Donations are essential to keep Write Out Loud going    

A New Breath

He flung the rope 

over a branch of a tree

And fluttering down

came a few dead leaves


He watched them rest

upon the cold, crisp earth

And cursed his mother

For his wasted birth


This year of pandemic

Had him stripped to the bone

Made him jobless & useless

A bear in his home


Frustration begat anger

And anger begat fear

Unable to provide

For those he held dear


And in this age of want

A child's rosy view

Is a reality star's life

What they have, they want to


And his wife's weary eyes

Cast shadows in his mind

He no longer saw the love

Nor the promised ties that bind


So, he tied a solid knot

Climbed half way up the tree

Put the noose around his neck

And took a breath to see…


...the forest, calm and still

As if time had stopped to view

The spectacle of him swinging

from the rope, with neck askew 


But, a deer trotted near

And a fox and birds appeared

And they whispered in his ear

Let go of all that fear


You're no different from us all

We all struggle, we all fall

Trapped within our family's thrall

To provide and walk on tall


Change can come and take us

Hunger & want can break us

This tenuous life forsake us


But, these are things that make us


You are stronger than you know

Part of life's ebb & flow

Once again, you'll find your glow

And help your family grow


Time to breathe...


And the crisp wind returned

And the animals fled

And he tried to take stock

Of the whispers in his head


And he looked up to the sky

To the sea of vibrant blue

And watched the fleeing birds

Tinged with golden hue


And the sun felt so warm

As a butterfly danced on breeze

And a gentle distant buzz

from vibrating wings of bees,


reignited a faltering flame

extinguished within his soul

Now, slowly returning

To, once again, make him whole


He took a moment of thought

Then, gently, removed the noose

Felt the warming sun

Let the rope swing loose


Climbed down to the soil

Inhaled the fresh, new air

And knew, that for his family

He would, now, always be there


And as he walked the pathway home

He knew that life could go astray

But, that after every darkness

There dawn's a brighter day





covid 19familyHopelifenew beginnings

◄ It's Christmaaaaas!

Nectar ►


Profile image

Stephen Atkinson

Mon 4th Jan 2021 11:32

Thanks Brian, & I don't mind at all!
The animal analogy wasn't even in my thoughts when I started writing it, they just sort of turned up unannounced! Something to do with we all struggle no matter who ( or what we are). But I know what you mean. And why a deer, fox & birds?

<Deleted User> (18980)

Sun 3rd Jan 2021 22:48

Stephen, this is a great poem, the story, the sentiment, the structure. The only bit that doesn't work for me is the verse with deer, fox and birds. Hope you don't mind me mentioning it...just my opinion.

Profile image

Stephen Atkinson

Sun 3rd Jan 2021 22:06

Thank you Stephen, & one of my favourite films!
And thanks for the Like Holden, much appreciated.

Profile image

Stephen Gospage

Sun 3rd Jan 2021 17:31

This is a really inspiring poem for our times. It made me think of "It's a Wonderful Life", which I saw again at Christmas.

Profile image

Stephen Atkinson

Sat 2nd Jan 2021 21:36

Thanks for the Like & kind comment Hugh
And the additional Likes Tony, Jordyn, Tom & Aviva. Much appreciated for taking time to read it.

Profile image


Sat 2nd Jan 2021 09:22

A brilliant poem beautifully constructed. Well done.

Profile image

Stephen Atkinson

Fri 1st Jan 2021 20:11

Thank you very much Martin, & as long as I'm not singing it! ?
And thank you Julie, hope you've had a nice Christmas, & all the best for the New Year

Profile image

Martin Elder

Fri 1st Jan 2021 18:43

I agree with Keith with this one. Marvellous poem. Also for me it has all the hallmarks of a song the way it it is paced. perhaps a folk song
Love it

Happy new year

Profile image

julie callaghan

Fri 1st Jan 2021 16:04

Phew and breath... a gripping poem with a message of hope. Should be shared far and wide. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Profile image

Stephen Atkinson

Fri 1st Jan 2021 15:41

Thank you J.D. and a Happy New Year!
And same to you Keith. & yes, unfortunately, there's a lot of stories untold & unheard. The suicide rate is at its highest in decades. Just trying to show that there's always hope and no one is truly alone.
Thanks & All the best

Profile image

J.D. Bardo

Fri 1st Jan 2021 14:04

I was "hanging" in suspense, until he climbed down. (gripping)

Profile image

keith jeffries

Fri 1st Jan 2021 13:57

Stephen, Happy New Year.
This poem is so in keeping with the tragic effects of the pandemic. I have heard of elderly people, unable to cope with isolation smashing up their rooms in Old people's Homes and one man who set fire to his house in sheer desperation for lack of social contact. Your poem highlights this where the media chooses to ignore it. Your poem is a fine example of a poet who draws people's attention to the plight of the forgotten. It is beautifully crafted in a story form which is captivating also.
Thank you for this

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message