Ian Stewart Black

Modern master of classical poetry

What It Means To Make A Promise

An ocean’s breadth between us;
The restless seas our enemy,
And history an anchor.

Common reason changes nothing,
Still my heart will sing for you
Or fall forever silent.

And when my bones are laid to rest,
Oblivious beneath the earth,
My love for you may yet move mountains.

And when my name is wreathed in shadow,
Faded from the mourning stone,
Even then my soul shall wait for you.

And I will keep my word.

Screaming In The Wreckage

I’m tired of waking up.
I’m tired of remembering.
Every morning, there’s a moment
When I find myself again,
And I find that I’m alone;
Without your love,
Without your promises –
Screaming in the wreckage.

Our bodies knew that we were home,
With every touch another sign;
Like nothing I have ever known,
Your heart was beckoning to mine.
I saw my soul behind your eyes,
Became devout in your embrace;
A Godless man, I realised
That there is Love – that there is Grace.

I hold you and I understand
That there is meaning in this life;
The moment that you took my hand,
I knew… I can’t fucking breathe without you.
I’m tired of waking up.
I’m tired of remembering.
Now I sleep beside your ghost.
And pray the morning never comes.

Forever Is Over

The memories are tainted now,
Naivety has lost its charm;
Your silence rings with hollow vows:
A stranger nestled in my arms.
Those cherished nights I lay awake
And whispered of our future days;
For vanity’s vampiric sake
You bid me wish my life away.

The horror now becoming clear,
That you were loved and I was used;
You are the monster you had feared:
Abuser born from the abused.
As countless, nameless gone before,
My heart a trophy on your shelf;
I thought that I meant something more –
You only cared about yourself.

My all I would have sacrificed,
And honoured you as royalty;
Did I demand too great a price:
That you would show me loyalty.
The “other half” of me is gone,
Though you were never truly mine;
Your darkness driven by the dawn,
And all that’s good is left behind.

To Love And Be Loved

My blood is forfeit, the sweat of my brow,
My tears attendant to your joy and pain;
Your dreams await me in my slumber now,
Your visions and my own become the same.
No longer wandering in search of home,
Nor grimly craving the return to dust;
Alone I penned the preface of this tome,
But every chapter hence belongs to us.
To keep you safe, or just to make you smile,
There are no dragons I would fear to slay;
If you should wound me, I would reconcile,
Resolved to love you ’til my dying day.
And I would follow you across the seas,
Or into hell…

…If you would fight for me.

Broken/Beautiful

She loves me not! Her hollow words
Like thunderbolts tore ribbons through
My heart; with callous fiction blurred,
Is anything I cherish true?

I held you safe against the dark,
And saw the light behind your eyes;
I felt my destiny in sparks,
And timeless hope at last arise.
I promised you that I would stay,
And loving you I felt complete;
A purpose filling every day,
This bitter life became so sweet.
I soothed your mind in times of grief,
And made confession as you slept;
I placed my trust into a thief –
And as you stole from me, I wept.

You stole the countless hours I spent
To fuel a love that was not there;
While every word I said, I meant,
You just pretended that you care.
You stole from me, from us, a life:
‘Our future’ was a joke to you;
To be as one in joy and strife –
You never did, nor wanted to.
With every sacrifice I made,
Requesting nothing in return,
My love was once again betrayed
As you prepared to watch us burn.

It never mattered how unfair,
How cruel and selfish you could be;
Oblivious to my despair,
Still you were all the world to me.
You shut me out, you pulled away,
And I did everything I could;
My life was yours if you had stayed –
Forgiving, as I always would.
I felt your judgement when I said
You were the sum of all my dreams;
But in your wake my dreams are dead,
And still you don’t know what love means.

Should I have visions of acclaim,
Or covet treasures of the age?
Would you respect a lust for fame
That no distinction would assuage?
Was I diminished for my zeal,
A lesser man for knowing this:
If anything in life is real,
I found it in your tender kiss.
No, I will not apologise
For my ambition set in stone:
For all that matters in my eyes
Is you, my love, and you alone.

With everything you have endured,
The scars you carry in this life;
I thought compassion was assured –
My ‘other half’, my ‘would-be wife’.
You held a mirror to my soul,
And told me what I long to hear;
What purpose served your spiteful role,
Becoming that which I had feared?
You do not claim to love someone,
You do not promise you will stay,
Nor offer dreams to build upon
Then break their heart and walk away.

