Tag Archives: loving

Just what time is it, anyway?

Silence is neither always good nor bad,
but it is what clings to you in the night.
My wife has stumbled into settled slumber,
a rational thing to do I’d agree, but still,
here I am, bone weary, too drained to go and join her.

The continent this night turned their clocks
upside down and backside front, and—
convinced as I was to connive in the madness—
I think that explains me now: I was supposed
to fall back and apparently I did,
because whatever time it is, it’s too late for me now.

Find your voice. Rejoice. Pray and listen.
Grab wisdom and don’t be stupid.
I went to bed.

This poem is only a slightly edited version of a posting at my friend, T.’s blog SpeakListenPrayDon’tBeStupid…a blog name that, you must agree, demands love. The post was entitled Find Your Voice! Find Your Voice! And Listen… and it was such a fine read that I asked him if I could write it into a poem.

OK, truthfully, I actually just wrote the poem and asked for forgiveness after, but that’s sort of the same thing. In any event, T. said yes. I love his tag line (it is italicized in the poem), especially the straight up, “don’t be stupid.”

Thank you for reading Just what time is it, anyway? 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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The irony of elemental questions

Water flows where bid, willingly;
fire warms all, indiscriminately;
stone endures, patiently;
but this is not me, consistently.
And you?

There it is again in force,
that despite all this, it is us ‘we’ they say
who are the worthiest of reflections.
Yet gifts beg choices, as well we know—
how does the old trope go?
What a piece of work are we?
Close enough.

This poem pairs five elements with five virtues but more importantly notes that the elements are more worthy of their nature because they remain true to it.

Intended as an homage to, and to explore the nature of one of my favorite quotes, The irony of elemental questions is really only a pale and poor imitation of that original quote which is, truthfully, far more perfect than anything I could ever write:

They should conduct themselves in such manner that the earth upon which they tread may never be allowed to address to them such words as these: “I am to be preferred above you. For witness, how patient I am in bearing the burden which the husbandman layeth upon me. I am the instrument that continually imparteth unto all beings the blessings with which He Who is the Source of all grace hath entrusted me. Notwithstanding the honor conferred upon me, and the unnumbered evidences of my wealth—a wealth that supplieth the needs of all creation—behold the measure of my humility, witness with what absolute submissiveness I allow myself to be trodden beneath the feet of men….” —Bahá’u’lláh

Thank you for reading The irony of elemental questions. 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

PS: forgive the mangled quote from Shakespeare. I really can’t help myself.

© 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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True lessons

Dad! said Aaron (he’s five),
I bet I can beat you to the grocery store door!
What’s the use? I laughed, preparing,
knowing exactly what was written in the moment.
You always—WIN!

And on that ‘win,’ I dashed and he dashed
and in all that dashing together
the simple difference in our heights
added up to a tragic occurrence:
his fist smashed me in my crotch.

Calming him down afterward was the second hardest part,
It’s OK, hon, it was only an accident…
I’ll be able to breathe in a minute.

Which just goes to show you that,
1) you don’t always know what is written in the moment,
and that, 2) you’d do it all over again.
(But not so hard, and please God, not so soon.)

Sad to say, but this is a true story which played out exactly as I have described it. I hesitated posting it as I very rarely try to be funny in poetry.

Thank you for reading True lessons. 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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The quilt

Fashioned from the multicolored, tattered, rag-ends of cloth,
the tiny, odd little pieces are sewn on the straight seam—
shifted, spun, moved about and fitted—
stitch by stitch, patch by patch,
the pattern repeated over the larger whole.

A quilter is a lover who sees not the plan but the fact
and slowly calls the dream forth from naught
but the meanest scraps of nothingness,
binding them together so that in the end
it grows to wrap the whole earth around, safe,
as it sleeps in the arms of eternity.

A very dear Bahá’í friend was ill for several years suffering from debilitating migraines. During the illness she still managed, with her mother’s help, to produce a stunningly beautiful quilt into which she poured the emotional experience of being so sick. I was particularly drawn to the small reflective circles that she had scattered into the design to designate the explosions of light that would go on in her head when the migraines were at their worst.

For the first time in my life I contemplated just how hard making a quilt must be—working from the simplest of elements to bring forth objects of beauty. It is hard work requiring patience, planning and a sense of assurance that by the end of the project the design while meet the vision. A thing I call ‘faith.’

Thank you for reading The quilt. 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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