Monthly Archives: January 2021

It is not like that, death

We believe we are weaving each instance into a tapestry,
one that we are both in and which wraps around us.
But we are fooling ourselves if we think there are ends.
Look back, there was no beginning; look forward, what do you see?

The stars will grow weary in time
how much more then would we, where there are none?
It is—to be pithy—less about time than timelessness.
Think of the blind; they do not see black, they do not see.
So let those who can see, see that, and take comfort,
if it is comfort that they seek.

Thank you for reading It is not like that, 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 at my home in Connecticut. 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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That next one we take

They’re all lies anyway
those couldas, wouldas, and shouldas,
just mirages of our heated minds;
worse wanted because we feel them,
worse felt because we believe them.
Take a deep breath, then another,
that’s the only truth you have.
Live with it.

Every decision we make is a juncture, a point at which we chose to go one way, but had options for others. Over a lifetime we tend to build up fantasies (usually happy ones, but the opposite is just as likely) of what our lives might have been like with different choices. But in the end these fantasies are not real, and an equally apt word for them is “lies.” The only truth we have is the real life we have lived; good and bad, filled with rights and wrongs, and ups and downs, it is the truth we are. In accepting that we face the future of our possibilities and we face it honestly.

Thank you for reading That next one we take. 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 somewhere (usually I remember, this time I do not) in Vermont on a restful, getaway weekend. 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 steed of the Valley of Love is pain

You have no idea what rages inside me, but know this:
I will steal the breath from your throat,
char you to the bone
and flay you down to your still-beating heart;
I will kiss your eyes wide open,
lift your palm to my lips and breathe there a prayer
and sing you a song that you will never have heard
yet have known since you first drew breath.

I will break you just to make you
and in making you may lose you,
but if I do, it will be you who is lost.
If you hate me when I am done
I would understand,
but I promise you this if you do not,
your understanding will all be your own.

The title of this poem is a direct reference to The Seven Valleys, Bahá’u’lláh’s beautiful and mystical explanation of the soul’s development towards complete detachment from the trappings of this world and unity with the Will of His Messenger. There, in the section “The Valley of Love,” He states: The steed of this Valley is pain…

Thank you for reading The steed of the Valley of Love is pain. 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, in Putnam, Connecticut, and is the reflection of our kitchen light in my open, but powered off laptop screen. 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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Of those who are grateful

It catches you in a simple enough moment,
the clicking engine cooling,
the garage door squeaking closed behind,
home the hunter/home from the hill.

It’s dark, day is done, but you sit there,
breathing in/breathing out and that’s when they come,
spinning you around and hauling you down,
forcing your grip to the wheel.
And like breathing, they almost never go away…
Go in, you think, she’s there.

This is another poem that the edit history indicates is over two years old. Some poems come in a flash, others take time to write themselves.

The title refers to a line from a writing that has kept me going at times when nothing else could, the Tablet of Ahmad, a Bahá’í Prayer by Bahá’u’lláh:

These favors have We bestowed upon thee as a bounty on Our part and a mercy from Our presence, that thou mayest be of those who are grateful.

Home the hunter/home from the hill is a mashup misquote from Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson. The original lines are:

Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Thank you for reading Of those who are grateful. 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, CT. 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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