Monday, 20 February 2012

False security

Two ton death bears down on me;
I stand protected by a white line.
A twenty ton beast charges my car;
This time a broken line is my refuge.
We feel three dimensional security,
From a two dimensional line.
What fools we are,
to believe our lives assured by lines.

How easily the illusion is shattered,
In flying glass and torn metal.
But this is a rare occurrence,
In a society which follows rules.
Where we take our responsibilities seriously,
And live by our social contract.
But, as any social contract,
This relies on the will of all.

If you want to see confusion, even fear,
Break the rules, if only for a second.
Or look instead to others,
When their clean guides do not appear.
Watch them forget how to handle themselves,
As common sense flees.
Even now I sit behind a protecting line,
I spare not even a thought for safety, should I?

I came up with the premise of this poem one day while driving and just reflecting on the fact that I felt completely safe even with cars flying at me at 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour) simply because I was on my side of the white line.

The more I thought of it the more foolish this feeling of security seemed, but at the same time it is completely neccessary to allow us to drive.

What do you think?

The great photo comes from photographer Olivia Bell and is called 'On the Black and White Road'.


  1. smiles....yes we assume safety often thinking as long as we stay in the lines all is well...until it sneaks up on us...your opening made me think about a bear that attacked a car going down the interstate last year....both came away pretty messed up...

  2. I think you are right, and I love how you wrote this. I colored within the lines and looked with awe and fear at the first person I met who did not. Long long ago, I walked down a center line. but someone saved me, luckily.

    Lines: "What fools we are, / to believe our lives assured by lines." Yet as you say, not being this foolish leads to chaos.

  3. I like this poem. It does have a modern feel to it. It is not a triversen, of course. Not sure exactly what you want in terms of comment. There is truth and imagination in your free verse poem. There isn't much, though, in the way of set form..perhaps that's the point. You're protected behind a white line, or a computer screen and are free to break the rules. It is a discussion, in part, isn't it about breaking the rules.

  4. So true! We live securely behind these lines--some of them unseen--and the slightest disregard for them can cause utter chaos.
    Excellent thoughts, well written!

  5. Thanks for the thoughts and comments!

    Interesting what you say Beachanny about the free-form structure of the poem tying into the subject. And I had never thought of that idea that behind a computer screen you can get away with breaking poetic rules (if they exist?!).

    I have never studied poetry so am learning the different forms and structures as I go along, or in some cases, like this one, not following much of a structure.