LEARN BEFORE TEACHING
by Edward Lee 

TO BE THE OCEAN, TO BE THE MAN

In the ocean
I become a wave
crashing onto the shore,
pulling sand and stones
back with me,
into me.

I crash again
and again,
until I own all the stones
and sand
I want,

then I walk from the sea,
my bare feet
touching the wetted sand,
the smoothed stones,
and fall to my knees,
a once breathing man
drowned.

GONE

A long journey untaken
stretches heavily behind me,
while something akin to regret
turns my reluctant head
so I might look back
and see the multitude of steps
I might have walked,
the other many paths
I might have known.

Now, I can only close my eyes
and remain still,
my will to walk anywhere
left before my feet
gone from me,

gone.

LEARN BEFORE TEACHING

Teaching my daughter
the meaning of promises,
I can not help
but be reminded
of all the promises I made
and causally broke,
most of them to you,
my hopeful love
who, despite all proof,
believed my next promise
would be the one that
held its form,
only to see it fall asunder,
my breath still fresh
and wet on its disintegrating shape,

until you finally stopped believing in me,
and began believing
in yourself and
your manifold worth,
a worth I could never match
nor appreciate.

I realised then,
your retreating back
my moment of eureka,
that I should never make promises
doomed to only survive
in the echoes of lazy excuses,
as I realise now,
fresh promises newly broken
in my wake,
I should not be the one
to teach their workings,

at least until I better
understand their meaning
myself.

SMALL

Coffins so small
they could be carried
by one man
apiece,

yet the world,
closed eyes finally open,
watched each of you
lowered into the ground,
shoulders offered
to carry you to heaven.

TOES

Though I imagine
they would pinch my toes,
I would wear your favorite shoes
to better understand you –
everything else has failed.

But seeing as you were wearing them
when you left me,
that is another possibility
closed to me;

I know your absence though,
from the tips of my toes
to the worn edges of my heart,

I know your absence,
and the pain contained
within its heavy nothingness.

About the Author:

Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His debut poetry collection “Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge” was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.
He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Lewis Milne, Orson Carroll, Blinded Architect, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.
His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

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