Filled Slate

Another page turned,
365 days of memories
fresh in my mind;
like too-thick paint
on an oil-slicked surface.
I wake to the problems
of so many yesterdays,
yet resolve to remain resolute
in my desire to see hope
where I once saw darkness.
It’s hard to lift my chin
and I search my heart for praise
clutching a half-full glass,
trusting it will never be empty-
rather, overflowing with counted blessings.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post- it just makes me smile :)
This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post- it just makes me smile :)

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As I do with poetry, I’m going to explain the thoughts behind the words I chose.  I wrote this poem on the first day of the year.  I admire those who approach the new year with such a strong sense of hope and excitement for what the next 365 days might hold.  I want to hope- I really do, but if hope was a candle’s flame, reality would be the wind gust gathering the strength to snuff it out.

I woke up on New Year’s Day, hoping my heart would feel giddy anticipation for the promise of a new year; a clean slate of sorts.  Instead, my consciousness noted the fact there is no clean slate – my slate is already filled with the stuff that’s happened the last year, and it’s too gunked up to be wiped away.  Before the end of the year, I received a confirmed diagnosis of the culprit of my younger son’s pain:  juvenile arthritis, specifically, ankylosing spondylitis.  (He is an amazing kid who happens to turn 10 this week.)  The new year doesn’t change the fact I’m left with choices that don’t feel very much like choices at all.  The first seven lines of the poem speak to this.

Even under the weight of reality, I still want to hope and remember the ways I am blessed.  I spent most of 2015 in a suffocating darkness where I could see no reason for my next breath.  I don’t make resolutions, but I do resolve to do everything I can to not go there again.  Praise is a chore at times, but I want to trust with all my heart that under the thorns of my burdens lives a joy I couldn’t fully appreciate without the struggles.  The last part of the poem is a pep talk to myself to not let my past hog-tie my future and take away my ability to experience joy.

May you find peace today, tomorrow, and the days following- even during trying times.  Have a beautiful Wednesday!

Flirting With Darkness

10-12 Lava Tube5

I’m submerged,
on the brink of
forever losing my footing.
Arms flailing,
body swaying…
threatening to tumble
from the narrow plateau.

I curl up to absorb
the crushing blows;
the one-two punch-
sadness aches,
loneliness paralyzes…
I avert my gaze to hide
the mottled bruises inside.

I waver between
giving in and fighting back,
succumbing to weakness
or summoning strength;
I taunt the darkness…
I beg it to finally claim me,
yet dare it to set me free.

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I’m not sure how much explanation this poem needs – it seems pretty straightforward to me… but then again, I wrote it :)  Here’s some background just in case:

I wrote this poem a couple months ago.  After several months of not seeing hope or a reason to look forward to another day, I grew tired and frustrated.  In the first verse, I’m balanced on the edge of darkness, in danger of being swallowed forever.  It’s like a force was pushing me from behind and I did everything I could to not fall.  In the second verse, I’m tired- beaten down by sadness and loneliness.  My bruises are on the inside, so no one can see them but me.  The third verse is the contemplation of whether to keep fighting the darkness or let it claim me.

This struggle has been very real and obviously, I’ve chosen to fight it.  With the loss of 2 of my pets recently, I’ve had passing moments of darkness, but nothing like the total immersion I experienced for the first half of the year.  Right now, I feel that little hope is good, but too much hope is a set up for disappointment.  Perhaps the longer I’m in the light, the more I will trust that hope is more than just a mirage shimmering on my horizon.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you have a beautiful Monday!

Inspired By 6 Words And Loss

This represents what 2015 is for me thus far
Snapshot of my 2015…

Death trails behind me,

Decaying carcasses lie uncovered;

Youthful hopes and dusty memories-

Remnants of broken dreams,

Haunt…

Taunt…

Each breath reminds me,

Eternal failures rediscovered;

I’m unable to escape shortcomings-

Fragments of who I used to be,

Haunt…

Taunt…

Scattered ashes cover

Three quarters of a year-

Whether I rise remains to be seen,

But I have to accept what will be.

