This might come as a surprise, but writing has been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. It is one of the few activities in my life that brings out all of my insecurities. It’s not that I get hung up trying to impress you all. I don’t know you, and I have learned that I can’t make people like me. I was prepared to receive negative comments, cruel and unhelpful criticism, and general lashing out. I have seen plenty of that online. I set up this blog and started posting despite my expectations. Read more
This one was a homework assignment: Pick a specific poem format, and write a poem in that format. It had to be something with a specific structure, not a freeform poem. This was not the first time I wrote a sestina for a homework assignment. The first one was about frogs. I don’t know where that one is, but if I find it somewhere in my piles of papers, I’ll definitely post it for you all. I really like the cyclical structure of the sestina. I recently read that it was most often used for a complaint poem back in the day, which makes some sense, since whiners tend to repeat themselves ad nauseam. I haven’t ever used the sestina for whining, but I’ve certainly found that it’s not suitable for every topic. You have to find a topic that naturally has a cyclical feel.
This sestina is based on an internal debate I had after talking to a friend who thought she might commit suicide. Fortunately, she’s still alive and kicking, and more emotionally stable now. This was crafted over a two-week period, and finished on October 6, 2008.
Camus once said the only question
worth asking is Should I give up?
Does this world have depth of meaning,
and is that meaning now enough
to keep me in this world and living,
or should I just let go and die?
I know a girl who wants to die,
to answer that important question.
She says she cannot go on living,
it’s not worth it to keep this up.
The things she has are not enough
to keep this life enriched with meaning.
Before I never questioned meaning.
I haven’t had the urge to die.
The things I have are just enough.
With confidence I answer the question.
I watch the sun go climbing up.
I have no reason for not living.
In fact I find such joy in living,
in everything I find a meaning.
Every day I’m climbing up.
It’s not that I’m afraid to die,
it’s just that, facing this big question,
I don’t see why it’s not enough
She says she cannot find enough
of joy or meaning to keep her living.
She hardly dares to face the question,
‘cause after death there is no meaning.
I think that she’s afraid to die,
but wants the pain to give her up.
She struggles with just giving up
and tells me I don’t know enough
to understand her wish to die.
She cannot understand why living
carries for me the ultimate meaning,
how I rejoice and Camus’s question
Came once asked a question about giving up
I find that life has meaning and that it’s enough
I have reason to go on living until it’s time to die
This one was written on July 25, 2016. There were a few years there where I didn’t write, at least not for myself, and there is literally nothing in my poetry journal between September of 2010 and this poem. This is my breakthrough, I-can’t-live-like-this-anymore piece. I’m rusty, I can tell, but getting back into it. The more I work on this blog, the more I realize how much writing is a part of what makes me functional, and how depressing it’s been to live without, having grown away from it as I did. Thank you all for being so supportive in my journey of returning to myself.
There are a few more of my old poems coming, and then it will all be new work. Most of the time I try to let things sit for a day or two so that I can polish them, but sometimes I just get too excited. I hope I’m not overwhelming anyone with too many posts. Happy reading!
It’s hard to be a starving artist
They said to me
Are you sure you want to put yourself through that?
They asked, and I let them
I let them change me
Years later, I feel lost, drained, numbed
I hold on
To moments of art like lightning flashes in a fading storm
I don’t want to put myself through
As she said so succinctly
I’m not sure I can keep putting myself through
Soullessness doesn’t look good on anyone
I didn’t title this one when I wrote it, but I think it deserves I a title. It’s one of my longest personal/diary pieces, written on October 2, 2007. This is about a wonderful person who I connected with unexpectedly. Have you ever met someone you were convinced was enlightened? I think he might be. He has some of the clearest eyes I have ever seen on a human being. Jeff, thank you for being you.
I tried to tell you several times
Exactly what you mean to me
I don’t know if you heard what I meant
Threaded in between the words I said
Maybe you did
You’re good at listening to me
I wanted you to understand
That I’ve never met anyone like you
It seems we only just met
It seems as though I’ve known you for a lifetime
Somehow when you smile at me like that
Listening with more than just your ears
You open up my soul
Like the sun opens up a flower
And I’m not afraid
I know that you will come and go without trampling the grass
Without plucking the growing things
It took others years to find my secret garden
I don’t know how you got there so fast
But I’m glad to see you there
I’m not in love with you
But I think someday I will love you
Just as I love all my family
In you I see a road stretching out ahead
A road that is beautiful
A road that is terrifyingly new and strange
A future that has not been built on history
It just appeared when you walked into my life
So I will walk with you
To the end of that road
Where a wrinkled old woman
Smiles across a table
At a grey-haired old man and says
“I have known you for a long time”
And the old man smiles back
I tried to tell you what you mean to me
I don’t know if you could hear what I meant
But you probably could
You’re good at listening to me