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Matchbox man

Under the bridge in the pale moonlight Matchbox man sleeps out of sight, Paper and cardboard for his bed, a pillow of rags for his head, His blanket - an army overcoat, in his pocket a letter - the last he wrote.

A decrepit body - he is imprisoned, hair like silver, loose skin wizened, Stories written – upon his face around his eyes, tapestries of lace, His cold right hand a tight gnarled knot, clutches a matchbox, all he’s got.

A single match remains inside, saved for years so he can’t hide, And as he sleeps – his dreams take shape wishful youth – make his escape, But then they shift and disappear his mind once more is filled with fear,

And in the twilight of the night he hears a shout ‘put out that light’, then guns are roaring, bullets flying and all around him men lie dying, Back through time near fifty years under cardboard close to tears,

he wonders if it’s time to light, the last matchstick - give up the fight, Only the match offers release from the dark that gives no peace and the single match he chose to strike, when lying behind that war-time dyke.

But then the dawn lights a new day, and Matchbox man must be on his way, Rolls up the cardboard, paper bed, hides the rags used for his head, Places matchbox - next to unread letter, and hopes the day brings something better.

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