Elric John Stockley - Cold Baptism

Steps… I have struggled taking steps

One foot in front the other, that’s how you make the steps, but where are they taking me?

What was I born to do? When I walk, I walk with passion yet my feet they never move

And then I see you passing by

You’ve recovered from our deluge and I’m just a passerby

Stood in the rain, just, stood, inside the rain

Looking out, you can’t see in and I am hooked by all the stains

You see, I reflect a lot, about the chances I had missed

You’re forever looking forward you forgot these wicked fists

The downpour once predicted cuts the ties I had with you

Now the full stop once forgotten is underlined subtracting fruits

The ones idyllic trees bare, the proverbs of the whispered verse

About the wisps on tongues, the hits that plunge the minds in whimpered words

I lay ribbons on the femurs as they spread to take the guilt

We both know I wasn’t innocent, don’t we?


Whistle, I hum the songs you whistled

So seraphic in their symphony, I simper at the thistles

When the missives unrelenting would contain infernal waves

They fragmented into soul streams and I was ruptured by the wraiths

In their atramentous coiling, I condoned you falling short

On their alabaster tombs, you foresaw me falling short

I’m on the other side, where I wash myself in spires, revealing robes show father’s fire

The frail chassis of my flesh recedes where waters rise

You were anchored down, waving, subtly to the night, turning, away from what was there

You, me and an ocean between us

I was good at building bridges but you’re good with match and flame

The frugality of fate forces us to watch the blood dilate

I fabricated sources, instillations intervene

We both know I uttered lies, don’t we?


Brimstone, we carved our name in brimstone

Surrounded by a heart it reflected in the wishbone

Etched into shinbones are the dents where I caved

Under all the pressure kicking linings once depraved

Doing my best, I am doing my best

Caught a glimpse of tousled curls but I’m doing my best

And every time you speak his name I will drown in my regrets

Woven demons of my doing they baptise me in the pond

All the lilies root in chest feeding on all that I’ve done that’s wrong

Alive, I must keep them all alive, if I don’t I’m just a failure, aren’t I?

Holding hands can signal love or they can symbolise a loss

It depends on point of view, or, if you are the one forgot

Congenial thoughts will be dismantled by dismay

We both know I love the rain, don’t we?


Who am I to want you now that you’re gone?

Who was I to leave those footprints in the cloud?

Who were they to ask if I am fine?

If I went into the detail they’d have kept on moving by


You’re an apostle of the lord it was written in your name

When he arose a second time you were martyred in the stains

You hold to your beliefs (even when the choice is tough)

You found relief in my release (will I ever be enough?)


Who were you to not want me when I’m gone?

Who were you to lead those stepping stones astray?

Who was I to ask if you were fine?

If you’d gone into the detail, I’d have stayed with you a while


I am a prince of the ruins it was written in my name

I rove the frozen lakes, bitter riptides drain the veins

And the cold baptism births me, into a world that speaks in tongues

And I witnessed you desert me, it’s not the cold that made me numb


Who am I to want you now you’re gone?

Who was I to leave those footprints in the clouds?

I see you through the deluge, I see you passing by

I’d ask how you were doing but I’m just a passerby


About the poem

Prior to writing this poem, I had left my bag in a taxi, the driver had taken it home and said I would need to collect it from his in Leyton, the same road where my ex-boyfriend lives. It would take me three attempts to finally get it. On the 3rd visit, I saw my ex and felt like a stranger. How surreal to be the closest person in someone’s life, only to end up in the cold. As if life had baptised me anew, he did not recognise me, I’m forever grateful I knew him. Thank you, Tom.



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