Sunday, June 03, 2012

CCCVII - The Ring of Steel

This grew out of a conversation that I had with a friend and colleague.
It started out reflecting on body ornamentation.  The last two verses are a nod to the fact
that many people go about their lives quietly, not revealing that they too
have things that pierce them, away from public view;
pain, responsibility, disappointment.

Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The Ring of Steel

He dresses neatly for the business day,
Conservatively so, but without a tie.
Anyone watching him would have to say
He was perfectly mannered, if somewhat shy.

We know so little about each other:
Partners, parents, neighbours, lovers.
Only with time will you finally discover
That a book does not reflect its cover.

He does his job, he knows what to do
In the pantomime of work, he plays his part.
But beneath his clothes and out of view
A secret is kept, close to his heart.


Oblivious to it when he’s sitting still
He never thinks of it while he’s talking.
But it gives him a secret and sensuous thrill
As it swings to and fro when walking.


If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know,
And there’s some comfort in that fact.
But in the end it just goes to show
That people are often putting on an act.


But not every secret is a pleasurable one,
Some conceal quite desperate lives;
Briefly forgotten while their work is done
They get some respite, from nine to five.


Perhaps they’re ashamed or perhaps too proud,
Perhaps they don’t know how to start
To describe what's hidden from the crowd,
What steel rings they have beside their heart.


© 2012   J Cosmo Newbery

Print this post


  1. Admittedly I am not a great fan of piercings of 'whatever,' but to each his/her own! Everyone has a right to to self expression, and I am not one to judge.

  2. excellent journey from something superficial to something deeper

  3. I thought it was about piercing at first too but you tricked me!

  4. Sehr interesting observation. Are you on my territory trying to muscle in?

  5. Very poignant.

  6. almost got my nipple pierced for my 30th birthday...who knows maybe at 40...smiles...this is more than a piercing though and many do carry those hidden sides no one sees...and sometimes maybe they do...nice write...i like the use of the chorus through out as well..

  7. Your poem really gets to the heart of life. We all have things hidden away and it's true we really don't know another person.

  8. What a great poem and it's all so true. And so right that the contents of a book can be so different to what appears on the cover xx

  9. AnonymousJune 03, 2012

    So true - and quite sadly so. Great job.

  10. "What steel rings they have beside their heart"

    I had anticipated the humor to go right through. But you had cleverly included that line above and philosophically it provokes lingering thoughts that goes deep in meaning. Great write Cosmos!


  11. No comment on the piercings, etc. (I'm old.) But the message in this is awesome. It is so true that what we see is not always the person who lives beneath the facade. I was a supervisor most of my life, and one of my management tools was to look at each person as an individual, with individual thoughts and situations. As much as possible, I got to know the people who worked with me, and tried to deal with each in a way that would inspire them to do their best. It usually worked, but not always.
    Great write!

  12. Nothing here offended me, J Cosmo..I came back again to see what I might have said that might have given that impression. Now I am confused, as I had thought the rings were for piercings....but now I am wondering if I missed the point.

  13. I guess the steel rings have multiple meanings..I can empathise with having something important to you kept under a sense of self when dressed in 'uniform'..Jae

  14. Wonderful writing there dear J Cosmo, we are all different but at the same time very much the same ... we all have our problems hidden behind our public facade that we wear to face the world.
    xoxoxo ♡

  15. Oh man- this is a subject so close to my heart. I've encountered prejudice with regards to this before - in my current job- I got questioned as to why I decided to leave my ear stretchings in for the interview. My answer was 'in my entire career and working for some of the biggest banks in the world it has never been a problem or caused a problem for with my documented high performance- but I'm glad you raised it....' ha ha- it makes me smile how tattoos and piercings are even problematic...considering that humans (and yes- we continue to be humans even in the workplace ) have been decorating their bodies for thousands of years. I gave one full sleeve tattooed (right arm) my back is legs are tattooed and my ear lobes are stretched- it amazed me that even thigh I had delivered record breaking performances - it was commented that if you didn't know me- you would 'cross the street' to avoid me...nice! I guess people are afraid about what they don't understand! Anyway! I'm rambling! Your poem was so lyrical - I love the chorus...and the message contained within is such a good one and so thought can see from this essay that it struck a nerve with me! Bravo...great writing

  16. In a way, we are all always putting on some sort of act... we all have our secrets, our skeletons in the closet, our piercings... this is a wonderful piece on humanity, love the chorus that brings it home.

  17. AnonymousJune 04, 2012

    hidden feeling, hidden piercings and hidden tattoos, and yet some people wear everything on their sleeve, and some wear way too much of emotions and/or jewelry and/or color

    Sonnet 24

  18. Our little or big secrets make us who we are. It's healthy and wise to keep them under wraps. The world makes up its own mind about who we are anyway. It's nice to keep them in the dark. Thanks for such a thoughtful piece!

  19. I suppose most people have things tucked in behind their hearts...some big...some small...the way you portray it with your words and the steel rings is have a nice way with words...

  20. The basic premise is familiar, about not judging a book... but you sly dog, you got that nipple ring going. Then the allusion to the steel rings of all sorts in each person, whether pride, envy, secret shame, self-loathing... brilliant poem. Thanks, and peace, and my blog doesn't have that wrinkled-up word thing, so here's a link for you! Amy


You've come this far - thank you.
Take your time, look around,
There is lots to see.