Free verse is all about exploration.  Through it we explore our world as it is and all those possible worlds that might exist in other realities.  Not all such thought journeys are in sweetness and light, some delve into very dark corners.  The person, subject of the exercise below, inhabits one of those dark corners.  Many families, perhaps your own, has a member who might resemble this person.

She sits alone
On a straight-backed chair
In a darkened room

Occasionally she will glance
Toward the rain-streaked window
At a grey landscape beyond.

Children play, neighbors commune,
On the other side of the glass
Under sunlit skies of blue.

She wears a dark shawl made of memories,
Each selected with great care,
Sewn to the hem by ancient gnarled hands

A box at her feet
Contains her entire life,
A collection of every event.

She takes out a memory.
It brightens the room.
Too warm, too pleasant to use.

She selects another.
Pain stabs into her heart.
She sews it to her shawl.

The weight of the robe
Presses more heavily upon her.
The room grows darker still.

She smiles and reaches for another memory.

An excerpt from “A Mixed Bag” by Rick Fontes





About rixlibris

Retired from child care photography after thirty years of coaxing smiles and wiping noses. Currently venting years of repressed fictional story lines via self-published novels. Married and still alive in a remote corner of Waller County, Texas.
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23 Responses to THE PAIN COLLECTOR

  1. Painfully touching….

  2. This is so intense and painful… It’s so sad to watch anyone live helplessly like this.

    • rixlibris says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Pain is such an integral part of existence yet, in my opinion, we try to avoid recognizing that it even exists. My “pain collector,” the inspiration for this exercise, lives in a very dark and lonely place, those close to her having long since given up on trying to lift her out of her self-imposed pit.

  3. amommasview says:

    Very touching… So well written. I can see the darkness of the room but also the light the memories shed, feel the smile on her face but also the weight of the shawl…

  4. Pingback: Featured Posts # 82…Share your posts. | a cooking pot and twistedtales

    • rixlibris says:

      Thank you. As are many, when writing I am tempted to stay close to the positive and uplifting aspects of life but to do so cuts us off from a wealth of emotion that resides on the darker side.

  5. Funny I should come across this today as I just finished reading a blog post on feelings and how we should acknowledge all of our feelings. As I was reading this piece I couldn’t help but to feel sad for the present moment where this woman resides and her reflections on a life gone by. We can say “she lived a good life” and it may be true but it doesn’t change her current status and it’s something we say to make ourselves feel better because to accept feelings of sadness or loneliness would be taboo.

  6. rixlibris says:

    The song is “Already Gone” from “The Greatest Hits” album.

  7. Hey
    I found it very interesting going through.
    You are invited to my blog too.

  8. Ryan D says:

    Thanks greeat blog

  9. rixlibris says:

    Thank your your comment. Unfortunately I’ve been pulled away from the blog for awhile. Life changes in the day to day world have brought home realities that are demanding attention. As soon as the smoke clears perhaps there will be something in the new experience worthy of sharing. Still, one must accept that the only constant in the universe is change. Thanks again for visiting my site.

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