Tag Archives: learning

It may be too late

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Resolution is the accuracy of what you know,
latency the pause to grasp it,
hesitation the wait to action
and duration how long you understand it.
Clearly, time is, at best,
an awkward fellow to know.

He is, at first, all bluff fun and bonhomie,
good-natured and full of laughs. But then
he grows shiftier the longer he sticks around,
until with a slap of surprise and a wink of wonder
he’s off, and you, you’re just left there,
bemused, knowing you’ve bought into
something that you’d perhaps rather not have,
but it’s too late, you’re left holding it,
not quite sure what ‘it’ is, still,
knowing only that it must be valuable
and thinking there’s something that is yet undone.
It’s not until the end that you see him, not for him,
(for his own sake) but you for you, for your own,
immediately, instantly and forever. And by then…

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The photograph was taken in Bodie State Park, Bodie California…a very real ghost town. 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 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: © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its copyright holder.

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Not so different, he and I

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He was an older teen, blind and paraplegic,
with slurred and inarticulate speech
and strapped atop a single ski sled
that was being slowly tortured down
the bunny slope in a series of
wide, graceful arcs by a volunteer.
Clearly, it terrified the poor child,
you could hear him all over the hill
screaming like one of the damned,
his breath coming spasmodically,
his body twitching to and fro, wanting
to be done with it, wanting to be gone,
wanting to be someplace, anyplace,
as long as that place was else.
But then, at the bottom, breathless,
by then bouncing in his seat,
I heard him say it: Again!
And then even louder, Again! Again!

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The incident that sparked this story happened at the Sunday River ski resort in Newry, Maine, where my wife and I recently vacationed. The last time we were there in 2012 the Once Skiing poem came out it.

The photograph was shot on this recent skiing trip. It is a selfie taken in a double paned window at the base lodge. (That’s a plastic sleeve over the camera to protect it from the falling snow.) 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 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: © 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 you?

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I work with several wonderful reviewers on some of my poetry. One, KB, from The Mirror Obscura (a site that I highly recommend by the way—KB is an incredible poet) had suggested the poem may be too prosaic.

On the other hand, the  fantastic Julia Dean-Richards from A Place for Poetry (a fellow PenDraggon; I have linked to her deeply moving work before, here and here) liked it, but then did two things that saved it: 1) she cut it’s length, making it briefer and more to the point (never a bad thing), and 2) changed the font size of certain phrases.

The result seems—to me anyway—to leap from the page and become even more intense then I had written it. Unfortunately, my blog theme does not allow me to change the size of a font so I opted to post an image of the poem that preserves the exotic formatting.

Thank you for reading Do you? We 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 Julia-Dean Richards and 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 for this poem is: © 2013 by Julia Dean-Richards and John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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So what then?

Energy, frequency and vibration:
the stuff of heartbeats, tears and confessions,
after which scales count for everything
and begging nothing. (Which is when
you need it the most but have it the least.)
So best blame me, if blame me you can,
or want, or must and honestly, I’d agree,
if no one else—but let’s face it.
You may have longed to hear the peal
pounding boldly in the night,
but when you could have pulled the rope
you failed to ring the bell.

Nikola Tesla was a brilliant electrical engineer, physicist and inventor, who, sadly, despite his genius, died penniless and in debt. The first line of the poem comes from a quote by him: If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.

Which got me thinking: what if you are just looking for is the secret to your own life? and what do you do when you’re dead?

Thank you for reading so what then?. 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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Lucinda, the second Lenora

Being too much the devil and too much
the angel, yet the soul of a wicked
little brother, I wish I had at the time
known to ask: what sin did ever I commit
to deserve the scourge of that girl?
We laugh about it now, those days,
before we Hanseled and Greteled away,
she to find her way back to give
until there was nothing left to lose,
me to search the woods semi-blind,
until I lost what she had found.
But now we are past all that and together
we look into a hundred years or more
and know that although the places change,
the paths do not, no matter how often
you wander them. But it’s all right,
it really is, the crumbs are all dried
and blown away or eaten by the birds—
there’s nothing left that’s not been
given away, anyway, and given gladly,
long, long ago.

This poem is for my sister, Lucinda, better known as Cindy. (Her second name, Lenora, she shares with our maternal grandmother.) She will, I hope, forgive me for taking a poem from several years ago and re-writing it for this posting. In looking it over, I realized that the original was actually two poems rudely (foolishly?) pushed together. Despite its name, Lucinda, the Second Lenora is more about her and me together than just her, although, as in all things, I will always give her the lead. The other section of that original poem is now a poem all to its own and is called There;  it is all very much only about Cindy and I will present it when next I post.

I love my sister very, very much and can proudly say that I am fortunate to have grown up the younger sibling of a person who is as kind, loving, generous and as intuitive as she is. And if hard work is a virtue, surely she must be the most virtuous woman on the planet! Actually, in trying to come up with the single most best word to describe her (something I have thought long and hard on) perhaps the best word is one that is sadly out of fashion these days, ‘noble,’ for that is what she is: having the bearing and mien of wisdom and authority with the stamp of humility to make her kind nature shine through.

And this, mind you, despite the fact that as children we fought like wet cats and dogs (alas, too true) and that she, being the older, was the most wicked little manipulator and torturer that the good Lord put on this side of the Hundred Year’s War (alas, also true.)

Gosh what a wonderful, rich life we have lead!

Thank you for reading Lucinda, the second Lenora. 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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