Poetry by William C. Clark III
Note to the Reader
Dear reader, thank you for taking the time to read this text. It is my aim in writing this that by
sharing my own personal story I can help make the world a bit better. Anyone who has ever
felt alone, isolated, judged and guilty, or like an outsider this text is written for you and so
that you may know even if you are an outsider, of any type you can achieve your dream. My
second goal is to show the world the more difficult aspect of being disabled. At least to me,
that is mental health. I hope you enjoy the reading, and it can help inspire you to chase your
Upward and Onward
-William C. Clark III
A Note to Those Who Inspired This Text
To those who inspired the entries that you are about to read, I want you to know I love and
appreciate all of you. This text is not my way of slandering or defaming anyone, it is in
simplest terms an expression of my truth. I wrote this as a form of baring my soul to say in my
own way what I could never hope to properly express in an average exchange between you
and I. I hope this note finds you well and you are living your best life.
Sincerely and forever yours
The Defying Cry
Tragedy does not define us
How we choose to face it does.
Do we flee from the all-encompassing shadow of dread?
Do we stand strong and charge forward to slay the shadow?
These are the questions I had to ask myself every moment of my life.
For I have lived mine from the bars of an invisible cage.
It is invisible because why I may be blessed to walk, talk and speak
I still am different, my walk a limp and heart shattered.
As this was not a prison of my own design.
No, the bars were forged by the sins of the mother.
When I was born, I could not breathe.
Kept alive by machines and a weakly deformed babe let out a wail
A cry, a definite statement to the cruel world
As to tell it, I am here and I go to the void.
Against all odds, the babe lived.
His father ever the silent guardian.
Two winters would pass and the father would hear those horrible words
That his only son, his dearest child was disabled
Never to walk, talk, or speak
The babe’s fate looked grim.
The father wept as he heard the doctor.
As he looked at his son, the old warrior knew that wasn’t his fate
The Boy had to undergo seventeen surgeries.
Each one the same site would pass his eyes
As that horrible mask would be pressed on his face,
Forcing him into a shallow sleep
He would fight the sleep knowing that no pleasant dreams would follow
Only unearthly pain, at last, the boy would submit to the mask
As he’d whispered “why god” and drifted away
The horrifying silhouette of the doctors being the last thing the child would see
For years this was the story, a constant story
While the boy was being trained to walk
Each surgery giving him more use of his body.
From chair to cane and painful brace, the boy moved but barely.
His legs cut by the brace, digging into his flesh.
His legs felt as if they were lit aflame with every movement.
The boy would want to collapse under the pain and give in
He wanted to give into a life in the chair but always
The father looked upon him with his steely gaze.
That gaze that in the father’s youth had won him so many battles
Now gave the boy hope for in it he saw the same strength he wanted.
The father not wanting the son to reside in a world of everlasting pain
So the guardian searched endlessly
For a way to give the boy the life he knew he could have
Till Brothers old gave the family hope
Telling the father your boy shall walk without pain or aid of a brace.
One last time the mask was placed on him and the dreamless sleep took him.
For what seemed like an eternity, he slept only to awake to a great pain
While the beep of the machines matched to the rhythm of his heart”
His father came to greet him with his grandmother
The boy smiled for he knew he had won.
For weeks he lay in a cast, then walked with wires attached
Then came the shock of lighting from a machine to his legs.
Each shock painful, each step burnt more than the ones before
This time, however, was different as the boy was free
Free of brace or cane or even chair, his legs were his.
Then the greatest gift happens to the boy
He sees his father smile
So he marched to let out a yell a defyinge cry.
Not a declaration of will power but a promise to the day
As to say I shall fade away
This entry is dedicated to Jenna. Thank you for being my anchor of insanity in an all too often
too dull world. I am blessed to have you as an amazing champion in this journey called life.
The Unseen War inside the invisible cage
The sunshine sneaks through the glass window of my room.
It’s light pushes through cleansing away the void of the night
As another morning is born and with it all the unlimited promise
The promise that today is the day where it could be different
Where I can achieve all my hearts desires as I rise from my sleep
The bird’s song echoes through my room filling my heart with joy
As if Eros himself is playing the harp their songs bring me to life
One leg at a time my feet touch the cold floor on the earth.
I walk forward to begin my day, no pain.no oddity to detect
My Pomeranian runs over to greet me with an unbiased love
As I begin to get ready. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror
Even now after my twenty-five winter’s, I pause for a moment
I glance at my weakened leg as I see it supporting my body
Just then the cold waters of reality wash over me
Followed by waves of churning boiling anger
As the song of Eros’s harp softened in my heart
For each and every day I am reminded that I live in a cage
The invisible cage in which I fight inside from Sunrise to Sunset.
Forced to serve a life sentence for a crime in which I did not commit
Then the cold shallow flowing waters of turn into an ocean
As I am weighed down more
Like the hands in the river Styx, I am dragged down deeper to the bottom
The hands being every promise I ever left unfulfilled
Every heart I left broken and every disappointment I ever caused
As I am sinking, I ask myself am I a burden am I the monster.
Then I’m reminded of those who I love
Those you who fought for me and lifted me up
Those who embrace me when I failed and those you have forgiven me
Then I swim through the ocean of despair knowing that I am not alone
So I breathe. shake my head, and am back in my home
My dog’s eyes looking at me with a certain faith
That look that says to her I can do anything
So I march forward one foot in front of the other
Into our beautifully cruel world.
That is when the bars of the cage tighten and the unseen battle worsens.
