Promise we’ll remain a secret, forever – an original poem

So I thought I’d try something a little different. After watching the latest Ghibli movie, When Marnie Was There, I had a thought.

I’ve wanted to try my hand at free verse poetry, so instead of just writing something based on my life, I thought I’d give this a go. Getting into the head of the main character of the movie and express a feeling she was going through at one point in the film.

Here’s my effort…
A fire runs deep inside my heart,

It has burnt everything that was ever inside, leaving me with an empty chamber,

The fire has destroyed what runs deep inside of me,

The feeling of happiness when I see a child laugh is now a foreign language,

Sadness that brings a tear to my dry eyes when I think about all the friends that have travelled opposite paths, seems to have been an experience felt by a different person,

The sense of pride when I look deep into my own eyes in the reflection looking back at me is now a work of fiction,

But yet, I wear that smile on my face.


When I’m outside of these walls I get into character,

The shell that wraps around my burnt heart shows nothing of the aftermath,

I take my steps one foot in front of the other like the person in the house next door,

Like the young girl who practices for her piano lesson in Tokyo, I breath one breathe after the after,

Like the old man who sits in his boat on the Mississippi River, I too feel the sweat on my brow when my body is pushed to the limit,

Like clockwork, my diminishing inside wears the iron mask from morning to night, whilst it continues to collapse,

But yet, I wear that smile on my face.


This is the place where I am.

The place where I was.

The place where I will always be.


This empty feeling is a battle which started long before today,

An ordinary expression is as normal as a soldier shining his boots,

The armour would drop to the floor the second I made it back through the door, surrounded by the same four walls,

Though, these weren’t the same walls,

I had never laid eyes upon this bleak cube, but it felt so familiar,

I travelled the seas, flew through the clouds, walked up the mountains, and each time the destination was the same,

But yet, I wear that smile on my face.


Is it starting to show yet? The cracks in my armour? The cracked paint on the floor?

If I drop to my knees, wold you start to notice?

Enter my world, the universe behind that door,

Watch the moon with me, as we lay hand in hand,

Free my emotions, get rid of the curse that forever follows my shadow,

If I went today, tomorrow, next week, next year, would you cry?

Would you even realise that smile was no longer on my face?


By Matthew Rathbone (aka me)






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