creativity · poetry · writing

Questioning Questions

Does the caterpillar question,
eek out the significance of each
puzzling piece, self-impose standards,
before submitting to transformation?

Why then, must I tear at each segment,
consume myself with riddles,
delete pieces of the whole,
in order to fit a mould?

Am I not just part of some divine
journey, tied to a destiny in which
I, too shall find the metaphorical wings
to soar – and why, then, should I question?

(Written for Willow Poetry’s Challenge:  What Do You See?  Featured image is the prompt.)

just because

Souls Are Crossing Over

The night stars glitter over a city asleep,
while a dim light glows from a hospital bedside,
and a woman watches vigil over her dying husband.

Across town in a different medical center,
a thirty-something man squeezes his wife’s hand,
as she labours with the product of their love.

I lie awake, conscious of the irony of life,
anxiously awaiting news of passages:
one life ending while another begins.

I find myself wondering what lies beyond,
and whether they are not both experiencing
the loss of one life and the beginning of another.

What I do know for certain is this:
Lives, at this very moment, are changing,
irrevocably, for the better or the worse.

And that as my mother mourns her loss,
my daughter will be celebrating her gain –
grief and bliss will coexist within these walls.

health

Confessions From The Sick Bed

Before I was sick,
I counted the days and hours,
not because of drudgery –
I loved my job –
because I had stretched myself
beyond normal limitations.

Before I was sick,
I wore responsibility
like a superhero,
and defined by work,
prioritized tasks
above well-being.

Before I was sick,
I joked with others
about the disabled
lounging around,
living the life of leisure,
usurping the system.

Before I was sick,
I prided myself on saying “yes”,
being dependable,
loyal to a fault,
a friend to all.
I thought I was invincible.

When I started to get sick
I trudged from doctor to doctor,
underwent tests,
and humiliation,
learned to doubt myself,
and turned the blame inward.

When I started to get sick,
I chastised myself
for being overweight
and not exercising enough,
and stopped eating carbs,
and pushed harder.

When I started to get sick,
I ignored my body,
failed to set boundaries,
continued to eat on the run,
and felt ashamed
that I had let myself go.

When I started to get sick,
I was wracked with guilt
for the compromises
I had to make,
failing to juggle
so many obligations.

Now that I am sick,
I value more than ever
the importance of priorities,
recognizing that well-being
always proceeds well-doing,
and appreciate my body’s voice.

Now that I am sick,
I understand that work
does not define me,
and disappointing others
is a reality in life.
I am not invincible.

Now that I am sick,
I’ve learned that richness
is a quality of living
and not a figure
in a bank balance.
Happiness, the same.

Now that I am sick,
discernment defines
the relationships I desire,
no longer willing
to negate self
for the love of others.

Now that I am sick,
I no longer pretend,
or reach to meet standards
that fail to sustain me;
I have a new set of expectations
and am learning to be.

Now that I am sick,
I see with compassion
how insecurity
and a longing for approval
drove me to demise,
always failing in my mind.

Now that I am sick,
I pray that wisdom,
and humility
will guide my recovery,
and that life will await
this metamorphosis in me.

health

Day 264 “Do Not Wait”

“What does this say Mommy?”  A two-year-old peers intently at the letters on a page.
“They’re words, Honey.  You’ll have to wait until you go to school to learn to read.”

“When will I have a boyfriend?”  A pre-teen wonders aloud.
“Not until you’re older,” she’s told.  “Wait a few years yet.”

“I can’t wait until I move out!”  A young woman bemoans.
“Living under my parents’ roof is a drag.”

“Will I ever get married and have children?”  The working woman asks.
“I don’t know if I can wait much longer.”

“Wait ’til your father gets home!” A mother tells her naughty son.
“When will my time come to get out of the house?”

“We’d like to travel,” a woman tells her friend,
“but we’re waiting until the kids leave home.”

“I think we’d better downsize,”  a wife tells her husband.
“I don’t think we can wait until retirement.”

“Do not wait!” a widow tells her children.
“Or it may be too late.”

health · Uncategorized

Day 253 Power

Hope glides
on the wings
of the early morning
dawn; awakening.

Whispered
promises:
new beginnings
bright possibilities.

Hope smiles
electric blue,
sunshine yellow
darkness receded.

Reality slams
the door closed
harsh recollection
shatters illusion.

Colours fade
to gray –
nothing
has changed.

Hope trails:
a gossamer thread;
a faint flutter;
refusing to die.

The soul
shuns reality’s
heavy-handed
dictation,
relying instead
on the wistful
subtleties:
a butterfly
in the wind.

Who wins
in this struggle
for absolute reign?

Do I surrender,
resign myself
to what is?

Or heed, what?
An impulse,
a glimpse?

Hope has
deceived me
before,

Reality has
proven equally
as unreliable.