As I walk, people shout horrible things from the busy street.
Monster, freak and all manner of beast are made reference to
Those words I can handle
For my body may be broken, my soul is strong
What does creep through my armor is the pity or fear.
At times children cry or grip on to their mothers pleading to know
About the man with the limp,and instead of stopping to ask they speed off
These hurt the most as when adults are guided by ignorance
it be dismissed or disregarded
However, the fear in the children hurts far worse as it is unfiltered
That is what they see is like Grendel to the Danes
They see a monster
A misfortunate soul cursed by the wilds of natural selection
To wear the sins of another
These are the hardest moments the sideways glances
That remind me in their eyes I am less
A subspecies of human a fact that without this social stigma
I would have no idea that I was a monster in their eyes
For I feel no different, process no different, still this leg marks me
As such things do for those who are worse than I
Then I mourn for a family I have yet to create
My heart breaks for a soulmate that I have not met
Or as fate wills, it too meets once more as they too will share in this
The burden with me,and that is almost enough to stop a man
To stop him from loving,but I am reminded that I have loved
That there are those who don’t see it as a curse,but a mere oddity
A character trait that gives me a certain kind of power of fortitude
In the past, I have lost those who have loved me because of fear
I feared that a monster like I could not be loved, but now that I am older
I have met so many that showed me otherwise
Whose passion for life and their fellow man
Acts as a golden boat in my ocean of despair as I sail forth
To a new and better future knowing that even if the boat tips,
I have them to lift me up from the water and that together
even I can win this forlorn war
As my cage may always be with me,
It’s bars are now a bastioned
Impenetrable from the river and rains that long ago.
To steward onward to a better world and win the Unseen war and as for the
Why I will not say your name as there is no need, I still think of you often and hope that you
will one day forgive the past so that we can move forward. Until then I will for now and
always adore you. – mea puella pulchra CRINITUS
A Moment in Time
I was often told as a child our lives are forged by moments in time.
A Moment that seems small and forgetful at first,
But has the power to shape our entire world
One such moment occurred when I was young
A mere boy only on the cuffs of manhood
That’s when I met her, the stars must have aligned
My life was forever changed.
When I first saw her it was not her grayish blue eyes
Or her fire like hair that took my breath away.
It was the power of her presence
Under her shy and nervous surface.
I felt an instant connection that I could not explain.
You saw past the invisible cage.
You did not see the broken body nor the slurred voice,
No what you saw was my soul.
A mere meeting soon blossomed into the wonderful flower of friendship.
For hours we would discuss art, philosophy,and the works of the Romans.
A spark in my heart would kindle into a flame of passion.
A flame that felt as if it were a gift from Prometheus himself
Fire warmed my cold heart and melted away the bars of the invisible cage.
I felt free of myself as I knew you saw me, and I began to truly live.
Winters came and went and as we grew older,our bond was all the stronger.
Each obstacle he faced, our appreciation for one another grew.
The Passion was never spoken of saving in a whisper.
Each time the whisper grew louder, we ran from one another.
Till we moved on maintaining an illusion of friendship, we found new partners.
Our bond still strong, we thought the flame was subbed out.
You moved in with another man, while I had a ring on my finger.
Months would pass until we would see one another.
I was happy, but in the twilight of the morning,I’d think of you
The weight of my ring finger grew heavier
As in every piece of art, I’d think of you
Every reading of a poem, I’d hear your excitement.
Over time the weight of the ring was too much
It slides off my finger, and with a bittersweet sadness, I was released.
I was free to love you once more
To recapture our moment in time.
You and I met again, and we started where we left off
Like time itself had stopped.
The flame came to life, and every moment together felt like a gift.
We would sneak off to private parts of a party and talk in whispers
Our eyes meeting, our souls humming
Your partner was in the other room mere feet from us.
Never violating his trust and ensuring to never break my honor.
For if we did,the fantasy of our union would be broken
Destroyed by the reality of our own misdeeds.
The words linger on my lips as you would leave
I want to shout, “ love you.”
I don’t,as in my heart I knew your heart was not mine alone.
Then one night he leaves town.
You visit me and sit drawing ever closer to me.
We talk what the next morning will bring, but your partner pulls in the driveway
You push me away from you and run outside
In your fear forgetting to say goodbye.
Now in an empty home, I feel tears fall down my face.
As your greatest fear was realized
The fantasy was broken and this bitter coldness of reality came closing in
I sit down a broken man
As I realized I almost committed the greatest sin
I almost broke my honor and your partner’s trust.
You showed up at my door whispering
Saying sorry for canceling our plans
You drive off, and I’m left to pick up the pieces.
We saw each other every couple of months, but never like we did
Then you and your partner went your own ways.
Once again old patterns arose
Shorty after you vanished again, tragedy struck my home
I was angry at the world and you resurfaced
When we talked, my words turned into venom
They hurt you, and in a moment,you vanished.
When the grief over my personal loss passed, I reached out
It was then I realized you were really gone.
I was empty and broken, and the pain still lingers
Now that one winter has passed since you left and another soon to leave us
For budding flowers and the green of spring
I look up at the winter sky and say, “I’m sorry.”
As I hope and pray for the stars to align.
So that their light may lead us to another meeting
To allow us to write the last page of our story
But until then I always have our moment in time.
To my dearest father, thank you for all you do and all you have done. I hope this entry is able
to say what I never could. If I end up being a man half as great as you, I will consider my life
well lived,for no man can be as great as you.
Read more of William Clark’s poetry in our Spring Edition!