Poems: Experiential & Elaboration

Camp was good. Life has been busy since then so I’m behind. Maybe eventually there’ll be a post here about camp, but maybe not. I make no promises. Anyhow, for now, here are two poems that I had written before camp, but hadn’t had a chance to put up. The first is based on experience, the second is an elaboration on this Pinterest quote about an oxymoron we moronic humans often live.

I miss you every day,
Both in ways I know and can’t explain.
Remember when you said
I’d forget,
No one cared,
That the world would be better off without you here?
You were wrong.
You took your life (relatively) long
Ago,
And I know
That my grieving will never end.
The world’s a darker place without you, and
I know reliving choices…regret,
I know regret won’t help me get
Better.
Bet whether
You’re in Haven or Hell,
Well,
That’s at least partly my responsibility
I can’t help feeling your choice was affected by disability.
It’d be fine
If we could switch eternal destinations,

Your past versus mine…
But, much to my frustration,
Things don’t work that way.
Everyone pays for his deeds.
God, please,
Did you help him see at the last instant?
I can’t
Handle life with a smile as I used to.
People ask if I’m ok. Do
I need someone to talk to?
But talking doesn’t help me get over you.
I hate depression like some people hate cancer.
As with that there is no answer,
No cure.
I watch depression’s vicious cycle take more
Into its grip.
I watch as they slip
Beyond where I can reach,
And I die a little more each
Time.
Not all truths rhyme:

I’m beginning to think there’s nothing I could change even if I could rewind.

So I’ll drink another draught from the cup of sorrow,
Sleep, awake, and face tomorrow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And she wished upon a dream
That her secrets would be seen
For what they were by some wild, keen
Man-child.

And that he would excavate her soul
Unearthing pieces, sketching a whole
Portrait of her true person
He heart in the nude, un-shrouded from role
Playing.

And in her fervent prayers and fears
She hoped his heart would ever steer
Closer to the truth of her feral, rearing self.

That someone be less afraid of
Her ugliness than she.
That man-child, made of tender persistence
Could see in her beauty…
Mine her depths,
Find something to cherish
In the wreck,
Fight and not perish
Against inner battlements she’d set up.
That he might, somehow, fall in love.

I tend to like the first one better. I’d love to know your thoughts and/or critiques!

 

 

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Categories: Poems | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Poems: Experiential & Elaboration

  1. I also like the first one better, which is not to say the second is bad by any stretch!

    I am sure a better poem critic could find some points to critique on the first poem, but I can’t. I can appreciate coming back and re-reading the first poem as it stands. I really like how it is crafted and how it progresses, right down to the conclusion. It is a poem that speaks honestly and pulls no punches. It reminds me of the grief I have known, and challenges me to consider how I relate to other people in their grief.

    I think there is an interesting comparison/contrast in tone between the two poems. The first is decidedly dark, bleak. The second has a hopeful note. In the first the speaker has irreparably lost something. In the second the speaker hopes to find something (but is not sure she will.) While on the face of it the two poems are not topically related I think on some deeper way they are–they are shining some light on what life is that benefits from digging deeper.

    Focusing my attention exclusively on Poem 2: I think you have a typo in the line “He heart in the nude, un-shrouded from role” At first I thought you meant it that way, but after re-reading I’m pretty sure you meant “Her heart”

    I really like some of the word/line playing you do in the second poem, perhaps particularly in the second stanza. Both the particular imagery metaphors (archaeology, art/drawing) and also how you break the lines. How very meaningful the break between role / playing. I see what you did there.

    I think some people would critique that you switch metaphors too much in this second poem. Personally I am okay with it, because I can appreciate how the rapid switch in metaphors illustrates what you are trying to say (and I like to do this as well).

    My critique is on the last paragraph/stanza of the poem. In my humble, not expert, opinion the last paragraph doesn’t quite gel. I don’t feel like I have a full answer, but I’ll throw out a few ideas.

    Most importantly, I was struck very strongly that the line, “Against inner battlements she’d set up” doesn’t flow with the rest of the poem. It’s break the prosody. The idea of the line is fine. Maybe a different imagery-word that conveys the same idea of battlements. But in particular the words “set up” don’t work. Even simply changing the line to “Against inner battlements she’d raised” improves the sound and flow a lot (at least to my ear). But I also think that since the poem is largely using more wild, earthy metaphor something other than “battlements” might work better to convey that image of resistance.

    Perhaps something long the lines of “Against the inner rock she raised” The image of rock brings in more nuance. A fortress is often called a “rock” but also a heart in its shell is also called a “rock.” And also rock is a more wild nature drawn image than “battlement.”

    That one line is the only thing that really snagged me.

    As a lesser critique I think that if you could somehow re-write / re-work the second poem so it has a consistent 4 / 5 / 4 / 5 repeating line structure it would read as more solid. You already have the right number of lines for that, but the 3rd only has 3 lines, and the last has 10. If you gave one more line to the third stanza from the last, and then split the last stanza into two stanzas it would have a consistent structure.

    If you did that you would probably have to tweak, re-arrange, or re-word some lines. I can’t quite see how to do it, and the structure of the poem doesn’t really bother me, so maybe you don’t want to mess with it that much. But it did occur to me the poem might feel more powerful with a more consistent structure so I though I’d mention it.

    Beyond that one line that really seems to stand out like a sore thumb that I mentioned the rest you could leave as-is and it would be fine.

    I’m really glad you shared them both!

    May you ever chase your muse.

  2. You say “I hate depression like some people hate cancer.” Having experienced both I know that cancer is considered much more respectable.

    I’m enrolled in a special government cancer treatment program, plus multiple fund raising groups are helping with expenses.

    On occasion, after a tragedy, there is mention of the need for more mental health treatment availability. That doesn’t last long. If you are depressed, or have other mental health problems, there is little help available unless you are financially well off.

    If you show up for your cancer treatmsnts you are called a brave warrior. Few people who have never had cancer say it’s your fault for being sick. People who barely know you ask what they can do to help.

    If you are depressed many consider you to be weak. You’re told to “snap out of it” and stop being lazy. No one praises you for seeking treatment. You keep your struggles secret.

    I have no answers on how to change things for the better for those burdened by depression. I do know it’s not considered a “respectable” illness, and oh what a weight that is to carry. I prefer cancer. You can talk about your problems, and can get the professional help you need.

    • Sorry for the late response…didn’t see this till now. Really powerful to me, that someone, having experienced both would say the non-physical illness was the harder. Thanks for commenting. May God be with you in both your battles, friend.

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