I Need Cheering Up

COME SIT WITH ME

Come sit with me awhile, spin your tales.
I long to hear of lives and loves not mine.
Remind me once again that good prevails.

Though darkness reads my story line by line,
The final chapters still are left to write.
I long to hear of lives and loves not mine,

Courageous tales of holding back the night.
Inspire me to open wide my heart.
The final chapters still are left to write.

Bring hope, bring life. Encourage me to start
A new adventure, passionate and bold.
Inspire me to open wide my heart,

Breathe youth into this tale grown stale and old.
Dare me to believe what grief denies:
A new adventure, passionate and bold.

I listen to night’s whispers, sorrow’s lies.
Dare me to believe what grief denies.
Come sit with me awhile, spin your tales.
Remind me once again that good prevails.

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Iteration

STORIES TO TELL

You tell stories about me
And cry out your pain,
The things I did to you
Fresh and raw in the telling.
But that’s not me in your mind,
Just a phantom you’ve created,
A character you’ve built from
Memories chosen to fit the plot.
That’s not me in your head
Scolding and criticizing,
Holding you to a higher standard
Than I hold myself.
You believe you know me,
Not recognizing your own creation,
Colored by the beliefs you
Cling to and the lies we both tell.
You don’t know me, the whole me,
Just as I don’t know you,
Though I too have stories to tell

Yesterday I posted a different version of this poem. This one came first. It was the seed, but I wasn’t happy with it, so I took it and reworked it. And since I believe that rhyming couplets make everything better, I wrote yesterday’s post just for fun. The problem with rhyming couplets is that I can go on forever with them. I could have written pages. I had to force myself to stop.

While I had fun playing with words and rhymes, I didn’t fully capture the thought behind either of these poems. I feel like I’m failing the form. Most likely, I need more time than I’m giving myself. In six months or a year, I might come back to these and rewrite them completely.

I was on the periphery of an emotional conversation in which I played a significant role for the teller. Someone else was handling the conversation with wisdom and grace, things that my big Aries mouth often lacks. Since I wasn’t engaged fully (thus avoiding my usually tendency to turn every conversation into a battle in order to protect my honor), I was better able to listen, and so better able to hear. As I did, I realized that I didn’t need to defend myself, since the version of me that played a role in this story was just a construct in that person’s mind, created from selected memories that fit that particular story. In that sense, it was valid. That’s how this person saw me, coded me, solidified me in their mind. There were elements of truth, just not the whole story. And that was fine. This wasn’t about me. It wasn’t my story.

I often feel that nobody knows me. How can they? I don’t share a lot of what I’m thinking or feeling. Not the deep-down stuff. On the surface, I chatter away about all kinds of things. I’ll ask you about your thoughts and feelings. I’ll happily listen if you need to vent. And though I might commiserate, I probably won’t reveal too much about my own struggles unless I’m asked. Most people don’t ask. Even if they do, I would have to trust them before I answered with any depth.

What can we really know of one another? We do make up stories and fill them with characters based on the people in our lives. Based on. Whatever role I assign you isn’t the full truth of you. It’s a melding of you and me, created from the intersection of our lives. You’re more than that. I’m more than that. However much I think I know you, there’s always more. I need to remember that when I’m reacting to my own villains. And when I’m assigned that role by someone else. There’s truth there even if it’s not the whole story.

I Play My Part…So Do You

IN STORIES SPUN

You tell your tale; I hear your cries.
A me that I don’t recognize
Takes center stage to crush your soul.
You’ve cast me in the villain’s role.

I wait for you to dry your tears
And question me about those years.
Probe the spaces in-between,
Perhaps rewrite those painful scenes.

But you need time to heal your grief.
My silence offers no relief.
I hear, but don’t apologize.
Your story’s true, yet full of lies.

I’m just an actor in your play,
A character with lines to say,
A frozen singularity,
One version of the fuller me.

And so it is with all our tales—
Our search for truth so often fails,
As tight we cling to what we know,
Confusing star and cameo.

We spin our tales and cast the leads,
Assigning roles to meet the needs
Of plots devised around our pain—
Performances all preordained.

I’m not the me you hold inside,
My life reduced and simplified.
Forced to wear your painted mask.
No answers sought, no questions asked.

Each of us constructs anew
The other from our point of view,
Just characters who play a part
In stories spun from mind, not heart.

Still Stuck Around That Fire

DANCE WITH US

Such a beautiful cloak!
Woven from threads of
Distant memories and
Ancient tales,
Wrapped close around
Your trembling shoulders
As you watch us dance.
Your stories weather well,
Never shrinking in the rain.
So proud you are!
Spreading them to
Dry in the sun.
Bring them to the fire,
Drop them in the flame.
Dance with us!
The naked, the unashamed,
We too owned cloaks and mail.