Castle in the air

There is a castle I live in, with glass walls that kiss the sky.

It holds clasped around it an air of mystique, of whispered secrets and hushed murmurs, cloaked around those four glass walls no one has seen within.

There are no doors and windows. No way of entering at all. The glass is tinted, so that everything inside is merely a grey blur.

Inside: the grass is dead, the air stale.

Each day, I step outside, and I am remoulded, recast into different flesh, en vogue.

I step outside and my shadow is lighter, as though I have left a shade of it behind.

I step outside, and my world is anything I want it to be.

I can be one amidst a million again, a thread blending seamlessly into the cloth. Or I can be a single streak of silver against black.


I am a storyteller: telling fairytales of life inside the grey, never lying, nothing true.

Look at the tapestries, I entreat, flourishing the cobwebs that hang from the ceilings.

I am an enchantress: weaving threads of magic in place to fabricate my own reality.

Look at the grandeur, I urge. How the walls stroke the skies, crystal glistening in the moonlight, outshining the stars.

I am an architect: setting stone upon stone, carving a world into being.

Look at the glass walls, I whisper. For you shall see nothing beyond it.

I am anything I want to be.

Your eyes widen, in awe, in admiration. In wonder.

It a heady feeling, that sense of being put on a pedestal, as if the laws of gravity no longer apply to me.

As though I could fly as long as I don’t look down.

I can no longer stop, I have gone too high to fall.

I cannot bring myself to care.

I can fly.

Which is the dream now? Which is the lie?

Then one day, you arrive. You knock at the glass, hand rapping sharply on the walls with no doors. I do not respond. You should not be here.

You knock again.

Silence.

I hold my breath and then sigh, leaning against the walls.

Footsteps echo into silence. You are gone.

I am relieved. Relieved of the truth, of how close you came to seeing it.

But there is a twinge of something I cannot identify right there. Regret? Longing? It is not pleasant- whatever it is- and I dismiss it.

I have only a second’s warning when glass explodes into the air, cracks spiderwebbing along the walls.

You walk straight through: through the tinted glass, the façade of castles and fairy tales, tapestries and skyscrapers.

Lies.

You do not flinch.

Not when the glass shards pierce through your skin, blood dripping onto the dusty wooden floors.

Not when you take in the cobwebs, the damp, musty smell of neglect.

I want to scream. To rant and rage. To throw a fit.

You are not supposed to be here.

I say nothing.

The balance has shifted. The power is in your hands.

I want to strike out like a cornered animal, glaring into your eyes, challenging you to make a single misstep, longing for you to just give me a reason to be angry. It simmers just underneath the surface, underneath this overwhelming shame, the guilt.

My pedestal has gone, and I am falling, falling.

I am Cinderella, without the –ella, only ashes.

Exposed. Vulnerable. It’s too much. Too soon.

Silence.

And then you make an obscene comment.

Laugh.

Offend.

The transition is smooth. Seamless. There is no hitch, no falter in your steps. No pity in your eyes.

The air is stale, the grass dead, but you are the same.

I am grateful.


There is a castle I live in, with glass walls that kiss the skies. There are no doors and windows, no way of entering at all. The glass is tinted, so that everything inside is merely a grey blur.

I pause for effect with all the grace of a serial-gossip about to reveal the biggest secret of her infamous career.

But there are ways, I whisper into your ears. Cracks in the glass.

I nod emphatically for emphasis.

Who knows? One day, she might let you in.

PS In May 2019, I will be moving to a new web address. I’m shifting to a personal domain and I’m so, so excited for you to see it! Buying my domain is giving me so much more freedom for new features, design, and I can’t wait for you to get started there.

But on the downside, all those of you who’ve subscribed to my blog here WILL NOT be notified of new posts anymore. I’d hate for you to miss out just because I’ve shifted addresses, but WordPress doesn’t offer anything to straighten this out.

So to make sure that the change is as seamless as possible, I’d be so grateful if you’d enter your email ID below so we can stay in touch. You can opt-out any time, no hard feelings. I hate spam and I’ll only be reaching out every two weeks or so for blog updates, I promise.

Thank you so much for all your support. ❤

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175 Comments Add yours

  1. Mantra says:

    (Virtual round of applause) This is awesome! You have such talent. I felt like I was actually in the poem!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much! So glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  2. This is such a beautifully written piece!

    We so often try to hide, not allowing love to see within. But then comes the cracks, a way for love to see deep inside; but that requires being vulnerable, so we continue to hide!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      So true… thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! So glad you liked it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Gorgeous By Jeanette says:

    Wow, I read this a few times and I think that every time I felt something different. The first time around it was wonder, then sadness, then hope…. this piece is so great 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That really means a lot to me, Jeanette. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! ❤

      Like

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you, Donald! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very awesome piece of writing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much, Prarthana! ❤

      Like

  5. Storyography says:

    Though you appear to be hermetically sealed within, the fact it is all glass makes you vulnerable to someone who cares enough to shatter those walls. It spoke to me of depression, only very idealized. Intriguing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That’s definitely an intriguing way to see it… thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! It really means a lot ❤️

      Like

  6. Tandi Tales says:

    “I am Cinderella, without the –ella, only ashes.” Love that line.

    This piece is sad. I interpret it as a fear of loving someone out of fear of becoming vulnerable. And lashing out so that someone who cares about you doesn’t get too close. Maybe they hold the key to mutual happiness, but you’re afraid of the changes that might result, so you sabotage what could have been.

    Or maybe I’m waaay off!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That was really beautifully put…
      Haha the way I see it, there can be no right or wrong as far as interpretations go. What you see is what matters.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this piece! It is evocative in a way that allows me to feel something I did not before I read it.

