In the Shifting Glimmer

December 28, 2004


In the shifting glimmer of the morning light
He awakes in terror at the lurid sight.
And his mind recoils from the pain of truth
That the white enamel was a human tooth.

Now his soul relaxes as the dream falls past
And he wonders once again how long he’ll last…
Will the Jews discover what he tried to hide?
Will the nightmares cease?  Will he survive their ride?

Now his mind returns to what he’d rather not,
Like the faceless faces he hoped time forgot
And the bounds are broken from the world of dreams
From beneath his pillow he can hear the screams…

For the pain inflicted sixty years ago
For the names of hurt, the things he should not know,
For the blind indifference that he turned their way
He is doomed to live for yet another day.

Now his door bursts open, he is in the street
And the passers-by don’t hear his pounding feet
For it does not matter where he tries to run
Since behind him sounds the call of Hell’s own drum…

In the fading glimmer of the evening’s light
As he settles down for yet another night
Now his mind returns to what it knows is truth:
He’ll forever pay for crimes of errant youth.

Some poems begin as ideas or images or snatches of verse.  This one began as a beat.  I heard the meter in my head first, the da-da-DUM-da-DUM-da-da-da-DUM-da-DUM, and knew I had to find a story or idea to fit it.  While the meter may reflect some kind of a waltz, I heard it as more of a haunting, increasing, and threatening drumbeat.  I imagined it accelerating kind of like a train starting up and growing faster and faster.  So with that sound, I needed an image — someone trying to outrun and escape the terrible force chasing them.  The idea of this poem was born.


  1. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost.

    I have to admit that I don’t like the word lurid. It always feels overstated to me. I like more subtle words or nouns that incorporate the adjective like abomination. I know that wouldn’t fit into your poem though. (I am NOT a poet, but you said you wanted feedback,so…)

  2. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost.

    Hmm… Maybe I’ll look up some synonyms for lurid in the thesaurus…

    Thanks for the feedback!

  3. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost.

    So, I looked up some synonyms and nothing really works as well. I am really aiming for the combined meaning here (defined on dictionary.com as: adj 1: horrible in fierceness or savagery; 2: glaringly vivid and graphic; marked by sensationalism; [syn: shocking] 3: shining with an unnatural red glow as of fire seen through smoke; 4: ghastly pale.

    Don’t know if I can find another word that means all of that, but I’ll keep trying.

    Ghastly was the closest I could come up with, but that seems, I don’t know, too trite.

  4. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost.

    No, ghastly is ghastly. Stay with lurid.

  5. I like the title and the way it adds to the theme of the poem from the opening ‘shifting glimmer’ and end verse ‘fading glimmer’. Has a haunting feel mixed with guilt and regret and with an element of PTSD.

  6. Daniel, this is great. the heart pounds faster with the chase, hell’s own drum. lots of dark images. well done, and a great submission to the symphonic poetry carnival.

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