Long gone

Long gone

What I tell myself was
The real me
Stood up once

And walked from the corral,
– boots dust-dulled, gloves stuffed
in his faded jeans’ back pocket –
Without a care in the world,

Touched his hat
To the old man on the porch,
Smiled at some secret
Held then and now forgotten
And was never seen again.


I wrote this poem back in 2008, in the midst of one of my regular identity crises. My last post, and the wonderful poem David shared with us today, prompted me to exhume it and publish it for the first time. I guess we’re all in search of the elusive ‘real me’ – after three more years’ writing, I feel I have a slightly clearer idea now. Can’t rule out the occasional wobble, though.

8 thoughts on “Long gone

    • Thank you, Christine – on some days I feel as though I’m finally pinning myself down, while on others the ‘real me’ seems as slippery and indefinable as ever. Unless ‘slippery and indefinable’ IS the real me, of course…wouldn’t be the first time that’s been suggested, either! I’m starting to think that working out who we really are is a lifelong process. Every version of ourselves is true, I suppose: I can speak French but that doesn’t make me any less English; I can love both the Sussex countryside and the Rocky Mountains without one denying or precluding the other. What I find hardest is accepting and valuing all these diferent sides of myself, and brokeering some kind of peace between my constantly warring passions!

      —– Original Message —–

  1. Hi Nick,

    that last part of the poem is so brilliant 🙂

    You told yourself that the real you once stood up and moved on… Elusive or not, I think that means the old one actually did that. Wanted too, anyway. Is that not about the same? 😉

    You have no idea how that line moves me or struck me, not sure how to say it. Wanting to walk away from the old you, that takes nerve and guts. Bravo! 🙂 I am sure you moved a bit on in reality too!

    In the tags I see Canada. That puzzles me. (I can’t spell intruige or I would have used that word.) I thought corrals were US Western stuff. Maybe you would like to tell?


    • Oh Ina. There are days when I really don’t know if I managed to walk away from that 20-year-old me or not. He keeps coming back to haunt me, even though I’ve tried so hard to accept the realities of grown-up life. The first line really sums up my uncertainty: was that the real me, or do I just tell myself it was? How complicated this all getting!

      As to the intrigue (!) like you I didn’t know there were corrals (and cowboys) in Canada until I went there and saw them for myself. It was one of those moments after which nothing is ever quite the same again. Which is why I’m still thinking and writing about it 23 years later! Thank you for your kind, generous thoughts and responses, as always.

  2. We have been travelling parallel paths Nick.
    I started writing poems in 2005 and a lot of my early poems were of the ‘Who is me?’ variety.
    I do think that writing them helped. Certainly writing poetry helps – in certain situations it has a very therapeutic affect.
    I take it as a good sign that the poetry I am writing these days is mostly different from that. As is most of yours 🙂

    But let us not, either of us, take ourselves too seriously 🙂


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