Tag: #challenge

Poem: The Yellow Satchel

She approaches,
Eyes gleaming
Brighter than my countenance.
It isn’t hard to tell
She is quite taken by me,
And she lets herself dream 
For a moment
How enriched her life would be 
With me in it.

Joy unbridled beams from within
As she touches and strokes
And holds me close – 
As close as she is to ecstasy.
She drapes me across herself – 
Strap running diagonally
Left shoulder to right hip – 
And stands in front of the mirror,
Turns this way and that,
Admiring me from every angle.

And then it happens –
The shadow creeps across her face,
A cloud as dark as the clothing 
In which she is clad head to toe.
It comes as no surprise.
I have seen this so many times.
The doubt that invades
And grows wild and smothers 
Delicate confidence 
Like Japanese Knotweed
Killing off a garden.

It is always the same ones – 
The ones that dress to hide
Supposedly unacceptable bodies
And make an art of 
Fading into backgrounds.
Though their hearts desire me,
I am too obvious.
I am made to stand out
And snag covetous second glances.

Which is the problem you see. 
If she were to wear me 
I would catch the eyes of others
Just as I caught hers.
But those other eyes 
Won’t limit themselves
To looking only at me.
They will look at the wearer,
And this wearer doesn’t want
To be seen.

But, oh, how she desires me!
She gives me another chance,
Looks again at her reflection,
Murmurs ‘Can I get away with it?’
I want to tell her she can.
Worries about getting away with things
Are for thieves and adulterers,
Not for women whose only crime
Is to be bigger than society 
Thinks they should be.
She can wear whatever she wants.

But I can’t tell her this.
And even if I could,
It wouldn’t mean a thing.
The no-she-can’t has settled
Firmly in her mind.
So she returns me to the shelf
And leaves the shop behind, 
And I watch her go and hope
That at the very least
She will continue to carry with her
A little bit of my light.

Poem: Two Worlds

The world within yourself 
A world of chaos and confusion
Not knowing about the future
Constantly reliving the past
Until, suffocating, you escape to
The world outside yourself
A world to which you do not belong
A place from which you run and hide
Only to end up back inside
Sinking ever deeper into
The world within yourself
A world of chaos and confusion…

Poem: Sit

Don’t analyse
Second guess
Rush to unlock secrets

Just sit
Let things be

Note what happens
Note the response
Collect the data  

The time
For understanding
Will come

But for now
Just sit with it
And see

Poem: Still Life

You convinced me 
To believe
Until the notion 
Was conceived 
Then turned
Leaving me 
To grieve alone
This once 
Hope-laden thing

As hollow as 
Your promise
As empty as
Your heart
As meaningless 
As you
A lifeless symbol
Of what love
Could have been

Poem: Survival

I take a walk around the graveyard of my soul.
Here are buried wishes; there, expired dreams.
Elsewhere, heart-attachments are laid to rest,
Withered away before they had a chance to live.

I kneel at each grave in turn
To cry a little, mourn a little,
And hope that one of these might revive,
Get a second shot at being realised. 

But when I reach the space where you lie,
The prayers dry up along with the tears, 
And I whisper to God a word of thanks.
In taking you, He brought me back to life.

Poem: Lost and Found

She looks in the mirror
Doesn’t like what she sees
In misery and anguish
She falls to her knees
With forehead to ground
She cries and she cries
For forgiveness and mercy
From the Lord Most High

She cannot forget 
All the sins she committed
Can't plug the gaps from
The deeds she omitted
She feels the regret
In the depth of her soul
But where faith should be
There’s a massive black hole

But God has said clearly
Do not despair
All can be pardoned
With charity and prayer
My compassion is endless
And my mercy too
Take one step to me
And I’ll take ten to you

So she raises her hands
And tells Him her fears
Empties her burdens
Along with her tears
Until peace finds her heart
Because she can see
That hope is not lost
And neither is she

Poem: The Stairwell

Why do I keep returning to that place?
Vivid image, burned in my mind.

I’ve moved on, so much time, so much space.
But some part of me has stayed there.

Why is the stairwell in my mind empty?
Back then, it was always so full.

Is it meant to symbolise my life?
Surrounded but ever alone?

I don’t understand the significance,
But understanding was never my forte.

Inside I remain that same
Confused-conflicted woman-child.

