Tag Archive | grief; writing; literature; blogging; poems

Crazy World



It is a crazy world and we are all a little crazy. The older I become, the more obvious the insanity becomes. I remember calm and organized days in which I carefully mapped out the day’s activities with precise calculation. Those days lay buried beneath a two feet stack of philosophical theories ranging from Kant to Zizek. To the right of that stack lays a pile of newspapers with random marks highlighting certain passages, longing to cling to some type of memory. Teetering dangerously close to the edge of the room-sized desk, a stack of Jane Austen novels appear, just begging to share its own philosophical perspective. And peering from beneath Jane Austen, a tattered corner of Homer’s mystifying account of wars and heroes whose bones have long since turned to dust. Perched atop the growing stacks of knowledge is the Tibetan Book of the Dead, reminding me that although death is inevitable, absolute oblivion is impossible. And there above the chaos hangs a photo of my beloved.


The more cluttered my mind becomes, the more I drift from the shore that keeps me safe. Photos surround me; photos of children whose childhoods remain permanently etched into the canvas of time. Televised accounts of the simplest things knock me from my perch of avoidance. I stay immersed in work so that my mind seldom has time to remember a time when there were moments for stolen kisses or much needed hugs. Just when I think I have completely forgotten what a kiss feels like, I will catch a glimpse of two lovers in a movie. I cry. I cry because I remember being kissed just because someone loved me. I cry because I know I will never be kissed again. tears


My days of organized plans are long gone. My life has become a series of chaotic moments drowned in the ugly reality of survival. I am tired. I fight the moments in which I want to surrender. I know that surrendering is not an option. I trudge forward because I made a promise. I miss moments with embraces in the moonlight; I miss shared kisses and hugs; I miss the feeling of knowing someone loves me simply because I am me; I miss returning to a house where so much laughter filled it that it became a home; I miss feeling safe; I miss feeling as though I matter; but most of all, I miss you.


Through it all, I put my smile on each morning to appease everyone. I know that each person I meet has his or her own heartache with which to contend. They certainly do not need to see mine.


I am beyond tired-I am exhausted and during those rare moments when I entertain how wonderful it would be to see you right now, I drift and wonder if my punishment will ever permit me to go home. It is a crazy world and we are all a little crazy and the longer I have to stay, the more I want to leave…the more I want you to hold me once again and whisper that you love me too.


©2013 Relinda R.


Shakespeare and Things Part II

Shakespeare and Things Part II

      I just finished my reading assignments for British Literature II. I read selected poems of “Voices from World War I.” Once again, I dug through the layered cobwebs of my mind finding traces of memories there. The poems revealing the hypocrisies of the Church during war and the atrocities of battle made me remember a poem I read when I was nine years old—“Conscientious Objector” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I remember reading that poem for the first time and thinking it must be the most beautiful poem ever written. I kept a shoebox with tokens from my childhood and cut that poem out of my fourth grade Literature book to place in my precious cache of memories. (No, I did not deface a book belonging to the school. My fourth grade teacher saw something in me that encouraged her to give me her teacher’s edition of the book). I still have that book. I still love that teacher. There was something mysterious attracting me to Millay’s words. I probably never heard of Shakespeare at nine years of age, but Millay was a poetry goddess in my developing mind.

     Finding that memory in my mind makes me smile. A little girl who did not yet understand the concept of patriotism or war was fascinated with a poem opposing the idea of killing. I later believed that I should be ashamed for loving that poem. I remember a junior high school teacher telling me that the poem was bad. I remember how crushed I felt. That poem was a catalyst to my love of literature and someone I respected was telling me that I should be ashamed. I questioned my literary taste and my own sense of morals. Every time I was attracted to a poem or prose, I wondered if I was a bad person. I questioned my own instincts.

     It took many years for me to bury the emotions I experienced when I believed my love of literature was a mistake. I found those emotions today. There, among rotting paper dolls and dead roses, lay crushed dreams, but they were still alive. I will pull those crushed dreams from that corner of my mind and breathe new life into them. It took a group of dead poets to highlight the expedition in my mind. Our quest was to save dying dreams. Those same dead poets also helped me to find the memory of an excited little cotton-topped girl discovering a love for poetry. If one confusing painful memory preserves a beautiful memory that makes me who I am—then I will strike down the cobwebs with Excalibur and retain both.


          I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death.

          I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.

          He is in haste; he has business in Cuba, business in the Balkans,

          many calls to make this morning.

          But I will not hold the bridle while he clinches the girth.

          And he may mount by himself: I will not give him a leg up.

          Though he flick my shoulders with his whip, I will not tell him

          which way the fox ran.

          With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where the black boy hides in the swamp.

          I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his pay-roll.

          I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends nor of my enemies either.

          Though he promise me much, I will not map him the route to any man’s door.

          Am I a spy in the land of the living, that I should deliver men to Death?

          Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me; never through me

          Shall you be overcome.

