Tá brón orm

I secretly scented the first roses I gave her
with a few small drops of rose water,
a practice I kept up over the years.
Each time, she’d deeply inhale their musk
and smiling delightedly, remark on how
I always found the best just for her.
Sometimes I wondered if she knew
and didn’t let on, but probably not,
she was giving like that.

In any case, she knows now.
I used the last of the bottle
to scent the roses for the mourners.

Tá brón orm (pronounced toe-brone-urm) is Irish Celtic. In that language, one does not say, I am sad, but that, Sorrow is on me. The implication is that you are not fully identified with the emotion but that it is weighing on you and that with time all things change. Sometimes up, sometimes down, but that life is always in transition.

But still…tá brón orm.

By the way, yes, that is the bottle; I’ve not had the heart to get rid of it. It is photographed in front of some beautiful flowers from a neighbor’s yard. The kindness of friends never ends.

Thank you for reading Tá brón orm. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken in my home. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.



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The generation of love

The best and sweetest left
to plant their bones whenever.
The rest of us stayed
and to spite ourselves,
we abandoned us, one, the other.
So when it comes, pray it’s quick,
and that when it’s done, it’s done,
and not this weighty, drag-on misery,
this open-maw wait of just begun.

As a teen, my enduring love of history was sparked by Barbara Tuchman’s masterful A Distant Mirror, in which she proposed that the death and suffering of 14th century Europe (a century of wars and the Black Death) reflected the modern world’s 20th century.

Bahá’u’lláh states, The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its perversity will long continue. And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake. Then, and only then, will the Divine Standard be unfurled, and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.

The suffering of the 14th century acted as a catharsis, giving way to the Renaissance that followed, which in turn gave birth to the Enlightenment, stages where man’s intellectual and spiritual development advanced quickly. So although yes, the world is in travail, and will suffer, as with the pain of any birth, a new world order will come from it. Just wait.

Thank you for reading The generation of love I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken near Putnam, CT, my hometown. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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Do I even want to?

In the summer it is so, so beautiful.

Beneath the high azure glow
the trees reach high with their crowns of green
as the bees flit ’round the fresh cut flowers
she holds so dear to her heart.
Drink deep, I think, letting my river flow.
Will I ever, I wonder,
lose the deepness of this mountain?

Thank you for reading Do I even want to? I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken in Putnam, our hometown, at the graveside where my beloved is buried. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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Like all illusions, a good trick

We believe we are weaving
each instance into a tapestry
where we are the warp
and circumstance the weft.

But where we really fool ourselves
is in thinking there are ends to this œuvre.
Look back, do you sense a beginning?
Look forward, what can you see?
Feel quick.

This is the second poem split off from its sibling It is not like this, death. Although they deal with similar themes they are not quite the same. I think I can hear this one breathing easier in its space.

Thank you for reading Like all illusions, a good trick. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph is, I think, a photo of my jeans. I cannot remember when and where I took it. I just liked the texture of it, the regularity. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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A little lie is not too bad a thing

ingot

I hope to die in my sleep
with my prayer book by my side.
I don’t so often as I should
but when your tale is being writ
it’s nice to sneak a word in.
Especially when they can’t hear you.

I hope it isn’t. Too bad a thing, I mean. 🙂

Thank you for reading A little lie is not too bad a thing. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph is of a rough ingot of melted precious metals and was taken in Phoenix, Arizona. The colors show the different types of metals. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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It is not like this, death

The stars themselves will grow weary in time
how much more then, we, where there are none?
It is less, I suggest, about time than timelessness.

Think of the blind; they do not see black, they do not see.
So let those who can, see that, and take comfort,
if it is comfort that they seek.

This is part of a longer poem that, after review, I realized was actually two poems inadvisedly squished together, the whole being much less than the sum of the parts. Hopefully, now, this poem can breathe a tad easier, being on its own.

Thank you for reading It is not like this, death. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken in a moment of sheer boredom while being in my car and on hold trying to talk with some company. Can you figure out what it is? To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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Where the light dazzles

Will-o’-the-wisp, why’o’why?
why this, why that, why her?
Seekers/dreamers/lovers
wander/wonder/ponder:
what is this Thing we are?

This poem is dedicated to my darling wife, Lyn. Still I find myself wondering sometimes, how can such a commanding presence be gone? And I have no answer.

The mandala in the photograph was painted by our daughter-in-law and two of our granddaughters on their patio. The center is a stylized “LDT” for “Lynette Deane Tolar.” It is ringed with the name “Bahá’u’lláh” repeated 9 times. It is a stunningly beautiful tribute to a stunningly beautiful woman.

Thank you for reading Where the light dazzles. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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Sara’s “With my belovéd”

In Old Istanbul, the religion is really tavla, backgammon.
He had, among other things, taught me to play
so I went to the Grand Bazaar, the Kapalı Çarşı,
where I tried to haggle (unsuccessfully) to buy a set (successfully.)
In thanks I took him with me on a walk of the old peninsula,
and hand-in-hand/heart-to-heart we saw the Hagia Sophia
and the Sirkeci Terminali of the famous Oriental Express.
There too we ate islak burgers and simit pastries from street vendors
and had golden-brown tea and frothy coffee, Türk kahvesi, in a café.
As I stood alone on the Galata Bridge, wishing him really there,
I wondered how many others through the long years
have wept their past into the dark, flowing Bosporus.
Why-oh-why didn’t I learn his other game as well? 

The poem and photograph are by a dear friend of mine, Sara. That is the tavla board mentioned in the poem. I am certain that she will enjoy your comments.

Thank you for reading With my belovéd. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain.

To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © 2022 Sara; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. The image is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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Her gifts

Each spring I’d say, I love tulips, why can’t we have some?
and you’d say, They’re a lot of work. They need to be planted
in the fall and the bulbs dug up in the summer to rest.

And I’d relent, that was fair, you did all the gardening.
So when I came around the corner of the house
and saw them blooming there, I wept.
Look love, I thought, this is the first spring you’ve missed!

Thank you for reading Her gifts. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was copyright-free from the Internet. I thought I had taken photos of my darling’s tulips but can not, now, find them. More fool me. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The image is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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Lake 2 ICU

I only feel whole in the cold bedside chair
despite how hard it is to breathe.
As you enter the door of the stroke unit
the lights at the top of the Christmas tree are blown
and I wonder is that happenstance or deliberate?
Does it matter?

On December 24, the light of my life, my dear, sweet, kind, loving, strong, intelligent, wise, and wonderful spouse, my darling Lyn, had two strokes. At this moment we are waiting to determine her baseline, but the damage is surely profound.

I am, as is our family and friends, devastated and broken by this tragedy, the grief held back only by our complete commitment to be with Lyn and support her whatever the Will of God is.

I am sharing this because poetry is one of the ways I grapple with the world, and to ask all kind-hearted people to keep our dearest darling in their hearts and prayers for at least a moment.

Thank you for reading Lake 2 ICU. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken at UMASS Memorial in Worcester, Massachusetts. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The image is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

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