Poem: Fifty Reasons

A long time ago, I met a friend of mine
And saw the smile had gone from her eyes.
She said things were great when I asked why,
But her happy words were blatant lies.
So I pressed the matter and we sat to talk,
And words and tears began to flow.
I’m dead inside, filled with despair,
But why I feel this way I don’t know.

Do I blame the world, she asked, or is it me?
I replied, the answer is clear to see:
In what you just said, at the least there must be
Fifty reasons to leave your lover.

He makes you feel dumb, has made you go numb,
And has trampled all over your dreams.
He calls his smacks ‘love taps’, his insults ‘a joke’,
And scares you so much you can’t scream.
So why do you stay with your lover?
You really must leave your lover.

You give me fifty reasons to leave, she said,
But I have fifty reasons to stay.
He’s under a lot of stress these days;
He won’t always be this way.
His health is poor, he’s quitting cigarettes,
And things are really bad at work.
But I know he doesn’t mean to hurt me.
He isn’t some thoughtless jerk.

It is what sits behind your words that I see,
And as your friend I must speak truthfully:
This isn’t the way love is meant to be.
You have got to leave your lover.

You live by his moods, suffer while he broods,
And buy his happiness whenever you’re able.
You walk on eggshells so you don’t upset him 
And live on crumbs thrown from his table.
So what good reason is there to stay with your lover?
You really must leave your lover.

It isn’t that bad, she shouted in defence.
It is not like he smacks me around.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem, I said,
It’s not just in fists that abuse is found.
But maybe it’s not him at all, she said,
It is my fault for being so weak.
I push him into behaving that way.
It’s me that makes things so bleak.

I don’t know what else to say, I replied,
Every truth I point out is being denied,
Though evidenced by the tears that you cried.
You know you need to leave your lover.

You have given him ten years, and all that you have,
And in return you’ve been given a dead heart.
Please leave, before he kills the rest of you;
The two of you really must part.
But she walked away, with nothing more to say
On whether she would leave her lover.

I never saw her again from that day,
And I can’t be sure why it came to an end.
But faced with the truth and a choice, I suspect,
Instead of her man, she left her friend.
So, while I still believe she had good reason to go,
My words are going to haunt me forever.
In trying to save her I drove her away, 
Straight back into the (h)arms of her lover.
Yes, I wanted to help but drove her away,
With fifty more reasons to stay with her lover.

The story behind the poem

This is one from the archives. It came to me after hearing Paul Simon’s ‘50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’ on the radio at a time when I was involved in some work on domestic violence. It isn’t set to the tune of his song but there is something lyrical about it. However, I’m not a musician and I don’t think I’ve got the beats/rhythm completely right, so I’m sticking to calling this a poem rather than a song.

Poem: 42

Forty-two is here
The meaning of life
According to some
(I know the reference
But haven’t read the book)

Forty-two but more
Solar cycles ten-ish days longer
Than soul guiding lunar ones
Placing me somewhere 
Between forty-three and forty-four

Six full regenerations
Of seven-year itches
Trying to escape 
The unwanted self
Find greener grass

Insignificant but not
One year closer to the end
One more gone of lost time
Unreclaimable opportunities
Half-death existence on life row

Insignificant but unignorable
Promise resisting doubt
Filling the morning’s dew drops
With let’s-start-nows
And this-time-next-years

The weight of evidence
From history to trajectory
Casts a shadow for sure
But the sky is blue and the sun bright
Hope steps up for a dance

The story behind the poem

As can probably be guessed, I wrote this piece when I turned 42, so this postscript isn’t here to tell the story behind the poem – it is here to clarify that it isn’t my birthday today. I am just posting it now because this is what was on the slip that I pulled out of the envelope this morning for my Publish Everything Challenge. I am certainly not 42 anymore, either, but no one needs to know just how long ago this was written. No, no. This challenge might be all about the spirit of sharing, but I’ll keep that little detail to myself… 🙂

Poem: Fair Share

One day I wish 
I could take my fat 
And slice it up
And hand it out to 
All those responsible
For putting it there

The bullies –  
Common and
Medical variety

The mockers
And haters
And ostracisers

Those that drove me
To sadness and despair
And the biscuit tin

Amongst others

Even after all
These players 
Get their fair share
Plenty will remain
With me

Which –
For all the
Finger pointing – 
Is precisely
Where it 
Should be