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Gently, gently I go…a little poetic insight.

This is a poem I wrote 12 years ago. This was when I was extremely deep into writing poetry, and while not my best work, it is a great way to convey my mindset in this time of year. Titled: The Fourth.

The Fourth

© 2002, by Lauren L. Canfield, All Rights Reserved.
February 20, 2002.

Sunlight dances across the floor,
The wind blows my curtains
Gently toward my bed.
The sound of lawnmowers
Vrooming around yards
Reverberate in my ears
And the aroma of fresh cut grass floods my nostrils
As I turn over in my bed
And stare out the window.

I’ve never seen a sky so much that color.
So blue your eyes hurt.
The green, bright, vibrant.
The browns, yellows of the tall grasses.
The green, veined leaves of corn rustling
While in green, silk-laden beds,
The cobs lay maturing.
The purples, reds and pinks of flowers
Breaking the fifteen million shades of green
And the smell of lilac mingling
With the grass and the roses,
Peonies and lilies.
Dandelion puffs float by my window.

I stand up, stretch, dressed in shorts and shirt,
Rub my eyes,
Inhale.
Staggering, I make my way through
Short, dark hallways,
Into light-laden rooms.
At the stove, pasta is boiling.
On the table, red, yellow, and green
Peppers lay chopped
While onions and celery sit beside
Red tomatoes,
Greenish rimmed, milky-white cucumbers
And a jar of dressing wait.
I smile.

Open the door to it.
I do.
Inside, marinating
In a special sauce,
Is chicken.
I smell the vinegar
And close my eyes.
I can taste it now.

I return to throw on
Jean shorts, old tee
Some old sneakers, and maybe
A baseball cap.
Jumping down from the back door,
I hit a small path of pavement
Before reaching the soft, silky grass.
I almost wish to be barefoot,
But still see stalks of clover
And bees around.
Not safe for bare feet! I think
And walk to the shed.

Ah, the shed,
Home to a million diversions
For a country kid
Who excels at finding ways
To keep occupied.
Stepping up,
I locate, in the nearly empty shed,
A rake.
Doing my chores,
I finish the lawn in an hour.

Raking up cut grass
Can be dirty.
It stains.
It’s somewhat wet
From being mowed
Just after the dew evaporates.
It sticks.
I fling it to the cows,
Who, with the bulls, rush over.
My heart races;
I fear them breaking through.
They don’t.
Just munch on my gift.

The smell of cooking chicken hits me;
Just placed on the grill,
I have time.
Dragging my bike out of the shed,
I take off.
First, a mile down the road, turn around,
Over a small, wooden bridge next,
Then back.
Passing my house,
The sounds of my sister playing,
My dog barking,
My dad doing some odds and ends project,
Flood my mind,
But I soon forget to hear it.

Instead, I head to it.
Entering it, the tall maples,
Oaks, and numerous other trees
Create a soft, cool shade.
The sun breaks through in spots.
I make it to the first bridge.

A small man-made waterfall
From where they diverted the creek
Greets my eye.
As memory places me
Four years old,
Sitting on it as the water tumbled around
With my mom next to me.
I remember the freshwater crabs,
How they hid under rocks,
Then dared to snip at you when you neared.
I look across at the other side.

A well-known, well-worn path breaks through
To the creek side
I’m tempted to walk down
See if any crabs are left,
But, instead, I push on.
It becomes harder to bike,
As there are tiny hills here and there,
The second bridge comes into sight.
Much higher over the water,
No easy access down in,
It’s merely a marker.
Bored, I bike on,
Hit Bridge #3,
Two roads then diverge.

One, goes into a house, parked deep in
Hidden by a hillside.
The second leads nearly five more miles in.
The smell of dank woods hits me here.
I’m uncertain.
Should I go on, turn back?

I go on.

Road becomes narrower.
There are no guides on the side.
I might fall in, if spooked.
I keep going,
Forgetting time, responsibilities.
I love the cool arms of it.
It holds me, makes me feel at home,
I’m comfortable,
Confident,
Yet, frightened to wits end.

