I did write a poem yesterday on April 5, but I never had time to sit and get it on the computer. So here’s that haiku and a short free verse for today…
the first blossoms i have seen
grace our ride today
as my son
enjoy the sunlight
and local path
reflecting on the latest shooting at Ft. Hood, for #NaPoWriMo…
how many names do these demons have?
also have names
one does not
domesticate these demons
one does not
harness a demon
without paying a price
lead us not into temptation
nor the arms of a demon
deliver us from the price
I have my own demons, as we each carry them through our lives, leaving some behind and finding new ones all along the way. The latest shooting at Ft. Hood put a shadow over me, yesterday. It stirred my demons. We like the heroes in our comic books and stories to destroy whole armies, to fight and kill, to slaughter the bad guys and gals by the dozen, and to face down all the enemies they find… but in real life we are much more fragile than the characters of our fantasies. I pray that we take ever more seriously the price we pay for sending our women and men into conflict after conflict, and that we take seriously the price they pay. The men and women who serve us are too great a treasure to take for granted or to leave to the demons.
Yesterday, just to show my age, it was John Denver who helped sing my demons back into the shadows.
I have my makeup work to share this morning, and today’s poem for #NaPoWriMo. The makeup is for April 1st, and it’s a haiku I wrote this morning when I stopped to spend a moment with some daffodils in the front yard. Today’s poem is a reflection on a sweet, old King James version Bible I found yesterday at a thrift store. It cost me a quarter.
in grasses green and brown –
looks like rain, today
these ancient words speak to me
they bind me fast, they set me free
they graft me to a living tree
these words that were, are and will be
So many of my friends on Facebook are jumping into the National Poetry Writing Month that I’m feeling the peer pressure! I’ll do a make-up poem this afternoon, since I missed the monthly opener, yesterday!
Here’s my little poem for today:
i love you
this is my choice
seen in motion
heard in voice
but should it not
don’t think i lied
even if i fail
please know i tried
We’ve all seen the scenes: Humanity has destroyed themselves and now nature has reclaimed our cities and streets! From Logan’s Run to I Am Legend and every 12 Monkeys in between, we’ve been schooled in the thought that nature is just waiting for our demise so that the animals and grasses can again rule the plains.
I don’t think that’s exactly right. I love walking across Bethesda in the mornings. It’s not the exhaust or naughty honking that captivates me, but the bunnies and the chipmunks, the grass and the trees. It was just last year when Asplundh came through and devastated our trees with wanton limb trimming, and we wailed and gnashed our teeth. But a couple of seasonal turns later and they look like they’ll be ok, as if to make a rude gestures back at the trimmers and taunt, “Try it again, buddy!”
And the bunnies move like the tide across the heart of downtown Bethesda, ebbing and flowing into our flower gardens and munching our wild growing clover. They are gorgeous. They belong among us. Nature isn’t waiting for our demise, just for more of us to leave a seat at the table, to make a little more room for green things and furry things.
So this morning as I walked to my big glass and stone Starbucks to sit inside and sip my coffee in air conditioned humanness, I was so blessed to watch a young rabbit having it’s breakfast in the fresh, green dew-covered grass. I always cringe when it rains and I imagine what our dogs will do to our floors after going outside, but I am so happy for the bright new buds that the bunnies reap after those showers.
I wrote a haiku after watching the bunny…
paving, bricks, exhaust
a young rabbit / eats the new grass
Just some quick backstory… my dog ate my notebook. Yes, he ate the notebook in which I write my poems! But undaunted, I strode manfully to the mall and bought a new notebook. That notebook is the subject of a little poem I write tonight.
smell of the paper
feel of the grain
this notebook needs to be lettered
like the ground needs the rain
it holds my pen
steals my breath
i must dig into this paper
plumb it’s width, breadth and depth
something will be found
treasures yet unknown
despite all other gain
i shall have arrived home
still grey skies
mock the storm in my soul
as a sacred unease
rises, shifts and rolls
i cannot name the thing
which inside me grows
This often happens when I sit to intentionally write some poetry. A still, quiet moment allows me to hear some of my more painful inner movements that are drowned out in the usual activity of the day. It’s not that I’m totally filled with melancholy, but it’s there.
In recent months I’ve been in several different situations discussing the impact of depression on our lives and those conversations have had me thinking. I have lived with the ebb and flow of depression as long as I can remember. I don’t think it’s ever outright owned me, but it’s been there. I’ve learned to watch the seasons and to be aware of their impact on my moods. I’ve learned to listen to the people who love me and live with me; Teresa will let me know when I seem to be letting it get an upper hand.
I’ve been thinking about some of the ways that being a person of faith has impacted the way I deal with my depression and darker moods. I think that growing up with a “seen and unseen” worldview has been helpful for me. I was raised to put my faith in something beyond my senses, beyond my ability to perceive, as I could perceive other things. So when the dark thoughts come and I perceive no hope, I have this reflex to look past it and try to see what may not be seen.
I have a cognitive trigger built into me that causes me to seek. When I seek I am in movement. When I am in movement I cannot be held in the grip of anxiety, fear or hopelessness for too long. So when I am in the grip of depression, it never holds all of me, there is a bit of me still free to roam.
I’m not saying that this idea is a panacea or a magic cure all of some kind. And there will always be times when our imbalanced physiology demands the help of trained professionals, both for counseling and for medication. When I stop seeking, then I think it will be time for me to see a professional.
But having that safety valve built into me allows me to be very open about the presence of darkness in my soul. I can deal with the fact that even as a creature of the light, I retain these shadows; I own the shadows. But the shadows don’t own me. I’m grateful to God for this. And so even as I write something that questions what “inside me grows” I am also very assured that it will not one day rule me and destroy me, or supplant in me what God would do. My unease is sacred.