Climbing Shelves

Poem by: Mathew Nicolson


What is at the top?


Submitted: August 12, 2011

A A A | A A A


Submitted: August 12, 2011



I want to go to the top
You're mad!
Why not?

Slouching on a moth eaten chair
Nibbling at stale cheese
In a room that should be ten times larger
On the bottom shelf

The ladder is pulled up
I work on my own, of course
Nobody is mad enough to
Nobody is interesting enough to

Climbing, two steps at a time
What is up there?
I must see!
I can smell cheap fragrance

Peeking over the surface
What a sight I see
Metal, steam, oil and fire
Movement all around and everywhere

Only I am immobile
Frozen by intrigue and disgust
I walk forwards,
Say "hello!"
And am ignored
The trains keeps dashing
The crowds sweep away
The fires blaze
And I am ignored

This is only the first shelf
There are five, all in all
Better get climbing
Before the trains can run me over

Climbing, climbing
Will the ladder make it?
I can see my house from here
Oh no, the roof has fallen in

Two faces staring at me
Another two glaring at me
Haul me up
Throw me down
I've got some explaining to do

How am I here?
What do I want?
Am I a threat?
Of course I am

The plank is laid
With ribbons and rosettes
They gather behind me, point at me
There is only one way down

But what's this?
A rope falls from above
With spears one way, the shelf ending another
I grab it and ascend

The shelves fall below me
I can't see my house from here
Only the flames
I rise through a trap-door
I am on the fourth shelf

Robes, majesty, splendour
They greet me, feed me steak
With the best wine I've tasted
The only wine I've tasted

I tell them I want to go up
From joy to terror, their faces go
"Don't go up there, no no no"
"That's where the Bramdam live"

"The Bramdam?" I ask
"The Bramdam," they confirm
"What are they?" I ask
Them on the top shelf, of course!

Despite their protests, despite their pleas
I set the ladder to climb
It creaks now, it aches
This shall be the last climb

Can anyone hear us?
Help us?
Save us?
It's ever so cold

This wasn't what I expected
Not at all
This is the top shelf!
How can it be?
How can it be?

Cobwebbed figures, paralysed, dead?
This is the worst shelf yet
I want to go home
Wait... no...
Behind them, look
This is fabulous
This is...

Hey, everyone!Come on up!

© Copyright 2017 Mathew Nicolson. All rights reserved.

Climbing Shelves

Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy



Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy



What is at the top?
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