Tag Archives: nature

The ride


When first she put her leg over the motorcycle
and clung to the rat bastard’s back…
when first she felt the thrum of the engine
and felt that surge when he gunned it…
when first she threw herself all in,
giddy with knowing that this was it—that this, just this—
this was what she had wanted all along…
even then, knowing that the crash was sure to come,
knowing that she would break everything she had to break,
knowing that she would lose everything she had to lose and more…
even then, knowing all of this from the start,
the anticipation was awesome,
just awesome.

A person’s life choices are never anything to comment on or to judge because life and its decisions are so personal and none of us are perfect. But trying to tease apart the process, to understand how it is that we drive ourselves and how we face the world…to do that is universally human, and I trust, forgivable.

Thank you for reading The ride, and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph is entitled Swing! and was taken at my home in Putnam, CT. It is the rotating pendulum going all a whirligig at the bottom of a clock. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


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.


Filed under Poetry

Every truth

How much movement is there
in the stillness of a heron?
How much movement in the water below?
Heron and fish—stillness and movement,
how these lovers lead the other
in their perfect little dance
of need and surrender.

Listen, this is true:
I have sat praying,
knowing that anything I desired
could be mine,
if only I would deign not to wish it;
every truth is a paradox,
but no truth is a lie.

I drive an hour each day to and from work, with much of the journey being through rural Connecticut. There is one small lake that I pass that, for an entire season, an egret was using for its nesting and feeding. Every day I would look to catch a glimpse of it fishing and often reflected on its sense of patience and purpose. And while that scene and my meditations are the obvious source for the first part of the poem, the source for the second part is more difficult to explain.

Prayer is transformative, a creative act by and for the person saying the prayer. It is not that it is wrong to say a prayer asking for a specific outcome; it is wrong to say a prayer that is contingent on a specific outcome. God tests mankind, not the other way around. The more of the sense of control over our lives that we give up, the more we are actually in control of what matters in our lives.

And while that is a paradox, it is, I think, no lie.

Thank you so much for reading Every truth. 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.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem, either alone or with the notes that accompany it, may be printed and distributed—in part or amalgamated with other works—as long as the copyright notice and the address, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com, are also clearly printed with it and there is no fee charged.


Filed under Poetry