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
Thank you. I appreciate your comment.
I thought long and hard before publishing this as a stand alone piece because I didn’t want to be the catalyst for someone’s bad day. As part of the book it can be skipped over and forgotten rather quickly but as a single read it stands in stark relief. Thank you for your comment.
It is raw, emotional, and true. All marks of good writing!
This is so intense and painful… It’s so sad to watch anyone live helplessly like this.
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.
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…
Some one once told me that pain is never planned. At that time I had no adequate response. Now I know that pain can be part of a plan if it serves to validate ne
gative feelings and opinions.
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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.
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.
Thank you for your comment. I am in total agreement with your assessment. I am reminded of a line from an old Eagles song: “So often we live our lives in chains, never knowing we have the key.”
That’s a great line. Would you happen to remember the name of the song?
The song is “Already Gone” from “The Greatest Hits” album.
I found it very interesting going through.
You are invited to my blog too.
I appreciate the time you spent with this, and with some of my other efforts. Thank you very much.
Reblogged this on newauthoronline.
Thank you for the reblog, I appreciate it very much.
Thanks greeat blog
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.