Today’s prompt asks us to write a poem that engages all five senses. Hmmm. Alrighty then.
I reach out for you in the middle of the night still.
You were there for years, but now you are not.
The sound of your snoring,
even your breath in the morning,
how much more would I have savored those
if I knew what was coming?
I remember your hairy belly.
Isn’t it silly,
these things that stay in my mind?
I remember running my hand
on your tummy, loving the feel of you,
your warmth; I suppose it’s unkind
to do this to myself, to remember like this.
But do I have a choice?
I can feel the sadness now in the back of my throat,
the tears that want to come.
I can taste those uncried tears,
their bitterness, my fragility.
Now you are with her,
and I include you both in my forgiveness practice.
So many have told me to let go,
to focus on me,
to be my own best friend.
But what to do when nothing feelings like home anymore,
when I am a stranger to myself,
when the most familiar things are the memories
growing fainter with each tear that falls?
Today’s prompt…write an elegy. Maybe you can figure out to whom I am writing the elegy?
I could feel you after I met him,
and the promise of you drew nearer
with each meeting.
And then the day came
when you were finally a reality.
Friends and family gathered
to celebrate your beginning,
such a joyous occasion.
I had such high hopes for you,
invested in you with my heart and soul.
I had longed for you my whole life
and here you were.
They told me you would be difficult,
so I didn’t bring any false hopes going in.
I was willing to roll up my sleeves
and do the work to keep you going
for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
But you began to fail.
And try as I might to keep you alive,
he no longer wanted you,
and he chose to let you die.
No…that’s not it.
He chose to kill you.
He even mocked you,
disrespected your memory,
threw away your remains
as if you never existed.
And I tried to pick up all the pieces,
to make some sense of what happened.
There was no saving you;
I wonder if you were ever really there.
And now I weep for you.
I miss you.
I had you for eight years,
and now you are gone.
Rest in peace;
you are remembered by me
and you will live forever
in the gratitude I feel
for the lessons you brought me.
In this world where everything has died
I notice the silence above all.
Sometimes a car passes by
reminding me that life goes on for others,
But in here, in this house,
everything has died.
I buy myself some flowers
and for a few days
their sweet scent reminds me of living…
but as all living things must,
the flowers wilt and decay
and now I am responsible for
disposing of their remains.
If only the remains of my marriage
could be thrown out like the spent flowers.
Its faded scent lingers,
and so do all the fallen petals
of the hope I kept alive for so long.
My children are with him tonight.
He took our two cats as well;
it’s eerily silent here.
Silent like death.
Now here I am,
listening to this absence of sound
inside a home once raucous
with the symphony of existence.
A car passes by now,
reminding me of the life that goes on out there.
Don’t get me wrong,
it’s not that I hate Christmas…
It’s just that it is dead to me now.
The lights, the trees, the carols,
stepping into the home
of my son’s kindergarten friend,
seeing their happy Christmas
taking shape in their happy home,
and inwardly bemoaning
the shapelessness of my Christmas,
now that it’s dead.
A marriage, a holiday, a life,
all falling apart.
Dead things decay;
particles break down
and return to the earth.
New life springs up
and eases the memory of death.
Will this happen for me?
Can I hope for this much?
Something is slipping away.
Is it the love I once felt,
or is it the illusion of love
making way for a new truth?
I see him and I’m still grieving,
but something new is there;
a hope, a wish, a desire
for a better life,
a bigger adventure,
a time when I can be held
by someone who loves
without the need to keep tabs.
Back in this room,
back in this house,
I wonder how much more life I’ll live
before the dream becomes reality.
Falling further than I thought possible.
crying over any little thing.
Then the numbness,
a state of motionless,
Could this experience
be carving into me
a more profound understanding
of the suffering of the world?
Please let there be some reason for this.
I will miss you Kalyanamitta
When I walked I looked for you
and you were always there.
Towering above the petty concerns of the world,
roots deep in the earth
majestic, strong, old, wise,
you provided solace when the world’s chaos
threatened to engulf me.
I wrapped my arms around you, dear friend,
although you were so grand I could only hold
a fraction of your splendor
and I soaked in your stability, your peace,
your way of being here quietly
with a solid presence
and a most graceful air.
How many seasons did you weather
before they took you down,
and what were your last thoughts
as the saws approached you?
You, in your wisdom, probably
breathed and flowed into your next form
uncomplainingly, without fear.
Might I follow your path of peaceful dissolution,
holding on to nothing of this changing life
but welcoming the impermanence
as I welcome my next inhalation.
I will honor your life dear friend,
I will not forget you, my Kalyanamitta.
I was shocked to discover this evening that my favorite tree had been taken down some time ago. Already grass seedlings were sprouting up in the place where the tree once stood. They had done a good job at removing the stump…one could almost say that the tree was never there to begin with. But I know better. I always made it a point to visit the tree and give it a hug when I was out on walks; by its size I’m guessing it was about 200 years old and its magnificence inspired me. I named it Kalyanamitta after the Buddhist notion of a spiritual friend, because the tree embodied all the qualities I would seek in such a friend—stability, presence, peacefulness, longevity, wisdom, ageless beauty. To see the empty spot where the tree once stood left me speechless. I walked over to the empty place, crouched down, and wondered why my dear friend was gone. The picture above was taken May 4 of this year…all of that beautiful green growth led me to believe that it was a perfectly healthy tree. Now I can only trust that perhaps the tree was sick or suffering in some way and that it was an act of compassion to take it down. But I grieve. I’m mourning my Kalyanamitta.