Words, Pauses, Noises would like to introduce a new writer to its community, Raif Mansell. Take a moment to soak in the beautiful imagery and melancholy of Mansell’s poetry, in this week’s piece, ‘The Tender and the Damned.’ In a way, this theme feels appropriate to those of us who are returning to our studies as the new university year starts, feeling both vulnerable and unsure of ourselves and our humanity almost each and every day. But it is the little spark of tenderness that reminds us of our dreams and and our ambitions. So we soldier on.
The Tender and the Damned
most describe people
as the damned;
robots who autopilot around,
eating and sleeping inside
loveless houses and loveless marriages.
but people are also the tender
with dreams fragile as mechanical birds –
so tender and transparent you can almost
hear the soft squawking in their chest –
squawk swawk as soft as raindrops
if you left a hand out on an open windowsill.
listen for it; don’t assume it’s
cold inside. when those dreams
fall apart in a shower of tiny cogs, those
dreams are tender but also cowardly –
these failures are dealt with by a look
at the watch, a scratch of the hand –
a lifting of the wine glass or
a handing of the credit card.
our pleasures may be damned but the world is not;
it is tender and cowardly where everyone hides
behind their piece of land-
picks at the ground,
watches the world and its weeds
strokes the head of the tender bird.
Join us over the next few weeks as we present a cacophony of new voices; poets, storytellers, and essayists from all over looking to share their words with you lovely readers.