    My gut reaction to the poem was “why would anyone want to inside such an awful place?” This is far more a critique of my own life than it is of the poem itself, and I love the idea that seems the natural outgrowth of this one which is “how can I make the place inside my own castle a place I would like to live in and others would like to visit?” I could not have reached that idea without seeing this castle through your words. Thank you for them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That’s definitely an intruiging perspective… truth be told, I never thought of it that way myself, and this has definitely been an eye-opening interpretation, both as a piece and in my own life.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! It really means a lot ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. thepensmight says:

    A lovely piece, though lovely is too tepid. Lyrical, fantastic and sometimes brutal. Your mind spins realities, disguised as fantasies, with the storyteller’s knowledge that you can be anything or anyone you choose. Aware that, like life, sometimes characters take control of the story and teach you that the story is not the one you thought to tell. You are brimming with intellect, feeling and language, sharing deep truths we revel in, but must take time to try and understand.in relation to our self and incarnation.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That was really beautifully put… I simply love the idea of a character ‘taking control of the story’: certainly makes for a wonderful visual.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! It really means a lot ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You have a wonderful way of writing and connecting to your audience – at least from what I can. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much! That really means a lot ❤

      Like

    2. Youre welcome 🙂 only stating truth 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  10. buendiaerika says:

    Beautiful imagery 💗

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Often, it takes someone special to see our secrets, understand how they have imprisoned us, and to bring us out of ourselves – hopefully, they deserve our trust.
    Powerfully written. – thanx!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      Definitely. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! It really means a lot ❤

      Like

  12. Fred says:

    A castle with glass walls could be a prison (maybe even a curse) or it could be a display case. Cages of any kind both protect you and confine you.

    If it is a curse it is a terrible one for you can look out and see the world and want to participate but cannot. A lot of people would hate to be “on display” in that way.

    Now, if you enjoy being looked at, you could “display” as much as you please and drive everyone crazy and still be safe from someone aggressing on you. That would be the ultimate exhibitionist trip. But alas! Your love life would still suck as you were stuck alone there. Loving yourself “literally” would be the only option.

    You might believe that ONLY the person strong enough and desirous enough to break thru your defenses is the one who deserves to get you. That motif has been repeated in dozens of fairly tales, from Sleeping Beauty to the the Greek myth of Atalanta. Sometimes the glass castle is just an invisible wall you erected yourself.

    Here is a lovely variation on the Glass Castle theme:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Natalie Swift says:

      That was really an interesting perspective on it… I have to admit, though: I thought of none of this when I was actually writing the piece. I simply love how it seems to have taken a life of its own as another reader puts forth their own interpretation. It’s really a beautiful thing to see, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. DP says:

    Beautiful…truly amazing! I have never seen such well crafted prose and poetry on this site.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That really means a lot to me. Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me ❤

      Like

  14. What a beautifully coptivating piece…. I can’t get this analogy for vulnerability out of my head. As though we build our own glass castles, wearing different masks as we go out and about, never truly letting anyone seeing the real ‘us’ that lies underneath.

    You truly have a wonderful gift Natalie ❤👌

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  15. I couldn’t stop reading once I started. It’s beautiful, to say the least.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  16. My Deaf Mind says:

    Awesome! Very amazingly written! Cheers and peace to you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Tom Burton says:

    Beautiful piece! ‘How the walls stroke the skies, crystal glistening in the moonlight, outshining the stars’ – YASSS all of this! 🙂 Love your poetic language. Really captivating read!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That really means a lot to me, Tom. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Really beautifully penned down.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Prarthana! ❤

      Like

  19. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of your writing. You float from one state of being to another so easily – from inside to outside and the past to the present. Very good style and it works very well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked it, Anne! That really means a lot ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  20. cp5_0016 says:

    Wow.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. julieboehm says:

    wow are so beautiful thoughts ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤️

      Like

  22. 9lotusgirl9 says:

    I can relate so much! Thank you for painting a beautiful piece! Your work is amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That really means a lot to me. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Reading your posts is pure bliss natalie… how ever do you do this!!! Anyway… many thanks for sharing and please keep doing so… love you..💕💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed reading ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  24. The glass castle a lens; a life seen through it is a lie. The one who transcends this lie; the light and the truth. Shadow and glass, being one cannot stand up to the light and the truth. It crumbles; lies being unreal cannot hurt the real. Truth simply is; our attempt to hide in our temples of shadow and glass seem to comfort, but that light we fight so desperately to keep out is our own and seems to come from outside because of our shadow glass constructs design. That also is a lie. The face is then seen and we are free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was so beautiful… thank you so much for taking the time to read and share such a lovely thought ❤

      Like

  25. sururapatel says:

    I find this so relateable – such a beautifully written, emotive piece ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I’m glad it resonated.

      Like

  26. You write soulfully, Shreya. Do you only speak of pain even if it may be the inspiration on most occasions? Perhaps, you have written about Hope too. I am thinking aloud after reading a few of your deeply etched reads, so forgive me if I spoke too soon. Stay inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not at all.
      I’ve never thought of it that way; I write what comes to me during that one particular moment, and translates coherently onto the page-which is rare.
      But cold words can never be the sum of a life. I’m no more happy, nor sadder than the next person.
      I suppose it’s harder to communicate pleasure as opposed to pain, because we’re never driven to the effort it takes to write as much as we are in the darker moments of our life.
      But that’s only speculation.

      Liked by 2 people

  27. Phdifestyles says:

    wow…especially this line
    Inside: the grass is dead, the air stale.

    Liked by 1 person

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