a poem is not a bed

Photo by Saliha on Pexels.com

A poem cannot be a bed.

No matter what you’ve read,

A poem cannot be a bed.

A bed can you keep you warm on a cold morning, pushing back the start of the day.

Can a poem do that?  Keep away the chill, keep you from rising,

From the mornings bustling and the days hustling?

That’s beyond its scope, wouldn’t you say?

A bed has sheets and blankets, soft and cozy to cover you.

Can a poem do that?  Wrap you in its words, like bedclothes,

From your toes all the way up to your nose?

That’s not something words can do.

A bed can keep you safe from nightmares, cover your head.

Can a poem do that?  Act like a shield and keep your ghosts at bay,

See you through the night until the sun rises and you’re ready to play?

With a poem for armor, you’d surely be dead.

A poem cannot be a bed.

No matter what you’ve read,

A poem cannot be a bed.

A bed will be there for you, tired or not, day or night.

Can a poem do that?  Give you the space to just be,

Accepting you for who you are, not caring what you or others see?

Words on a page, they can’t do that…  Right?

……

Loved this post from Rara and thought I’d have a go at it too. Not sure I did it well at all but at least I’m trying to write more consistently and that’s nothing to scoff at these days.

_____________

Prompt: What can’t a poem be? List ten different things a poem cannot be. Then write a poem that attempts to be at least one or more of those things.

From: Eat A Persimmon by Carla Sofia Ferreira

saying goodbye

Last week I said goodbye to a friend.  He was more than a friend, though, he was family.  Our families adopted each other.  The Queen and I had him in our wedding, introducing him as my adopted grandpa…

It has taken me some time to find the words I wanted to share.  So what follows may be a jumbled mess and while I know that is okay, for moments such as these I wish I could come up with the “right” words and I wish I could come up with them faster.  I sat silently and listened as others shared stories about this amazing man.  Maybe what follows is what I would have said if I’d had these words faster, if I’d been braver.  I doubt it, though.  I couldn’t even type them without spilling tears.  There’s no way I could speak them out loud.

…..

He called me Matt the Cat.  I’m not sure there was more to it than he liked the way it sounded.  I never asked him.  And now it is too late.

We adopted him, in our fashion, and made him part of our adventures.  He went camping with us a couple times.  He always said it was an honor to be included.  We wouldn’t have had it any other way and wished he could have made it more often.  He was like a kid in those mountains.  His eyes full of wonder and joy.  Then again, his eyes were always full of joy. Joy was who he was, how he approached life, how he treated everyone.

He played the harmonica.  He could make it sing.  He could make it whistle like a train picking up speed and getting closer and closer.  The Little Prince used to love that.

He was good with the two older princes.  Patient.  Attentive.  He wanted to hear their stories and watch them run.  The newest prince hadn’t met him.  And now it is too late.

As the Queen and I began our winter pilgrimages to the snow with our littles in tow, we would stop at his house on our way to the mountains and share stories and pictures, stretch our legs, visit.  We always felt bad invading his home with our chaos.  I’m certain he didn’t mind.  I wish we could have stopped more often than we did.  I wish we could have stayed longer each time too.  You could hear it in his voice, that buzzing excitement, each time we knocked on his door.  You could see it in his eyes, sparkling with that joy he exuded.  And now we’ve made our last stop.  It hurts to say that.

I’ll miss him.  I’ll miss his joy.

a state on fire

We walked through the burn scar, happy to see new life peeking through the soil, green in a landscape of ash grey, while breathing the smoke from a new fire raging to the south.  Seeing the remnants of a dead fire while breathing the proof of a live one.  It was eerie and sad.  I took video while we walked, to capture the moment as best as I could.  Though, that only really gets the image of it.  Not the smell.  Not the desolation.  Not the death in the air.

Still, there was life at our feet.  Tiny flowers and little green shoots sprouted along the trail.  And in the haze we could see other such life pushing through the ash.  It was encouraging to see that.  Despite the destruction, all was not lost.  Despite the raging inferno that had scarred the terrain a year earlier (nearly to the day), life was returning and, in some cases, had never left. 

