It hurts when someone who we think should love and/or appreciate us does not. It’s also a fact of life that not everyone is going to like, appreciate or love us. After all, we don’t like, appreciate or love absolutely everyone else, do we?
This poem expresses the truth of that, but also adds a positive spin: when we accept that and grow through it, we become stronger. When we are true to ourselves, we find the people who do love and appreciate us, and they become our tribe.
Family isn’t just who you are born to, or the people connected to that group in one way or another. Sometimes, the best family is the one you find while being the person you are meant to be.
How ironic That you don’t like it When I stand up for myself: You’re the one Whose weapon words Gave me real-time training In the art of self defence. Had I not learned To deflect your contempt And resist your hateful words, I would not be here today.
You prompted my resistance, Inspired my defiance, And forced my indifference To anything else you have to say.
So thank you, I think, For helping me become someone others like Infinitely more than you do.
It’s Valentines Day on the weekend, and while I don’t pay a lot of attention to the day, I do think it’s a good opportunity to offer something to my readers. Think of it as a small token of my appreciation, if you will.
There are lots of other poems and stories there too, and it is all free to read. I would like to think there’s something there for every taste.
However you celebrate, or don’t celebrate, Valentine’s Day, I hope you’ll take some time this week or over the weekend to read something that makes you smile. I’d be super pleased if that happened to be something I wrote.
Free Short Reads #WhatToRead #FreeReading #readAwrite
This fascinating article appeared on my Twitter feed this morning.
It’s healthy to be reminded that the things we do with language to make it vivid and powerful are not just the domain of the English language: indeed, to imagine so would be both insular and ignorant. Given that English is such a mutt of a language, it should be no surprise that other cultures were doing powerfully creative things with language long before we were.
When reading even just the translated excerpts in this article, the abundance of metaphor, simile, and other types of imagery in these Persian poems is evident. The language is beautiful and the poems expressive.
I’m adding some Persian poetry to my reading list. I’m keen to read more of the poets listed in the article, and to experience the beauty of the language in the work of the poets.
Today, I am juggling the mixed emotions of finally reaching the end of a traumatic year, and knowing that the ticking over of a clock, or the turning of a page of the calendar, doesn’t actually make a miraculous, instantaneous difference?
What else does one do with all of that but turn it into a poem?
It’s December 31, 2020: Christmas is back in its box, And I’m ready to cheer For the end of this year Full of tragedy, heartbreak and shocks.
I’m not sure next year will be better After all, it’s only tomorrow, And if people don’t care For how other folk fare, We could be in for more sorrow.
Still, as this horrid year closes, I’m hoping for a reprieve: A little more joy, A lot more hope— That’s my prayer this New Years Eve.
ⓒ2020 Joanne Van Leerdam
New Year’s Eve, 2020 #NewYearsEve #newyearseve2020 #PoetsTwitter
I’m usually a real kid about Christmas. It’s one of my favourite times of year.
This year, though, I’ve really had to try hard to muster my Christmas mojo, and I’m not sure I really succeeded.
Christmas Eve was particularly hard this year. I felt so disconnected and indifferent, and I didn’t know what to do with that.
My response was the same as always: write something!
Verbalising these feelings helped me deal with them. They were — and are — still there, but I have been able to relax and let them coexist in counterbalance with my enjoyment of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Today is what today is. My feelings are what they are. It’s all part of the process of grieving and moving forward and reconciling conflicting emotions while continuing to live.
Joy is elusive this Christmas Eve, Anticipation is aloof. The empty chair, the missing gift, The place not set at the table, All murmur a silent, sorrowful chorus Like a incantation, warding off The overruling spirit of the season. The magic of tinsel, baubles and tree Cannot dispel the indifference Cast by Memory and Grief as they linger, Neither out of sight nor mind Amid the coloured lights and carolling On Christmas Eve without you.
I wrote this poem a while ago, but it seems so relevant at this point of 2020. Every time my Christmas fairy lights flick on lately, I think of this poem.
It’s the time of year when people want me to attend parties and end of year gatherings for work or other groups. They want me to sparkle, but I feel as though I am still so tangled and frayed and broken, I just can’t.
Yet again, I find myself ‘faking normal’ and smiling and nodding while wishing I could go home and go to bed instead. It’s a well-practised skill that, quite honestly, I wish I had never had to learn in the first place.
Hence my choice of new Christmas decoration, hung lovingly on my tree in honour of the mess that 2020 has been.
Just like a bundle of fairy lights, stowed carelessly,
I am a mess of entangled emotions
A jumbled catastrophe, knotted and messy,
Some parts are missing, some coloured glass broken;
My father and one of my closest friends recently passed away within five days of each other. In fact, Helen died on the afternoon of Dad’s funeral. It was too much loss. It was too painful. It was definitely too soon and too final. And “upside down” is exactly how I felt then and still feel now.
As always, my feelings have turned into poetry.
I wrote this poem on the morning of Helen’s funeral. It was impossible to contemplate one without revisiting the other in my mind.
These words have been in my mind again the past couple of weeks, following the death of my father and the passing of one of my closest friends on the day of his funeral. Losing them both within five days of each other was more painful than I can describe.
Tears fall, Can’t stop them, Can’t hide them. You’re gone, Can’t bring you Back again. Why am I always the one who is feeling The pain of the wrenching and tearing of leaving? Why must this pain be so raw deep inside of me? My heart Misses you Desperately. Please say That you won’t Forget me. I can’t imagine my life without you in it, Bereft of the light and the joy of your loveliness, Every room filled with the echoes of memories. Never To be the Same again. Tears fall, Into the Loneliness. You’re Gone.
As a poet and author, I know full well what many do not: delivering a message of great import in one hundred words is much more difficult than writing it in one thousand. Condensing meaning, crafting and shaping ideas with an efficiency of words, is harder than it looks.
I enjoy the challenge, though, of telling a story in such a very compact form. A well-written drabble is a thing of beauty, and while I am not suggesting every one I write is excellent, some of them are.
The poem ‘Inside My Head’ was published on The Drabble blog yesterday. It is one hundred words long, yet captures the experience of being inside my own mind perfectly. It’s so relatable, so deep, so powerful – and yet, so concise. I doubt I could explain it better, so I am sharing it here for your enlightenment and enjoyment.