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



  1. Victoria C. Slotto · July 5, 2012

    There are so many ways to be a fugitive, aren’t there? As with much of your work, this makes me want to know more.


  2. Polly Robinson · July 5, 2012

    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.


  3. Anna Montgomery · July 6, 2012

    Affecting and haunting, very well executed!


  4. Chazinator · July 6, 2012

    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.


  5. ManicDdaily · July 6, 2012

    Oh dear! I grew up in D.C. = reminds me of home! k.


  6. brian miller · July 6, 2012

    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…


  7. hobgoblin2011 · July 6, 2012

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


  8. Ina · July 6, 2012

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


  9. abichica · July 6, 2012

    wooww!! amazing!!


  10. susanjanejones · July 6, 2012

    Is it a soldier who’s come home from a war? That’s how it reads to me. A moving poem.


  11. Emma · July 6, 2012

    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.


  12. Soma Mukherjee · July 6, 2012

    wow …beautiful poetry David
    escapism…some do enjoy but its a shallow joy


  13. Francina · July 6, 2012

    poignant and thought provoking poem, David.


  14. claudia · July 6, 2012

    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


  15. claudia · July 6, 2012

    …and i meant not use but lose everything…


  16. granbee · July 6, 2012

    How well this describes the way we often become fugitives from our inner selves.


  17. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Thank you so much Victoria!


  18. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Thanks very much Polly!


  19. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Thank you Anna!


  20. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Charles, thank you so much!


  21. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Brian thanks very much!


  22. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Emma, thank you very much!


  23. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Thank you Soma!


  24. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Francina thank you!


  25. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Thanks very much Claudia!


  26. dfb · July 6, 2012

    Thank you GB!


  27. lucychili · July 7, 2012

    sometimes speaking changes everything
    powerful poem


  28. lscotthoughts · July 8, 2012

    Wonderful imagery and metaphor to our own lives, as well, David!


  29. A wonderful written poem my friend. I really enjoyed it!


  30. dfb · July 15, 2012

    Thank you Lauren!


  31. dfb · July 15, 2012

    Thank you Wendell!


  32. rangewriter · July 17, 2012

    Absolutely wonderful. A poem like this always makes me wonder who/what vision spurred the author’s thoughts.


  33. dfb · July 18, 2012

    Thank you so much Linda!


  34. Thomas Davis · July 29, 2012

    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.


  35. dfb · August 1, 2012

    Thank you so much once again for your comments and your time – I’m grateful.


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