Origin

Anxiety burns
an acidic devouring
confidence impaled –
mind wanders to childhood dreams
uncovers fear’s origin.

(Tuesdays, I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson. I came across this tanka written in May/21 that seemed to match with the image I recently posted on my other blog. I decided to pair them here.)

Sustenance Rekindled

It wasn’t the knowledge of stability –
chaos had the upper hand back then.
It wasn’t even that love was expressed –
unconditional an unheard of concept

It was an unspoken presence
the reassurance of rocks
the irrepressible allure
of a freshwater stream

How a child’s heart
found encouragement
in the whispering wind
solace in the arbored shelter

Naturally the din of home life
overpowered this self-assured
passage, disrupted kinship
and shattered childish faith

But all that is behind now
and when I clear cluttering
thoughts, disperse static
emotions, quiet the heart

The rhythms are still there –
presence offering sustenance…

(Poem first appeared here, January, 2021. Image my own)

Child Defines Self

Too many bodies
encroach on peace;
I lack boundaries,
the self-worth
required to assert
needs – dwell
in basements,
mind cluttered,
external noise
obliterating me

Backdoor provides
escape, backyard,
back gate…
…freedom
I disappear
into the quiet
of the wild:
wooded sanctuary,
flowing water,
watchful eyes
of birds overhead

Here, I define self.

(Image my own)

That Kid

Not programmed to comply –
cannot tolerate oppression:
a pressure cooker
ready to explode

Do-gooders sit up
straight and smile
encouragement:
I slouch defiance

Don’t ask me to respect
that which is disrespectful –
my fuse is short
of that I’m certain

Don’t slot me;
leave me –
creative inspiration
is not lacking here

I’m a free agent
a incorrigible scamp –
authority doesn’t scare me
’cause I’m beyond control.

(That Kid, first appeared on One Woman’s Quest II, June 2017. Found poem here. Image my own)

Childhood Home

The place remains in my dreams
like a movie set preserved…

Have assigned each room
a critique – disclosed the crimes

Yet, it remains, like a beacon
draws me to it, begs reflection

What if I could go back
now that I can breathe

Now that I’ve laid claim to maturity;
would I discover a sudden windfall?

Makeover conditioned motifs;
reevaluate ceiling heights?

With resources to remodel
heart open, connected

might I uncover abundance
like a personal embrace.

(Childhood Home first appeared May, 2020. Image my own)

Family Portrait

Did you know that life would come to this?
Flattened memories pressed between wax
the essence of our efforts forgotten,
the dreams, so carefully construed, lost.

You leaned toward the conventional,
and I was ever the sentimentalist,
and yet we ended up in the same place –
shadow selves standing at the banks
of our dishevelled lives…

Survivors, nonetheless, tokens
of a a past riddled with so many lies,
so much heartbreak…

We are ghost sisters
haunted, hunting,
unable to step away –

Drawn in,
pulling apart –
all that remains.

(Family Portrait first appeared here February, 2019. Edited here. Image my own)

I Am Listening, Child

Child of mine,
what rage is this
that sets you against
a younger brother?

What discontent stirs
so deeply within that
you would lash out
at me, your mother?

Let us sit a moment,
and let me, with tenderness,
listen, for your anger masks
pain, and I am not so far
removed from childhood
to recognize that tone.

If I have wronged you,
speak; I need to hear it.
If peers are pressuring,
or bullying, or you feel
betrayed, lay it here
in my hands, and I will
comfort you, and offer
what wisdom I have.

Your well-being is sacred
to me; let me hold you –
you’re not too old – linger
here in my embrace until
the tears come, and the storm
passes; I will hear your fears,
frustrations, and disappointments,
and together we will figure it out.

Child of mine,
I am here for you,
no matter the reason;
your pain is my pain,
talk to me; I am listening.

(This poem first appeared Dec, 2019. Image my own)

Sunday supper table (sestina)

Two at the ends, two at the back
one for the cook, one for the help
this was the way of Sunday’s table:
hungry tums anxiously waiting,
family dog glued to the floor
lest any scrap should need saving.

Father would pray for all our saving;
serve himself before handing back,
while Mother paced the dining floor
ever offering us kids some help
till dishes, her end, piled up, waiting –
always an imbalance at our table.

Silence was the rule of the table,
stories and anecdotes were for saving,
politeness called for patient waiting –
chairs tucked in and shoulders back
and no cutting the meat without help,
cold potatoes slyly sloshing on floor.

Youngest feet not reaching the floor
tended to swing beneath the table
kicking knees could not be helped;
from fiendish scowls no saving –
Father’s hand flashed a wicked back,
scolding sermons he kept in waiting.

My tongue would tire of the waiting
no matter how I focused on the floor
and if a sister should glance me back
that would be the end of a quiet table,
giggles nervously emerging from saving
any hope of control beyond our help.

Mother’s good nature was seldom help,
nor Father’s silence as he glared, waiting,
for the situation was far beyond saving,
and his chair angrily scraped the floor
as his storming presence left the table
we happily waved at his regressing back.

***

All the stories we’ve been saving –
childhood foibles we couldn’t help

Days and people we’ll never get back
hoping that somewhere they’re waiting

That one day we’ll meet, share the floor
minus the hurt, forgiveness at the table.

(My poetry circle tried their hands at a sestina.
This is my attempt. Another tale from dinner
with Dad. Image my own.)