How frail, in truth,

is the world that we tread?

Captains and kings

claiming calm sea’s ahead

as they’re riding high

upon their silver spoons

laughing, as below

the world withers too soon.


How thin the membrane

of life’s brittle bubbles,

building our barriers

and avoiding all troubles.

Do we wonder at the reasons;

do we hide or protect

as we inch to the edge

to see what we detect?


“What was that sound;

was there movement out there.

Should I really be asking;

do I even dare?”

Tentatively touching

the flimsy façade,

so supple is the skin

that we daily guard.


Looking back upon life,

the days growing harder,

the air is much thicker,

so little left in the larder.

Hands hardened by toil

beneath a burning sun

and yet there, outside,

I hear people having fun.


“Am I guardian or prisoner

in this creaking cocoon?”

A creeping curiosity

and yet, gone just as soon.

“I wonder what would happen

if I pressed against the skin,

would it hold or would it buckle,

this shield of thought, so thin.”


“But wait, all is silent;

the laughter there has ceased

and what’s that sound up above,

the sky looks like it’s creased.

Did they read my thoughts;

hear my questioning refrain?

Better back off slowly

and hope the bubble takes the strain.”


“I pray now to the masters

that my bubble doesn’t burst,

to leave my family dying

of hunger and thirst.

Better get back to the fields

and plant my meagre seeds,

hope that nobody noticed me,

and my selfish deeds.”


A quick look over his shoulder

and he’s so relieved to see

that the shadows have receded,

he is once again ‘free’

and deep down within,

he breathes a sigh of relief,

for nothing good can come

from upsetting the chief.


But somewhere deeper down

there lies a lingering doubt

getting stronger day by the day,

pushing it’s way out.

Questions to ask,

needing answers from those

who do all they can

to conceal and transpose.


One day it will grow,

for him, just too strong

to resist the urge

and it won’t be long.

He fears for that time,

for he knows it must come,

the questions will burst free

like bullets from a gun.


Destroying the flesh

of this fragile façade

and revealing a world

so desolate and marred.

The one that the masters

try so hard to hide,

a world, once our home

is now dying inside.


But we’re safe in our bubbles;

our precious little worlds,

they tell us to be quiet

and be good boys and girls.

They look after our needs

so we don’t need to fret,

just work and raise a family,

all you need, you will get.


And life as we know it

is once again stable,

a daily routine

to put food on the table.

He tills his fields

and sows his seeds

And forgets, with a grin,

his recent misdeeds.


At the end of the day

he lays down his head

but the pit of his stomach

hides a darkening dread.

For the questions return

with vengeance and might,

as he settles once again

for a long and restless night.



Written by Darren Scanlon 12th September 2014

Revised 1st July 2015.

©2015 Darren Scanlon. All rights reserved.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. olganm says:

    Disturbing thoughts and very universal. Thanks Darren.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, Olga.


  2. Olga says:

    One of your best poems. Love the visual. So thought-provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annie B says:

    Wow! Such powerful words, Darren

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Annie B says:

        My pleasure!


  4. jenanita01 says:

    compelling words for a stark world, Darren. All the people in power all over the world should read this poem and see the truth therin…

    Liked by 1 person

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