Tag Archives: alone

Why, oh why

alone

You knew that if I had known, I’d have begged you to stay,
I’d have refused to believe that we were now through.
Why, oh why—why in the end—why did you go away?

Perhaps I wasn’t listening about what you had to say,
Or did you think it gentler leaving no hope to cling to?
You knew that if I had known, I’d have begged you to stay.

Who knew that for all I had, there’d be such a price to pay?
That day by day I was building a debt I’d later come to rue;
Why, oh why—why in the end—why did you go away?

My friends—didn’t they?—one and all, say I’d take it this way?
They knew me a fool for you and you feared that it was true,
You knew that if I had known, I’d have begged you to stay.

I know I wasn’t faultless, that I had at least some part to play
But I don’t know yet what I said or did, or didn’t say or do,
Why, oh why—why in the end—why did you go away?

If I smile it’s because you knew there’d be this day,
That it would end with a kiss and not a final ‘Adieu…’
You knew that if I had known, I’d have begged you to stay,
Why, oh why—why in the end—why did you go away?

 

swril2

A villanelle is a highly restricted poetic form consisting of 19 lines set in a very precise manner with an exact rhyming scheme. Writing one is, believe me, a challenge, especially for someone who doesn’t tend to write in fixed form formats. But it was interesting experiment and I recommend anyone trying one as a stretching exercise.

You can, I might add, be comforted in the traditional love complaint topic. My dear wife, Lyn—despite, God knows, sufficient provocation throughout the years—has not and is not, I think, about to leave me. Or at least I don’t think she is! Hmm…

Thank you for reading Why, oh why. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken in Putnam, CT on one of my early morning rambles through a local park. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 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: © 2014 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.

 

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And each duly sets

The poem rose late, full and round,
wan gold in the wintery night.
I, walking home, amused myself with
the little puffs of vapor pushed out
into the silvery sheen—each balanced against
the crunch of the snow, the bite of the air
and the swishing of wither I went.
There’s no rhyme to that, I thought,
retreating further into my coat,
pulling the night close around me.
But there was.

up

Thank you for reading And each duly sets. 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 entitled Let’s not today and was taken in Lincoln, NH, if, I recall, through a patio door on a day that was bitterly cold and wonderfully snowy. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 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: © 2014 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.

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A peaceful forest

Across the broken back of the old stone wall
the tree lay crashed, staunch, fallen.
Two hundred years seed to crown—
twenty years dying, dead, done and down,
with what? twenty more to be gone?

A silent forest is a terrible thing
full of musk, chaos and rot
it is hard to feel young in a forest.
But if you close your eyes,
and listen, just listen,
you can hear it if you try…
and there is a measure of solace in that.

This is a simple poem for a simple truth: I was driving one day and in a quick glimpse, saw a mighty tree fallen across an old, typical, New England, free-stacked stone wall. The one had broken the other and I thought to myself, “There must be a poem in that!”

I hope you agree.

Thank you for reading A peaceful forest. 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.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Ian Hamilton’s ‘The Silence’

You walk ahead of me. The silence stands
On these white fields for miles at either side
And on the frozen lake. The trees
That file beside us can almost touch
Across our path. They are like hands
troubled by some forgotten prayer:
They are sustained by their burdenthe last m
Of silence. It is substantial
And stretches between us now. Your words,
Reverberating on it, as the branch you throw
Strikes angrily across the banks of snow
To disappear, are wasted.

As I noted when I posted Ian Hamilton’s ‘In Dreams’ I am going to post s selection of his poems to share this remarkable poet’s work.  The Silence is the third Ian Hamilton poem in this series.

For more on Ian Hamilton, I refer you to: his Wikipedia page.

Thank you for reading Ian Hamilton’s ‘The Silence. 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.

john

Comments © 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved.

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On this bridge, as far as I can see

Out of control, whirligig,
one round, two rounds, three rounds, stop—
the road a blur of nothing having happened at all.
Except (in a right world)
I’d be dead in the river below
instead of up here on the bridge
needing a smoke so bad
I thought I’d eat the pack.

But isn’t that the truth of it?
Because that’s when they nail you the hardest,
those pesky, insolent things,
those principles of your certainty.
Eventually they catch up with you
and stumble you like dozens of tiny hooks
bowing humbly at your feet,
each pointing their little barbs straight at you:
icy roads and too much speed,
truth and honor and lies—
and you ask yourself as you sit there,
Why did I ever think
I could get away with that?

In 1981 I was working as the site engineer at the construction of a gas transmission plant that I had designed in northern Alberta, Canada. Being December in northern Alberta, and especially then in the 80s, that meant that the world was made up of cold, ice and snow, and after that more cold, ice and snow.

That day was the last working day for the Christmas Holiday; we wouldn’t be back to the site until after the New Year. I was the last to leave and start down the rural, dirt road that had been cut into the forest to where the plant was located. I was en route to my apartment in Calgary in southern Alberta, but foolishly, while my friends in northern Alberta knew I was going south for the holidays, my friends in the south did not know when to expect me, if at all; I hadn’t really shared my plans with them.

Being excited at the thought of the vacation, I did not take into account what I was doing until I crested an icy hill. I am going way too fast, I thought, and I was. Going down the other side I had to tap my truck’s brakes to have any hope of making it around a bend at the bottom of the hill heading to a bridge that was over  a 20 foot drop to a rocky, fast and icy cold river below. When I did I instantly lost control. I can’t remember if or how I fought for control of the vehicle, but I do remember ending up swinging around in lazy circles in the exact same spot in the middle of a bridge—three times—and stopping looking exactly in the direction I should be going. How I wasn’t in the river below I still don’t know. After a few minutes, and yes, a cigarette or two (I’ve since quit) I put the truck in gear and drove on, slowly, shaken and thinking of what could have just happened, but didn’t.

To quote a favorite prayer: I beseech Thee to aid and assist me at all times and under all conditions, and seek from the heaven of Thy grace Thine ancient favor.

Thank you for reading On this bridge, as far as I can see. 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.

john

© 2012 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2012 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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