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I have a bad habit of explaining my poetry, and I will continue that, but first, I’ll take you on a scary ride of how my train of thought ended up here.  Hold on, it’s a twisty one :shock:

This post was originally going to be to refer you to a post compiled by Eli Pacheco at Coach Daddy where he asked bloggers how they would upgrade themselves – in six words.  (If you have some time, check it out… there were some great contributions.  Mine is #46)… “accept what will be; no worries”.  Hold this thought…

In the past month, I’ve had to say goodbye to two of my pets.  First, my seventeen-year-old Yorkie-Poo, Bulwinquel.  Then, a few days ago, I lost my beloved cat, Cybil.  She was fifteen years old and had been in kidney failure for over a year.

When I started writing this poem, it was to deal with the grief of loss over my pets.  Then my mind wandered a bit farther back, over the landscape of this year.  I half-joke that I’m done with 2015, but I don’t think it’s done with me.  This poem ended up being more about another loss I’ve been dealing with:  in January, I made the decision to end my 18-year marriage. Until last week, we were living in the same house which has been… well, miserable.

I won’t go into details as to what led to this because I have kids who might happen upon my ramblings here someday.  There were several factors involved, but one aspect, I wrote about last October in a poem that was particularly difficult to share.  Sharing that poem forced me to see things I chose to ignore for years.

This brings me back to my six-word contribution and this poem.  The death that trails behind me are my pets, my marriage, and the idea of what I thought my life would be eighteen years ago.  I failed.  I don’t like failing and stubbornly tried to deny this failure, but the first 3/4 of this year has been coming to terms with it.  It’s a continuing process.

I have spent a lot of time thinking (obsessing, really) about things I have no control over.  It’s a daily thing to remind myself not to worry about tomorrow and to instead, rely on faith.  I have no idea what the future holds.  I’ll find out when it gets here.

This isn’t supposed to be a depressing post. I’m okay really. I’m working on a photo-inspired story but was too busy to complete it for September as I had planned. I’m not going to jinx it by saying when I think it’ll be done. I’ll just leave it at “soon.” :)

Thanks for hanging on to this thought train. Now, relax and have a beautiful Thursday!

Representation of Me

09-08 Lake Reflection2

Reflections shifting on rippling water,

A breathing oil-on-canvas,

Mesmerizes, hypnotizes…

Introspection draws me deeper.

Only from a distance,

Can I envision the scene,

The lines between colors…

Nature’s representation of me.

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I haven’t posted poetry in a while, so I figured it was about time.  As I’ve done before, I’m going to share what I was thinking as I wrote it.

When I looked at the lake, it occurred to me that the reflections of the clouds and trees on the rippled water looked almost like an oil painting on canvas.  As I often do, I drew comparisons and related this to me and my life.

I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at an oil painting up close, but I find it fascinating how what looks like nothing more than blotches of different hues of green can suddenly turn into a beautiful tree when I take a couple steps back.  This is exactly how my life is right now.  I’ve been in the trenches of difficulty for most of this year and I had been submerged in darkness and hopelessness.  Up close, I failed to see beyond the mess that is “now”.

It’s only been the last couple months that I have been able to take those important steps back so I could see that, although my life seems to be just blotches of colors, it’s the beginning of so much more.  From a distance, I can envision beauty emerging at some point in the future.

The Problem With Darkness

I took this photo on July 4 - the first creative photo I've taken  in several months
I took this photo on July 4 – the first creative photo I’ve taken in several months

 

Darkness settles…

a heavy burden,

a shroud over hope:

the absence of all emotion.

Darkness lies…

taunting whispers,

deafening in my ears:

misery is all there is.

Darkness defies…

disobeys rules of logic,

world turns upside down:

death rules over life.

Darkness distorts…

a faded mirage,

an alternate reality:

coercing me to believe.

The problem with darkness

is that until light streams through,

I accept counterfeit promises:

I’m blind to hope- my sustaining well of truth.

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This poem came to me while cooking dinner this evening.  I’ve limited my posting for several months now.  I am generally a positive person, so this extended period of darkness has taken a toll on me.  Recently though, I’ve started to see some rays of light cutting through the pitch-black.  When not submerged in the overwhelming nothingness, I am able to have moments where I believe that what is now will not always be.  That’s what this poem is:  acknowledging how this darkness has bound me, and being able to recognize that hope is freeing.  I’m not quite “me” yet, but am finally approaching a place where I can write honestly, and yet keep this an encouraging space.

I am woefully behind on reading blogs, but am catching up a little each day.  Thank you so much to everyone who has continued to read my sporadic posts, prayed for me, and have sent ‘good thoughts’ my way.  This darkness would be a lot darker without you :)