I turn around.
I think something’s up ahead.
I can never get to Monkey Circle.
I can never get beyond this point.
Staring over my shoulder,
Before I push off,
I shiver.
Something’s not right there.

I head home, all downhill.
The rush as I round curves,
Not bothering to brake,
My speed increasing.
I close my eyes on the straight-aways.
I open them just to turn,
And whiz past
The gorge I’ve climbed,
And slid down.
The water holes I swam in,
The waterfall where crabs nipped,
And by the tall trees shading
The entrance.

Bam!

Almost like a brick wall,
I hit the sunlight.
Easing on my brake, I coast by my yard,
Turn into my driveway.
As my mom carries the chicken inside.
She can see I’m happy,
Though I should be scolded for being
Away for so long.
She just smiles.

We eat.
The cleanup is done quickly.
The sun lowers in the sky, we set up the yard games,
Bring out the horseshoes and balls and gloves.

Our guest begin to arrive,
Bringing themselves
Maybe some chips or some soda.
Maybe a frozen treat.
Here comes Gramp,
Mysterious bag in hand.
I grin while the younger kids just stare
We take chairs to the front lawn.
The older people sit.
The kids run, chasing each other,
Water balloons flying all over.

I stare at the stars and inhale the night air.
Barefoot now, I lay back on the grass,
Still aromatic.
Closing my eyes, I move back in age,
Younger, chasing cousins and siblings with
Sparklers, dazzling the air with little bits of light.
Then, out came the big ones.
Parachute men, the wheel ones,
Some with big bangs,
Others silent as can be.
Gramp would bring them,
And we would jump for more.
When the woman across town would call,
The police came, but ignored it.
Nevertheless, we had hid them well.

Then, when they were done,
They’d pack up the cars,
We’d say goodbye.

I opened my eyes.
I heard a few talking above me,
I wiped a tear away,
Moved from the group,
Stared at the sky.

That fourth was different than
Others had been.

I can return to that town,
And I might smell fresh cut grass,
But it’s not our grass from our yard.

I might smell a barbecue,
But it is not our chicken.

The lilacs are purple and in bloom,
But they are not ours.

The road still leads to my wooden bridge,
But I have no bike to cross it.

The tall trees still stand,
The three bridges stand over the low creek,
The road still diverges.
They are mine.
They will always be mine.

And, no one will take my fourth away.

 

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Posted by on 07/18/2014 in family, weather, writing

 

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To rhyme, or not to rhyme. That is the question I ask…

I figured that if I was going to have any sort of success in keeping this journal a little bit alive, I needed to spend some time when I had the urge and time to write creating a small backlog of entries so that I could at least present the internet with something from me when a block hit. Perhaps this will take the pressure off of feeling guilty when I don’t write, and allow me to enjoy and appreciate the times I do.

I used to write a lot of poetry. And, if I am not too biased, I was pretty darn good at it too. Writing poems helped me work through a lot of dark thoughts and feelings. A lot of my poetry concerned my spirituality (which yes, I’ve mentioned in several entries now. Perhaps, one day I’ll expound a little on that.), but some of it did relate to people, in particular, and feelings I had towards people I couldn’t openly reveal.

I haven’t written a poem in over 6 years. I don’t know why I stopped exactly. I think it had something to do with the death knell of a phase of a particular relationship I had, and that I had lost a lot of the culture that I had created around me during those prolific poetry years. I once told a friend that I write best when in love or happy, coasting on the physical highs those emotions provoke in me. But, so much of my poetry was dark and angry, at least, on the surface. Perhaps I unwittingly lied to my friend when I said that. Maybe the truth is, I write best when I can feel a connection to someone or something that makes me want to be better, smarter, and honest. It’s been a long time since I have had that.

My older brother bought me a leather bound journal for Christmas one year. I haven’t used it. Part of that is that it’s beautiful and I don’t want to ruin it with scratched out words and my own insane thoughts. Another reason is that if I were to use it, I wanted a purpose for it that I would stick to. In truth, as you can see from the haphazard posting I do here, I am not very good at keeping a regular journal. About the only thing in my life that is regulated is my work, and heck, that changes all the time too. Keeping a journal every day, writing on the regular? Ha! That’s just not for me. Never has been, never will be.

