Tag Archives: life

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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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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When you walk alone

They say that sometimes at night
when your breath billows softly white
and the snow crunches loudly in the quick—
aye, then;
when the cold moon hangs pale overhead,
lusting and judging, close and full of dread—
aye, there, on that darkened path…
that is where you can meet the one who
with all the lies of the world
and all the fears in your heart
will tempt you and deceive you and break you.

I do not believe this.
I meet that one everywhere.

The Devil at the Crossroads trope is a persistent and imaginative theme in western literature and this poem came out of some pencil doodlings I was doing one day. But even as the poem developed, I knew its end truth: the demon is always me, my ego—and, in society—us, ours.

Thank you for reading When you walk alone. 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 New Hampshire one cold winter night. 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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I have, my love, but one wish

to live a life
in this world
worthy of you
in the next

Love transcends death, and lovers proceed united and bound through all the worlds of God. So it is I believe.

Thank you for reading I have, my love, but one wish. 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 bookshop somewhere in New York, NY. 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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And me, who could start an argument in an empty room

However old I live
I hope never to forget the grace
of cycling downhill at speed,
the slightest lean flying me around the curve.

And it’s just that: the merest happenstance of a twist,
the humble change of posture, the gift
to a life poorly ridden, yet ridden all the same.
It is bliss, I think, flying through another bend. Bliss.

This thought truly came to me one day as I was cycling downhill at 35 mph (55 kph) through a curve on one of our regular Sunday rides. Right after that, the road goes up, so I had plenty of slow time to remember the concept! 🙂

In the end, I thought, what a positive thing it is in life, to be able to change your posture, just a bit, and submit to what comes your way…

Thank you for reading And me, who could start an argument in an empty room. 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, Rhode Island. 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 music we sing together

Like an old phonograph wound down
I am living out of time,
an echo in the refrain of a song
I cannot now recall, but whose tune
grows wearier by the turn.

Our children though are modern.
They are billions of bits scattered on nets
and copied peer-to-peer
with no loss of resolution.
Do they really think
they can play like that forever?

Thank you for reading The music we sing together. 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, Rhode Island. 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 force in some known direction

I thought: day has night, and light, dark.
But what has time got? Silence?
Well if so then I am content,
for that is the vector of me:
stillness becoming silence becoming stillness…
in truth, it is all I ever wanted.

By training I am an engineer, so mathematical metaphors often sneak into my poetry. A vector is exactly as it is described in the poem, a force moving in a direction. Think of a wind blowing at 20 mph from the east—that is a vector.

Of all the spiritual verities, perhaps humility—it being a virtue unique to man—is the most essential. With such a posture, one can see the world as it is and not as it pretends to be.

Thank you for reading A force in some known direction. 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 Long Island, New York. 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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