Little did we know then what our day had in store. 

From one fire to another, we travelled homeward, the smoke constant and the charred hillsides popping up again and again.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this.

When I conceived the idea for the post on our drive home (we had been backpacking near Shaver Lake), it seemed to mean something.  All this damage.  All these fires.  I came home and looked up the names of each of them.  There were nine active and old fires that we either drove through, walked through, or saw the smoke from.  And if we saw the smoke it meant we were breathing it.  But now a month later when I’m finally get around to writing this?  That number would be thirteen instead of nine.  Four more fires started along the same corridor in the last four weeks.  One per week.  But, what does it mean?

Well, I don’t know.

Maybe it is enough to have been there and to share these words now and raise the question:  What does it mean?

Maybe these words are nothing more than a diary entry of sorts.  I went.  I saw.  There was devastation.  There was beauty.  And somehow that is right.  That is life.

Maybe this is nothing more than my mind trying to reconcile the memories from my youth when I was fascinated by fire while at the same time calculating the cost currently.  The forests that have burned now will not have grown back to what they were in my lifetime, nor in my children’s lifetime.  Anything that is lost now they will never get to experience.  These forests take too long to grow back.  They can’t just be instantly replaced like so much else in our lives.

Maybe it’s all of the above.

I don’t know.

Photo Prompt: Cliff Stairs

I was talking with Goldy (https://fishofgold.net/) the other day and we came up with the idea of trying to do a photo prompt to get ourselves back into writing a bit more and to try and engage with others in the blogosphere a bit more too.  So, here we are.  A photo.  And the prompt?  Write whatever you want, whatever the photo inspires.  I’ll try to do something like this on a regular basis. 

Play along if you want and tag your post into the comments so I can read your words as well.

My own response is below.

…..

I was hopeful that the change was made before the wooden stairs fell apart.  Can you imagine?

Step, step, step, nothing.

You can’t see the mismatch from the top where we started. And there’s no warning (Watch your step.  Proceed with caution.  That last step is a doozy…) just the sudden jarring change from old to new.

Not that the newer one, the metal one, felt much safer.  The cliffs were crumbling before our eyes and the roar of the breakers, constantly churning the beach, filled our ears. 

In time, more of the stairs will fall.  It is inevitable. I hope nobody is on them when they do. Can you imagine?

Step, step, step, nothing…

Another letter to myself

Dear Jester,

Is it okay that I keep writing letters to you, to myself, like this?  Yes.  I’m sure you’ll agree it is fine.  I should know.  I’m you and you’re me.

Anyway…

I’m not sure how to go about this, so we might as well dive into the crux of the matter: It is seeming harder and harder to keep up with the speed of life right now.  And that was really brought into focus by the death of a friend last week. 

You had seen them struggling and you had mentioned to yourself that you should reach out and then you didn’t and now they are gone.

And why didn’t you reach out?  Because you hadn’t seen him in 22 years?  Because you were busy with chores and school and toddler tantrums and infant sleep and birthdays and the day to day grind of life in the kingdom?  Because you didn’t know how much he was struggling?  Because you didn’t know…

You didn’t know.  You didn’t know you wouldn’t have another chance. 

If you had known, you would have sacrificed something else to make the time.  One less thing would have gotten clean.  Or a little bit less sleep would have been had.  You would have made a different choice.  But you didn’t know.  And, there is no way to know that reaching out would have helped.  Would have been worth doing anyway.

So, dear Jester, I’m not sure what the point of this letter is.  I was grasping for some sort of philosophical piece on the speed of life but the words on the page keep failing that, in my opinion.  Very unlike me, I have started, stopped, deleted, and started over this letter four times now.  And this will have to be good enough.  I don’t have the mental energy to attempt it again.

I guess, I just hope you can set aside any guilt you are feeling, we are feeling.  Be kind to yourself.  Grieve. 

And maybe next time reach out…  Because that pile of dishes can wait.  Sometimes, reaching out can’t wait.  And you don’t know what you don’t know.

Sincerely,

Matticus