I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

7 August 2017

Making the Gaps Wider

She knew my kind.
'You want to show off,' she said.
'If you think you can here, you’re wrong.'

'No no,' I said, 'I only came to play.
I came for the games, the fun.
I don't expect anything else.'

But she was crying. (She'd felt scared.
The boys had been fighting just next door.)
'Leave me alone!' she said.

All her pain
came into me and filled me.
It felt like mine.

'Stop pushing in,' she said.
'Anyway you're late. It's over. 
I'm closing the gates now.'

I should have shut up then
and gone away. But I wanted
the hurting to stop.

The more I tried to explain, 
the more she closed her ears.
And her mouth. And turned away.

I thought I heard her say,
'I never invited you 
to this party.'

Next time I went to look,
they were all playing again
inside her garden.

I suddenly realised
they spoke to each other in secret code.
I went away.

30 comments:

  1. Hmmmm, this is kind of eerie. The pain of someone saying "I never invited you to this party." And then the children speaking in secret code. I would go away TOO!

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  2. That is so heartbreaking for a child to feel it doesn't fit in and isn't wanted... childhood can be so hard for some.

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  3. This situation is all too familiar, Rosemary, and heartbreaking. Children, especially girls, can be so unkind without realising.

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  4. Ah, this reminds me of those giddy childhood plays and how those secret codes would hurt — being excluded from the group at large is heartbreaking for a child.
    Your words and tone also speak to me of another kind of play carried on by adults. The wider gaps are gradually realized in this verse. A very interesting poem, Rosemary. I am sure I'll be wondering about it for a while.
    -HA

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    1. Yes, it was inspired by an adult situation which reminded me of the childhood experiences.

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  5. Oh how important it is for much of our lives to be accepted until we reach enlightenment...becoming discerning about whom we wish to be accepted by:)

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  6. This took me back many years to my childhood when such passive bullying took place and it really hurt inside. It normally took some time to be accepted after such rite of passage.

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  7. This brings back childhood memories for me, the world is cruel to those who are different and stand out amongst the crowd.

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  8. I feel like the left out child in a fairy tale.

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  9. I can feel the pain, I was never invited to many parties. I have often felt people spoke in a different language. Now, in my life I find peace with knowing I am unique and see with a different eye.

    Have a wonderful day!

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  10. I know something of what the speaker in the poem is suffering. I've been the outsider all my life. You learn to cope. Sort of.

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  11. kind of sad. reminds me of a video i have seen recently, about class divide. how children from wealthier families would not interact with children from more modest homes, and vice versa.
    wonder if this will carry over to adult life. :(

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  12. The way those secret codes works is so painful when you start to find the key... to be excluded is something I know, though it's rarely been said to my face...

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  13. It is interesting when an adult behaves in a way reminiscent of childhood and turns away from proferred help and explanation. I am always amazed that words - our conveyors of our deepest truths - are unable to fix a situation in which the other party is unwilling to hear.

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  14. Children and especially girls can be so cruel and they mean to be. I never fit in with the girls and I didn't care. I still don't fit in. I feel like they are talking code now as adults but I understand what they are saying and I still don't care.

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  15. Rejection is never friendly always painful. I like this dialogue. Makes me want to know the rest of the story.

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  16. It's a frustration to know that you're unable to communicate, to know that even trying isn't going to help. This certainly has turned over and excavated a few memories.

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  17. This is an amazing poem Rosemary! The rejection is so eloquently displayed in your words. So keenly that it rekindled some feelings I have experienced in the past. The title is perfect. Lovely writing as always, and I love your photo....eyes closed with a pen in hand! Beautiful!!

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    1. Thank you. I was very pleased with that photo myself.

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  18. How fascinating that everyone identifies so much with this poem! Is it a universal human experience, or are poets always, naturally, outsiders?

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  19. This is very layered in terms of expressing the fear of exclusion we carry with us from childhood - and really - right through our lives. Whether they are aware of it, or not, all cliques have a 'secret code' … I think, the older they are (and the more years that they have existed) the more insidious and discriminatory they can often be.

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  20. Geesh, that was cryptic ...and interesting to read.
    ZQ

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  21. Pain is pain - carried and weighted, whether of childhood exclusions, or as we age; and yet, a gift can be offered from it, eventually - when we realize our own strength for our own value - and that often, those who are on the "finger pointing" end are most often just as unhappy, insecure, undervalued etc. as we might be feeling in the moment. Very adept capturing of this moment which translates into an experience so many have lived.

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    1. My adults used to say, of the nasty kids, 'You should be sorry for them. They don't know any better.' I didn't find this helpful as a child, but it makes heaps of sense now.

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    2. I can totally appreciate those words and feelings too; it doesn't make much sense as a child, as you've noted, when being right in the moment - in fact, it seems callous all around, but yes, time and life's experiences really do straighten some of it out, at least in the mind, although not necessarily in the heart.

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  22. Few things are as terrifying as the feeling that we don't belong... especially when, in a way, we are convinced that we are wanted. I feel bad for her, but... the way she leaves, without fighting, makes me think that she will be quite all right. It would have been nice to be part of the gang, but if she can't be... she'll find something that works for her.

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  23. Rejection always sad and hard.

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