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Stolen Calm

·961 words·5 mins·
Poem-Swap 2023
Jerry S
Jerry S
Table of Contents

Stolen Calm

I time traveled to the future, to a day where I slept deep
And siphoned off my dreaming self a soothing balm of calmful streams

I time traveled to the past, to a day two auras danced
Then regretfully I stole my own hope with enchanted gloves of chance

“Some goes in, some must come out” is the rule of equal exchange.
I gifted my past and future undesired vexing derange.

Forgive me, selves of different days
With serene bright in your hearts
Today’s pitch-dark inky stain, you’ll barely feel it smart

Clockwork magecraft and thefted graces are not simple happenstance
But with these I set a new path beyond a casual stranger’s glance

Jace Beleren, Planeswalker, Mind Mage

Inspiration Revealed

My muses inspire me when I write.

Your muses inspire you when you read.

Below I choose to disclose the inspirations and interpretations of my own poems.

Maybe our muses told us some of the same things. Read on below if you really want to find out.


The Jace Beleren image I included at the end is completely unrelated in terms of inspiration for the poem, but the imagery of a mage is perfect since magecraft is the type of thing I wish I were capable of. As you’ll read below, I am, in a way, capable of it already.

The other images also did not serve as inspiration but I’m glad I found some that somewhat fit what I was going for.

Time travel

I was having a hard time one day. Ok, maybe it was more like a painful and difficult couple of months. I was in an emotional vortex with seemingly no end.

However, for a minute, between onslaughts of emotional upheaval, I time traveled.

I imagined the future. In this future I had surmounted the issues of the present day and I slept deeply, calmly, soundly. I saw my other self of the future and was jealous because my future self was at ease and I, in the present day, was being tossed about. I took some of that soothing calm from a future version of me that was not even aware of the world. Would he even notice? Yes, at it turns out, he would.

I imagined the past. In the past I was dancing with someone and was happy and hopeful for the future. I replayed those memories and re-experienced the hope of that day. Then, swiftly and regretfully, I reminded myself that the hope had been misplaced. I needed the hope of that past memory today, so I stripped the memory of as much joy as I could and it stopped being hopeful; the odds had not been in my favor. It takes a strong hand to rip hope from a past memory in your heart.

Equivalent Exchange

The next part is interesting. In a show called Full Metal Alchemist there is a Law of Equivalent Exchange.

It’s a simple concept: something cannot be created from nothing, and so in order to obtain something, something else of equal value must be lost.

From my past I removed hope and injected insanity. How could I have been so hopeful?

From my future I stole calm and injected nightmares. What kind of dreams would my future self have?


I, my present day self, apologized to myself of the other days I had imagined, remembered, and time traveled to. I needed to break the laws of time and space, if only for a few moments, to be able to steal something that would calm me just for a minute, to be able to feel hopeful just for a minute. Could my past and future selves not spare just one minute of what they had for me? Me, trapped in a vortex that would last much more than one day.

A New Course into the Future

In that one minute of stolen calm and hope I quickly laughed, plotted, reconfigured, and braced myself for the vortex that would come rushing back in after the minute was up. Time travel is hard and sometimes we can’t buy more than one minute, but that might be enough. Where I go from here is up to me.

Did I really perform Magecraft?

I do not know. Maybe?

What I can tell you is that recently, I had a really good night of sleep except for one really potent nightmare that woke me for what seemed like an instant. The nightmare was of my time in that vortex. Later that morning, as I woke more fully, I was troubled by the nightmare and then I remembered this poem. I realized…I had been right. The nightmare, potent as it might have been, became barely perceptible after a few minutes of waking. The dark past had barely smarted.

The memory of the past where I danced happily is no longer vibrant. It’s gray, black, and white, with barely any color left. I can recall it and it starts to play in my mind like a flickering theater screen but by the end of the reel the sound is distorted, the image is grainy, the music is dull, the laughter is muted. There is no joy, no hope, in that memory anymore.

Magic has a price though.

The poem is a remnant of my magecraft and ties me back to the day I time traveled. Now that I read it, I barely feel the pain and I’m almost pleased. If I had not written it…maybe I would not remember those days and I’d be freer. Then again, if I had not written it maybe I would have never made it out.

So, yes, I’m a mage now. What will I do next?