Pannus – Robert Smith

That could not pass as do the shadows

I’d like to enter a poem for the Voices competition. My name is Robert Smith and I’m deeply inspired by nature and romantic poetry. I’m currently a neuroscience student and I’m particularly interested in how the wiring and biology of our brains can convert so beautifully, if sometimes inadvertently, into verse.


And so my soul sat

Beneath the branches

Of some old oak tree.

Crisp, erratic beats broke


Above me,

As black and gold light fell

Like an unbounded aerial locomotive

Across the wood that stood

In front of me

Turbulent and free.

I quite contented to

Spend the life there,

Near narrow brooks

By occluded orchards.

There was song to the wind

And sight to the sunset.

All whilst my company cackled

From height and sward.

Yet with darkness came distension.

The stars cast a shadow

Over my heart 

That could not pass as do the shadows

Of the light.

My heart, my soul could be as one

If only thought could fly and wind could speak

So that my heart would move its shadow

With the changing of the air.

And then I might sit happily,

Beneath this olden oak

For evermore.

Yet like a stream my heart did flow

In relentless fashion.

Far away from here,

To prison.

For a man does know

That his strength has purpose.

A purpose that cannot be excised

Or sculpted, or moved.

A purpose that holds

All fate together.

A purpose beyond one’s own soul,

Beyond desire

Beyond life itself.

To fight, to serve

To endure.

Robert Smith

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

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