Category: poetry

Fear

I have had this poem sitting on the back-burner for a while, as I contemplated how fear stifles creativity and positivity. Through a collaboration with a friend and artist, Pieter Karlik, I now have a couple of visual representations.

I want this poem to speak for itself, so I won’t give it a long introduction, although a part of me would like very much to do just that. Without further ado, here it is, first in chalk:

And in watercolor:

As always, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day.

On Sorrow

So, I have already informed most of ya’ll that I was a pretty morbid, or even “emo” kid. Among the treasury of poems I memorized, in addition to “Too Late” which I already discussed in my post, A Grieving Love, was the following poem by Robert Browning Hamilton:

“I walked a mile with Pleasure;

She chatted all the way;

But left me none the wiser

For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”

My young life felt full of sorrow, to be fair, and I felt my hardships made me wiser than my more joyful, carefree classmates. I read at an advanced level (although my fear of tests made me score poorly), I hated the nonsense most kids talked about, and I felt like I never fit in. So this poem spoke to me for many, many years. I often felt that joy was cheap and meaningless. That in order for something to actually carry substance, it had to be touched by grief, touched by sorrow. 
Recently, I have really been re-evaluating my worldview, something I will probably always do, and I’ve really been re-examining this poem. I believe grief has helped forge me into the sympathetic, forgiving, if flawed person I am today. I will always be grateful for that. There will be times I walk with sorrow later on, grief that will come and will show me how much more I have to learn from Her, but should I live walking constantly in Her shadow? Should I feel every person’s heartbreak, see the sadness in every person’s step, and live my life engulfed in a protective blanket of sorrow? Probably not. Have I lived like that for some time? No, but this thought has niggled at my mind whenever I feel myself laughing too loudly or reveling in just how blessed I am.
So, with those thoughts in mind, I wrote the following poem:
   This photo is copyrighted by Cole Thompson. Permission to use the photo was granted by the artist – please visit Cole Thompson Photography and Cole Thompson Photography Blog to learn and see more of his creative work.  
  
We all carry burdens, but joy is so precious when it is here – what is the harm in allowing it in? There’s nothing to fear from laughing with abandon, and there is no sense in worrying that you may seem foolish. What is a fool, anyway?
May happiness follow you all everywhere, on whatever journey you take.
-The Rambler

Quick-Slow

Here’s a little poem I wrote for my daughter, in one of those many moments where I was so happy, I was damned sure my heart was about to burst.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. I know I am!
-The Rambler

Musings on Expectations

I once was (and, in all honesty, still am to some degree) a creature of expectation. Perhaps it was part of being a dreamer – I spent so much of my time with my head in the clouds or in a wistful  future, I wove intricate little plans for myself of what may be, would be, and could be. I hoped and dreamed up a world of wonders for myself and my family, a world away from the hurt I had grown accustomed to, and I wove into that world a certain degree of expectations about who I am.

My name means “lamb” and my mom often called me her little lamb. She thought I was innocent, sweet, and pure – and I think I tried to be all those things for her. And for me, because more than anything I wanted to be good. I wanted to be nice, to treat people kindly, and to be the best person I could be.  Hell, I still want these things!

But then there’s the other side of expectation – you build yourself into what you expect (or believe others expect) and if you fall short of what you envisioned you would be, well, your world comes crashing down around you. The same goes of expectations of others – if they fall short, or even do something other than what you had expected or dreamed they might do, in your fairy tale version of the world, you feel crushed. You taste and feel disappointment. And what maybe should have been sweet, is bitter simply because it was not what you had expected.
I spent a lot of my childhood waiting – waiting for the promised camping trip, fishing trip, swimming pool visit that never happened. It broke my Mom’s heart to see her kids waiting on the porch for a father who never showed. He forgot, things came up and he simply forgot to tell us he couldn’t come, or he thought it was the next weekend – he would make it up to us with an even better trip – a trip that usually didn’t happen.
The excitement turns to disappointment, which turns to a feeling of sadness, to self-doubt. If Dad doesn’t want to see me, what does that say about me?  I saw other dads pick their children up from school, and I felt envious, because I didn’t really know what it was like. You know, to have a dad pick me up and lift me into the air with that look of joy and pride I saw in those other dad’s faces. You know, the look I see in my husband’s eyes when he spins my daughter around in a circle and they fall into a heap giggling.

So my hopes became tinged with an expectation for disappointment and sadness. An expectation that I would always be Rachael the Unloved. That when someone forgot something trivial, perhaps it meant I was still the Unloved. The Unimportant. 

Now, I’m old enough to know it doesn’t mean anything. Children are precious and a gift, and that Dad didn’t make time for us, well, that was and is his own baggage. There were other things going on – of course – a child can’t even begin to understand the worlds and relationships of adults. But I don’t need to make excuses for him, or judge him, or even waste a moment caring. It was what it was.
But, all that being said, I want to leave my expectations behind me. It’s obviously an ongoing battle, that I believe I am winning (some days are better than others), but progress is progress!

So, here’s my final version of my poem on Expectations. You may have seen earlier drafts, but I decided they sucked – er, um, what I mean to say, is – I decided that they were a little too rough around the edges. So, I may be deleting them. If you read and preferred a previous draft, feel free to let me know and I can send it to you.

Otherwise, here it is:

Okay, I should say that one might get the impression that I am emo or depressed from this blog.  But I should state – writing is cathartic for me. If I feel a moment of disappointment, or a worry of expectation, than writing about that pain, fear, or guilt – well, the mere act of writing it down, getting it on the page and out of my head – that is as good as a sigh of relief. It gets out and lets me get on to thinking about better things.
Like, how nice it is sit in this moment, with a happy heart, listening to my daughter’s breathing over the monitor and the keys clacking as my husband works next to me. Thinking about the run we just finished, the life we are leading, and the places we are going.
And in this moment, this moment without expectations? All I can think is that I have a truly wonderful and blessed life.