The biggest fear has always been that fallen once, I could not rise again
That should I slip upon the stone, helpless held, down pressed – Alone
There would be nothing - except nothingness and taste of pain.
I strove to rise with mighty leap, above the highest in the heap
Struggling fiercely through the tide
In which those weaker slipped and died
Dropping to nothing - except nothingness
Death's frightful reign.
It came of course, the thing despised, against a thing by men devised
Pulled down and smashed against the curb
All my taste knowing bitter herb
I expected nothing - except nothingness
All hope in vain.
But when I fell. to my surprise, I saw a look in one man's eyes
His hands outstretched to pull me up
A tender mercy, outstretched cup
In the midst of nothing - except nothingness
Gift of Cain.
Why? I asked, in awful awe, knowing the death in Nature's law
Should you risk the spot you've won?
To pull me up toward bright day's sun
Out of the nothing - awful nothingness
In which I've lain.
Before I could heard his soft reply, he was pulled from his place and brought to lie
Tattered and marked, covered with mud
Against the curb that had known my blood
Seeming to be nothing - except nothingness
of men's disdain.
I leaped once more toward the sun, higher than I’d ever done
Remembering the eyes of the man who fell
Toward rotten stone and dark alone hell
I found nothing - except the nothingness
of lonely pain.
Now something beckoned me even more, than the highest leap ever known before
I needed to lift the man below, to see his eyes and have him know
It wasn't the highest leap above and alone
that was the greatest good I'd ever known…
But his hand outstretched to lift me up, to give me place and share the cup
If in lifting him, I should fall toward stone
Tattered my flesh and broken my bone
It could not be toward nothing - awful nothingness
Nothing's when you're Alone.
Opaline Marks is the pen name of Opal Markiewicz, a writer of novels, short stories and nonfiction essays.