Poem: No Eye Contact

Crowded together, like cattle in a train car.

Pushed together like sheep in a shed.

Eating, drinking, breathing, sweating,

thinking, feeling, loving, losing, being.


Faces folded inwards, keeping their space.

Bodies hunched against the presence

Curling, flinching, fearing, holding,

silently cursing the closeness.


No one makes eye contact, not one.

Eyes stay cast down, faces remain blank.

Never smiling, no laughing, only grimness

fear and loathing, pulling inward, pulling.


The sky could be painted purple and green

but they would never see it above their heads.

Casting eyes downward to the grey tiled tables,

wishing, praying, hoping, crying inside, dying.


It would only take one to break this prison open.

One to look up and smile, to laugh, to speak.

Freeing! Flying! Dancing and laughing!

Hoping, dreaming, encouraging, living!


Fear is too strong and hope is too weak to try.

They would rather die without risking the living.

No flying, no freedom, no risks and no rewards.

No dancing barefoot in the rain, and no eye contact.

No eye contact.


December 5, 2011 in response to the prompt at Magpie Tales. Sorry for the darkness of it.



  1. Helen said,

    December 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Your poem is amazing!!!! Reading it more than one time – required!!

    • shanyns said,

      December 6, 2011 at 12:10 am

      Helen – thank you so much! I appreciate that! Great to see you stop by.

  2. brian miller said,

    December 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    free flying smiling dancing…yes lets look up, make contact and live much more than what this picture portrays….very nicely done….

    • shanyns said,

      December 6, 2011 at 12:10 am

      Brian – thanks! I wasn’t sure about how well it would be read, but you’ve let me know it works! Yay! Glad you stopped by.

  3. Old Raven said,

    December 6, 2011 at 6:03 am

    This is really good … it is hard to articulate but I think what really touches me is that I feel that it is really you speaking in the poem … like you are angry with all of these people for being so inward. This is cool. Shanyns … I think that you might like Mellow Yellow Monday. I say that because I think of your sunflowers and all of their yellow joy. I have the badge on my blog … but it is not linked. If you click on my category “Mellow Yellow Monday” … it should take you to a photo of mine that is linked to “Mellow Yellow Mondays.”

    • shanyns said,

      December 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      Raven – thank you for coming by. I appreciate your thoughts. I’m going to find Mellow Yellow Monday for sure! :0)

  4. December 7, 2011 at 12:56 am

    I love the verbs here — curling,fearing, clinching, holding, etc. Great choices. So well constructed.

  5. December 7, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Your second-to-last stanza provides the key, the means of escape from a pointless existence. Another excellent interpretation of the picture.

    • shanyns said,

      December 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      Thanks Kerry 🙂 It is the key and yet so many are so reluctant to reach for it…thanks for stopping by!

  6. Doctor FTSE said,

    December 7, 2011 at 7:21 am

    You have rendered the absence of contact very effectively.

  7. December 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

    i like dark 🙂

  8. Poets Rally said,

    December 20, 2011 at 8:04 am


    Hope all is well.

    Noting that you have won the perfect poet award for week 58,
    what an achievement, thanks for your outstanding contribution to us
    along the way, keep up the excellence. Best!

    Come join our poetry rallyby Friday if you wish to mingle and get inspired!

    A poem of your choice or a free verse is accepted.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    Looking forward to seeing you share.
    Respect and hugs.

    • shanyns said,

      December 23, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Thank you very much! I’ll post as soon as I can…and I’m honoured!

  9. Mick Turner said,

    January 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Such power in your words and even the cadence of the stanzas lends itself to the mood – alone in a crowd, I suspect we have all been there and that is why the poem resonates so deeply with so many. Even in their isolation, the characters in the poem seem to resent the presence of others, even if it is those very others that hold their salvation and healing. Very powerful. Thank you for sharing this poem – yes, it is dark but in that darkness is experiential truth; I think Thoreau called it “quiet desperation.”

    • shanyns said,

      January 20, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Thank you Mick for your thoughtful comment! So glad you are here.

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