Uncertainty.

Uncertainty
is the only power
that speaks the truth.

dreams

Day 249 “The Deep Pool”

A figure of breathtaking beauty
glides across the center square,
his classic attire announcing success,
his god-like countenance turning heads.
His velvety deep voice hints at an accent,
stirring imaginations and desire.
He pauses every so often to greet another
with warmth and genuine compassion,
but his heart is set on me.

Juxtaposed to my husband,
I huddle next to the storefronts,
sidling between columns
hiding my agedness and homely visage.
I wear my unworthiness with shame
Confident only of the precariousness of this union.

He is taking me to the seaside,
Proudly leading me to the water’s edge.
Reluctantly, I follow
the shimmering lure of the water
sparkling in the distance,
and the broad open beach leering with disdain –
under the blazing reality of this day
the world will see me for what I am.

* * *

The hotel window overlooks the square
and the crowd that has gathered there.
Searching for the source of commotion
I glimpse a woman, shackled by the wrists,
chained to an ox and cart.
Horrified, compelled to help,
I rush to save her, but am too late.
She stumbles just outside my reach
and is dragged to her end.

I reel with revulsion,
My mind racing with confusion,
What crime could this woman have committed;
what sin to commit her to such a vile death?
She seemed such an ordinary woman,
tall and proud, not long out of her youth,
She had the weary look of a young mother,
stern, yet impassioned – the lioness,
protective of her brood –
now the victim of public persecution.

* * *

I stand in a darkened doorway,
a beam of light from the street
casting an eerie glow on the scene before me:
a baby, despondent from unanswered cries
abandoned in its playard
stares at me with deep, black eyes,
and attempts to rise,
raising one hand to reach for me,
then falling back on his sodden bottom.
I will myself to pick him up,
rescue him,
but am wrenched back into consciousness –
it has all been a dream.

* * *

Ego drives in the waking times,
delusions of self-understanding,
control and clear motivations
its steering wheel –
It is only a facade.

Below the surface,
a history of turmoil,
unrequited desires,
and untapped resources
simmers in anticipation,
conjuring dreams to awaken us –
metaphorical mysteries to
tantalize and illicit questioning.

The self is a deep pool,
harbouring a wealth of treasures,
reminding us there is always more to strive for,
inviting us to take the plunge.

Somewhere inside me is unparalleled beauty,
confidence, and grace,
there is merciless persecution –
both victim and participant-
and there is innocence abandoned and neglected.
Somewhere inside me,
this self-defacing identity
has hope of reparation –
and this relenting sense of futility
may uncover renewed purpose.

Uncategorized

Day 247 “Multiple Perspectives”

Anti-establishment
and flower-power
formed the background of my youth.
Women burning their bras,
Hippies holding sit-ins,
War in Vietnam.

Beatles and Rolling Stones
were household names,
and school children took
the Pepsi vs Coke challenge.
Twiggy and Mary Quaint
and Piccadilly Circus
set the fashion stage.

A flower-toting leader
dating well below his years,
wooed his lovers and his nation
with a french accent
and a sense for current trends,
and called in the army when
the FLQ threatened peace.

My school was open-concept
and learning free-style.
We had a Wong and a Suzuki,
and watched the Black Panthers
uprising in the South
and learned we were WASPS.

Homosexuality was debated hotly-
criminal or mental instability –
and transgender was not even a word.
While the world around us struggled
with equality and human rights
my family hid behind our walls
while my father dressed in drag.

Times have changed,
and perspectives altered
and sexes can now marry same.
There is sexual orientation
and gender identity,
male and female polarities de-mythed.

Human rights
on the forefront
of law-making and policies.
Universal Design for Learning
stressing accessibility.

How I wish you could see it, father,
from your resting place.
This world of ours is changing
and what was once disgrace
will someday be commonplace.

Inspired by: “Transgender Dysmorphia Blues” Against Me!

dreams

Water Damage

The rains finally arrived,
accompanied by tremors,
in the autumn of my thirty-second year.

Torrential floods
of pent up fear and emotion,
unleashed for weeks on end.

In my state of brokenness,
I felt the sorrow of
thousands of women –

oppression, rage, disappointment, hell.

It’s been years now,
yet pools of tears still lie,
stagnant, breeding insects,
mutant bugs with segmented bodies,
struggling to stay alive.

I crush them – try to stamp them out,
but they reappear,
unexpectedly, driven
to what purpose I do not know.

I have conformed, cleansed, repented, prayed.

Yet the sorrow comes
in waves of terror,
reminders of the past.

Worry not for me,
but for the children,
whose innocence is tainted
by horrors unknown,
who pay the price
of my victimhood.

Confused, removed, they suffer unwittingly.

Pray for release, for salvation,
pray for understanding and redemption,
pray that we may all, once again,
breathe.