Now, I think I know what I want to use that journal for. I want to get in touch with the poetic part of me that has been gone for so many years. I have a feeling that this will not be fun. I think I’m going to hate a lot of what may come out, and I hate when I don’t like what I write. But, I need to do this. I miss the part of me I saw when I crafted a poem, and I need to find that again. If I don’t try now, I might never do it.

That would be the biggest loss of all.

 
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Posted by on 11/10/2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Perfect summation of my thoughts…

To anyone reading, these are my words. Written years ago, but they are my words nonetheless. I have a writing blog I will be setting up shortly, but sometimes, a poem just begs to be posted.

 

Confrontation

(September 6th, 2004)

Has your exploration
and intricate dissection
taught you anything more about me?
Are my mysteries discovered,
the causes known, recovered?
Am I more known to you
as you are known to me?

Can you say my introspection
equaled your dissection?
Are my insides how they’re supposed to be?
Or, in further inquisition,
smiles turn to derision
as you find out what you’re not ready to see?

Am I the weak chattel,
the baby lost without a rattle?
The savior’s gone and abandoned me.
Are you one more masked invader
in clothes of a crusader
putting things back to how they used to be?

My soul’s laid out,
spread out,
fanned out
showing for all to see.

My world’s in doubt:
clouded, darkened,
shrouded.
I’ve been made blind to it all.

Can you see the disappointment
left underneath resentment?
Finally, I’ll show you what’s wrong with me.
Or with your two eyes seeing,
you’ve gone to leave me bleeding
to destroy all that’s left as me.

 

Sounds depressing, no? Back when I wrote this, I had just suffered an end to a very important relationship in my life. In the course of this relationship, I always felt as if I was doing everything wrong. I was insecure beyond belief. How dare I think someone could love me? Thoughts like that were drifting through my head as I emotionally navigated the month of September of 2004.

The same month, closure was given on another relationship I had. This was an ending to a friendship that soured mostly because of the same reasons the aforementioned relationship had. Topping that, I always felt, within this friendship, that I was under the scrutiny of someone psychoanalyzing me. It didn’t help that I had another friendship following the same course. Due to all of this, I wrote the above.

It was a figurative middle finger to the idea that something had to be wrong with me. I couldn’t be hurt. I couldn’t be sad. I couldn’t be weird. I had to have something emotionally and developmentally wrong with me.  Back then, I wrote a poem about once a day, so it wasn’t that surprising that I came up with this one.

Why it sums my thoughts: I am a single woman. No, I’m not pursuing relationships. This isn’t because I don’t want one. It isn’t because I’m not attracted to anyone. It’s not even fear. I have a lot going, personally, that I want to fix. I want to be out of the majority of my self-inflected debt. I want to achieve some personal goals. I want to just feel competent in some areas of my life before I add a relationship to the mix.

Often, I field the question as to why I don’t have a boyfriend. I usually say that I don’t want to deal with the drama of a relationship. I’m not lying. I don’t. Sure, I miss having someone to hold and hold me. Sure, I miss feeling that connection one can only feel as you’re falling in love. But, I also like not having to check in with someone. I like flirting with no consequences.

Most importantly, and something I think people should learn more often: I’m comfortable with myself. I’m okay with being alone. I’m okay not having someone else. I can be happy without needing a relationship. I don’t need to define myself in terms of a relationship.  And, honestly, people? There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with being single. So, stop pitying me for it. Stop implying that I’m somehow not a complete human being because I don’t have a man attached to me.

I’m okay. If I meet someone I might be interested in, my tune might change. But, I’m not going to run around looking for my other half as if it’s all that matters. Because, loving myself and being okay with me? That matters a hell of a lot more. I can ditch someone if I don’t like them. If I don’t like me? There’s only one choice to get away from that.

The most integral parts of human relationships are respect and trust. So, respect that I’m okay in life. And trust that I know myself well enough to say that I’m happy even if you think I wouldn’t be.

 

 
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Posted by on 07/14/2012 in Uncategorized

 

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