Here is your last chance to escape the mundane;
billowing smoke ascends ahead
the arrival of the final train,
the trip you’ll make before you’re dead
hangs like a flamboyant gambler’s whim
toying with dice inside your head.
A cubic ruse gathers momentum
to picture facets like a refrain,
turning and spinning, a secret hum
thundering ahead of the approaching train,
the spasm before it consents to land
becomes the jolt that jars your dream.
The dice hurtles from the hand,
the hand of fate in wild scheme;
each facet contains a glittering world,
tumbling and growing, giddy with flight.
A yawning square holds heaven or hell,
hands inviting the reckless leap.
The face that swallows you knows no map,
the journey that draws you to waters deep;
in reflection and movement, a well to tap
when courage drives you from the mundane.
Lofty pluck rears and doubt is quelled
while cowardice sobs to the old refrain.
Plan, if you can, a momentous ride,
draw out from wishing uncharted lands;
in the darkness of yearning, strength resides
sketched from dreams by a moving hand;
quickly board the impatient train
as it rumbles, anxious to depart;
conjure a life beyond the narrows,
fashion a life lived like art.
Without regret and free of sorrows,
dare the dice of hell, or heaven thronged
waiting in a shudder of tears,
a flood-tide swept in mumbling tongues.
A voice whispers to me from a dream,
‘This is your last chance to escape the mundane’.
My eyes squint tightly in morning’s sheen;
I hear the whistle of the thundering train
as the world of dreams swiftly recedes
and I’m swallowed by the senses again.
Elizabeth Barton is an artist and poet from New Zealand, with work featured in Pink Plastic House, Fevers of the Mind, Black Bough Poetry’s Rapture and Christmas/Winter Edition 2021 and Vita Brevis Literature, Nothing Divine Dies. A winner of the 2020 White Label Cinq competition, she has a forthcoming poetry collection to be published by Hedgehog Poetry Press. Her art is in private and public collections worldwide, including the V & A Prints Collection, London.