David Atkins

A Five Minute Lifetime

The shrill bell sounds,
An announcement,
That a brief life,
Spanning five minutes
Has just been born.

I arise full of energy,
Followed by countless others
Who also prepare to travel the hall
With me.

I step out into the hallway:
Floor sometimes dark and dirty,
Sometimes mirror-clean,
Yet constant, and traversed by all.

We are all alike, connected
By the fact that we will all travel
The same unpredictable, boisterous path.
Yet our journeys are all different.
Some longer, some shorter,
Beginning and ending here and there.

Walking along, I see a face,
A face I did not hope to see.
I step aside, taking the wall,
Seemingly out of harmís way.
Yet the blind crowds who walk with me shift,
Unknowingly forcing me towards my mark.
And we meet, and at last I move on,
And the incident is soon forgotten.

Swiftly, uninhibited, I dart now
Between bodies, to approach rapidly
My destination, my end.
I flash along, toes barely meeting Earth,
Until a block of people brings
Me to
A stop.

Annoyance: I will be late now,
Yet as I glance around in my impatience
I notice something in a display case,
A piece of beauty I had never recognized,
Maybe seen before, but only now appreciated.
Or perhaps a new face, a sapling
Among the ancient trees.

At last I arrive, tired by now,
And fed up with the bustling hallway.
I sit, my journey over,
To await the second bell
That will be the end.
But a new beginning will come
Within the hour.


Copyright © 2002-2011 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose © 2002-2011 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission.