Imperative (the Javert Poem)
by inez stanley

Sit down
Watch me stand here
Pretending not to watch you
Watch me invisibly fiddle with my
Inhibitions and uncertainty
Straight-backed and merciless
To myself more than anyone else
My voice is harsh and loud
Or the voice of silence,
Whispering and deadly in its coldness
Like blizzards of breath
Taking a pinch of snuff
Because I am so pleased with myself
For commiting yet another cruel, heartless act
Which shows the world, though the world were blind
Exactly how lonely I am.
You with your golden hair, your happy eyes,
And that rebellious schoolboy you've taken a liking to
Not worthy, never worthy of your affection
Listen to me! Am I any better?
I am old... so old.
I feel the years advancing upon me with every step.
And you, with your innocence and youthfulness
Deserve someone much better
Than I can ever hope to be.
Now stand up
Turn your back from me
And never again trouble your eyes with the sight of me
If I cannot be with you, at least I can protect you.
I will try, with all my heart and soul,
To preserve your young life
While I stand in the shadows.
On my own.
Written for Javert and Eponine.