how I read it. Very good, David. The rhyme is working to underscore the key parts, too, I think.


  7. standing up against the system can make you use everything…yet…dang..we need those people and we shouldn’t leave them alone when they need help


  8. You dangle a story before our eyes and then turn around a force us to construct what the story means and is all about as the poem finishes. This is what leads poetry in metaphor where the fugitive must stand for something fundamental in human life. It must! The question is, what does the metaphor stand for? Is this how life works, where truth telling leads to hiding in anonymity where
    the world doesn’t want to see you
    nor cares of the state of your shoes..
    Are we all fugitives that will one day disappear without a trace?
    I love narrative poetry like this. It forces me to engage the poem rather than letting me just read it.


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