As bitter as I sound, I am –
And still I cannot love you less;
My pride and broken heart be damned,
I live and die with your caress.
You hurt me, and you didn’t care,
You walked away when needed most,
You sullied every word we shared…
And still I long to have you close.
I write for your eyes even now –
It’s not a stranger, friend or me;
If you can find these words somehow,
Then maybe I can make you see.

If terror drove you to your flight
In fear that you would be ensnared,
Do you rejoice to see me fight
For us, and lay my spirit bare?
You know that you were safe with me,
Your body, heart, your soul and mind;
You were and are and would be free
To live a life that you define.
Do you now see that you were held
Not as a prize or precious stone,
But in this heart that loved you well
You hold a power all your own.

Should we look back and hold regret
For loving only to be lost?
Or envy us when he had yet
To find that hope would have its cost?
Would you have shuddered at my touch
If knowing then as you do now?
Or savoured every glance as much
And tried to make it work somehow?
Though pain has never hurt like this,
Nor loss been known to cut so deep,
I won’t regret a single kiss
Nor minute of surrendered sleep.

I won’t regret that I have fought,
And fight to save us even now;
Should all my efforts be for nought,
I will uphold my solemn vow.
I dare you, coward, find your heart!
It’s beneath you to surrender;
We are not meant to be apart –
This I need you to remember.
You may decide to start anew
With someone half a world away,
But someone here and now loves you
Much more than words could ever say.

Break my heart again, so be it,
But walk the hardest path of all;
Do not give up, and never quit,
And I will never let you fall.
Nothing on this earth could stop us,
If you would only take my hand;
Return my faith in you, and thus
Begin the life we both have planned.
But if you shun the touch of fate –
The greatest happiness I’ve known…
A part of me will always wait
For you, my love. And you alone.

Mine Is Not The Heart That Falters

I will not find your beauty dimmed with age
As happy years of love adorn your face,
Nor witness life’s abundant trials upstage
The wonders of your wild, eccentric grace.
No! Mine is not the heart that falters – mine
Is not the promise shaken with the earth;
Against eternity, we two entwined
Lie nestled in our passion’s endless worth.
And though I fail to see the scars of time,
Lament the lonesome soul who thinks me blind;
What knows the cynic of a love sublime?
I look at you, and all I seek – I find.
This vow enduring as the decades fall:
You are my light, my life, my love – my all.

Alone Together

No sound nor silence.
Dark nor light.
The world forgotten.
All is right.

We breathe together.
Skin to skin.
One pulse between us.
Falling in.

My name is forfeit.
Self undone.
We two surrender.
We are one.

Harvest Of My Love

My words are all my worth – a bounty reaped
In reverence and strewn about your feet –
The flowers of my soul are yours to keep;
The harvest of my love for you replete.
I offer these of full and earnest heart,
Soliciting no recompense but one:
Disdain the grasp of winter spent apart
To let our passion blossom in the sun.
Cast light on this, our tender harmony –
Anoint our longings with the summer rain;
Walk hand in hand with me, and from this day
Sow love eternal through our shared domain.
This verse, these fertile lands that bloom anew:
My words are all my worth – my gift to you.

My Moon And I

Amid a sea of stars whose vulgar light
But vainly fell upon my veil of dreams,
Cascading meekly in the murky night
The glimmer of their endless, soulless beams:
At last, My Moon! My lifeless eyes awake
Enrapt as she illuminates the sky;
These solemn years of slumber no mistake
But prelude to a tale: My Moon And I.
And as a moth is born into the dark
With no direction but the light above,
So too must I with fear and faith embark –
Entrusting all unto the light of love.
Whatever wild, uncharted lands we roam –
Her heart is my heart, and she is my home.

The Two Of Us Were Someone Else

I know you… somewhere long ago,
Before I even knew myself –
Before there was a ‘me’ to know,
The two of us were someone else.

Before you learned to fear the dark,
Before I lost the will to see,
Our spirit revelled in this spark
Of heaven drawing you to me.

But I, afflicted by the world
And weathered by these years alone,
Have never lived with faith unfurled
Nor treasured reveries of home.

Beholding nothing but the mire
Of dread and sorrow – day by day
Diminishing my sacred fire;
From joy and hope, I turned away.

And even now I fail to see
The hand that guides your path and mine;
Were all our trials meant to be –
Was it by fortune or design?

How long have we now wandered – lost
To us that distant Plane Of Souls;
A severed heart, by tempest tossed,
Forever yearning to be whole.

A glint of mischief in your eye
Was all it took to break the spell;
How could I fail to realise:
I know you, and I know you well.

Once faithless, now devout, for you
Are more than I could wish to find;
As all else falls shall this hold true:
That I am yours, and you are mine.