Monthly Archives: June 2021

The next after another

On the darksome trail of this black ledge
I am blind,
but that is what I feel, isn’t it—
the next step?

If on the rough scrabble
I slip and fall,
that is what I bleed, isn’t it—
the step back?

I am as lost on this path
as I am bound to it,
but that is what I am, isn’t it—
the lockstep?

Against the cliffs my noise-some heart
echoes wrongly,
but that is what I hear, isn’t it—
the step up?

And now? Now I’m just tired
‘either/or’ ‘stop/go’
but that is what this is, isn’t it—
the final step?

My wife and I were driving to a Bahá’í conference when I noticed a hand painted sign off to the side of the road which said “Black Ledge” and an arrow pointing off in a direction. It was both incongruous and odd; why would anyone point to a black ledge?

It struck a chord with me and I linked it up with a conversation with my dearest friend and brother-in-heart, Sam, about service to humanity. Such service is an essential aspect of being human and yet it is not easy, nor does one pursue it without pitfalls and aches. Moreover, it can be wearisome and tiring, not the least of which because it can often fall on deaf ears and cold hearts. Yet, still it is important to continue and pursue such work, because you do it not just for the recipients, but for yourself, to learn humility and patience.

To learn humility and patience. That is my dear Sam in a nutshell.

Thank you for reading The next after another. 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 on Martha’s Vineyard, 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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Some haiku

The Japanese find English haiku silly and trivial. English, being so much terser than Japanese, makes writing haiku infinitely easier, and what is worse, totally denies the original aesthetic. Anyway, I have written about this before, here, if you are interested; I will not belabor the topic now.

Below are a few haiku that are more in tune with the original ideal:

roses are not
the symbols of
love; thorns are.

This came to me on a recent bike ride, as I contemplated the trials of faith and love.

— • —

hearts seek
unity; minds seek
dominance.

There is no reference to nature is this haiku, but still, I believe it works. It was formulated on the same ride but is actually close to a quote spoken to me earlier by a friend. It beautifully sums up the truth that humble love seeks harmony and joy, but that the ego-driven mind drives division and wants to be recognized for its uniqueness. Sadly, we live in a world of ego-driven minds.

— • —

post-ride, i
disdained salt water;
charlie horse.


OK, so this poem has no esthetics to speak of. But it is humorous and sums up what happened to me after my ride. It was a brutally hot day and I should have known to increase my electrolytes once I was done. Believe me, I paid the price.

Thank you for reading Some haiku. 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 Cranston, RI. 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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Just three words

If wishes were tears
then weep my river, flow,
down from the mountains,
on through the valley
and into your darksome sea—
where, God help me,
if I could, I would drown.
I would drown.

Thank you for reading Just three words. 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 on the Quinebaug River, in my hometown of 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 is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The image is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

2 Comments

Filed under Poetry