adversity · creativity · life · mental-health · poetry · writing

Explosive

Scarred existence
seeks a patience
born of peace

Cannot find the path
tainted ruts of blood
line a minefield.

(Poem originally appeared on Twitter.  Visit me @Vjknutson. Image from personal collection.)

abuse · creativity · poetry · recovery · writing

Treading Trauma

Treading water
where barracudas swarm,
inject a drop of kindness
incite a ravenous threat

Quick the decision to bail,
shed contamination,
resulting terror –
shame exposed.

Now tread slough
longing floored
robed in foreboding
trembling in shadows.

(I have made poor choices in my life, which still haunt my dreams.  My therapist says to focus on the “quick departure”, honour myself for making the right decision in the moment.  Still, guilt lives on.  Such is the nature of trauma.  It lingers in our psyche.  Image from personal collection.)

 

Family · poetry · writing

Was That Really Me?

Was that really me,
signed his life away
fresh-faced, innocent
marched North
then sailed East
to unknown seas?

Fuelled by anticipation,
anchored by camaraderie,
that boy who crawled
through jungle deep
weathered Burma heat
and nightmarish infestations,
adrenaline pumping
infiltrated enemy lines
unarmed, feckless
nursed fears with booze
adopted false bravado.

Was that really me,
that man who emerged
hard-edged, battle-weary,
whose medals of bravery,
buried now, speak more
of loss, and horror
than triumph –

And who is this,
whose rage intimidates
with trigger-sharp precision,
who ravages all that is dear
ideals slaughtered,
hopes destroyed,
whose enemy
now dwells within?

(Today is Remembrance Day.  Spurred by the prompts of Reena’s Exploration Challenge – “Was that really me?”  and Ragtag Community’s “bravery“, I have tried to put myself in my father’s shoes.  He fought for the British Commandos during WWII, and in hindsight, suffered PTSD.)

 

 

abuse · Family · life · Love · mental-health · poetry

The Art of Survival

Learned the art of survival
from father, a commando
trained warrior, never able
to leave the battles behind

A sharp-shooter, whose
expert eye tracked our
every fault; with sniper
precision shot us down.

Innocence has no place
when the enemy resides
within; when trigger lines
are camouflaged by wall-

to-wall carpets, and young
minds, craving exploration,
are imprisoned by acts of
terror; the only conclusion

survival’s impermanence,
hostility lurking in every
shadow, caution instilled
by the omnipotent legacy

of father. Tried to reach
him in the end, touch his
humanity; his shell-shocked
glaze paused for a moment,

he focused, broke through
the fury, seemed to remember
we were his daughters – was
that compassion lighting

his expression? Take cover,
he cried, get as far away as
you can, save yourselves, I
cannot sway my path, too

committed to this private war,
there is no mercy for me – but
you, you can be saved, save
your children.  I turn and run

with all the certainty that this
is life and death and embrace
the little ones, praying to lift
them out of the ashes, give

them new life, but it seems
they learned the art of survival
from the daughter of a father,
conditioned to the state of war.

adversity · aging · dreams · health · life · poetry

House of Horrors

If life is an amusement park,
then I, the wary visitor, purse
clutched to body, peer about
anxiously, rattled by crowds;

an overprotective parent,
herding my delighted flock,
reigning in wandering feet,
responsibility a stern cloud.

Childlike minds thrive under
blinding lights, the violence
of sounds, smells of cotton
candy sweetness: promises

of thrills, will lead me into
House of Horrors, where I,
lungs burning, heart dying
will plead for escape, run,

abandoning my charges
unable to separate fiction
from lived terror, reveal
my weakness, collapse

while the children, bent
on adventure will thrive
unphased by implications
of real life carnival rides.