                                                                                                                                                              ~Edna St. Vincent Millay


     Millay’s poem is still beautiful to me. I wonder if Shakespeare cringed when he read Millay’s “Conscientious Objector” or Wilfred Owen’s satirical stance “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” I think not. I think he probably glowed a little because he knew that he had inspired a love for literature in these authors. Well, glow a little more and walk even a little prouder, Mr. Shakespeare, because you have inspired many through the years. Even I am finding all the places you hide within the crevices of my mind. How sweet it is to find you there.

Shakespeare and Things

Shakespeare and Things

     It is phenomenal that a person can plug a Shakespeare quote into almost any situation to offer some philosophical perspective. That is easy. A person can also find almost any critical viewpoint to support his or her own thoughts on a subject. That requires time, but with the magic world of Internet, it is a simple task. True challenge only surfaces when one tries to express his or her own opinion. That is beyond the grasp of a “Google” bar or a database. Delving within the crevices of one’s mind to find the words to express an emotion or an experience requires more than merely time—it requires digging through volumes of memories, cobwebs of forgotten moments and forming a thought that is born separate from whatever the dominant paradigm of an era screams.

     The mind is an odd thing indeed. It is so much more than a mechanical motherboard of chips and processors. It is a gift. I look into my mind, I find something hidden behind a cobweb, and I think, “Now, how the hell did that get there?” I do not recollect putting it there, so, who put it there?

     I wonder what Shakespeare saw in his mind. I wonder if there were cobwebs of forgotten moments that occurred before he was even born. In addition, what of Shakespeare’s mind. Is one mind capable of producing the multitude of wisdom he shared? I do not know if Shakespeare’s profound wisdom was his alone or if it was a multitude of voices working together to sketch a plan that would describe any situation imaginable to man. Funny—I can think of many literary gems that make me wonder that exact thing. I dig through my mind, but I cannot find answers. Does it mean that I am an idiot because my next thought is who posed that unforgettable inquiry about why men have nipples.

     I dug through my mind once and found paper dolls dancing freely and falling in love. I found a memory of kisses healing wounds and nice dreams always coming true. I was searching for words to express my grief and instead I found paper dolls withering, tattered and drenched, rotting away within some dark recess of my mind. Who put those rotting dolls there? Who would dare to kill paper dolls?

     Another time as I was digging through years of experience, I heard a beautiful voice reminding me that I was once loved. The voice grew faint as voices of emptiness and solitude drowned it out. I thought I was experiencing some profound epiphany, but then I recalled that when slumber consumes my consciousness and washes over the forgotten memories and the cobwebs, I feel traces of love. I remembered that within the embrace of slumber, little pieces of a rainbow drip upon my heart like warm wax dripping from a burning candle. Sadly, I also remembered that consciousness cruelly tears the rainbow pieces into even smaller shreds and thrusts them upon the flames of darkness. Whoever shoved rotting paper dolls into the recesses of my mind must have also put rainbows and candles in there to keep me alert.

     While I do not expect to find words as elegant as those within Shakespeare’s mind in my own, I like to explore my mind periodically to see if I can find my own words and thoughts. Digging through the volumes of memories, cobwebs of forgotten moments and forming thoughts born solely of my own experiences is a challenging process. Sometimes, I find things I never knew existed. Sometimes, I rediscover things that were lost. Periodically, I discover things that should have stayed covered in dust. Occasionally, I find things like rotting paper dolls and dead roses and wonder how they got there.

     The best part of digging through an eternity of memories is seeing my children when they were babies. We were still laughing and the paper dolls were still alive and dancing. Roses are blooming everywhere and Doyle is still there. I am comforted when I see that death has not touched those memories and no one else has shoved anything into that part of my mind.


           Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased;

          Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow;

          Raze out the written troubles of the brain;

          And, with some sweet oblivious antidote,

          Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff

          Which weighs upon the heart?



     There is even a unicorn grazing there in my mind. I remember putting it there. Fed and exercised properly, the mind can be a phenomenal thing. It is a gift. Regardless of whether I put things into my mind or someone like Death snuck into my mind while I slept and shoved stuff in there, things live there—happy things, sad things and even angry things. (Even ugly rotting paper dolls). I can find all the Shakespearean quotes and search the Internet for validation, but the things that live in my mind are the most challenging and rewarding things for which to search. I would love to pluck rooted sorrow from my memory, but then I risk losing my children’s laughter, Doyle’s love, blooming roses, rainbows and my unicorn. I will leave the sorrowful things there with the happy, but I will mount my trusty unicorn, brandish Excalibur and let my mind know that “I am the captain of my soul” (Henley).


The Spring

The Spring

     As I gazed upon the vivid colors of the sunflower blooms, I recalled your laughter in the spring. Do you remember how we laughed while we worked in our gardens filled with the magic of spring? I do. I remember the time it started raining while we dug in the earth with our bare hands. We were so filthy with the soil that turned to mud, but it smelled like the dry earth after a spring shower. What a lovely scent that was. I think we even danced around in the rain that day, laughing as though we did not have a worry in the world. Do you remember dancing with me?

The mosaic artwork on the legs of this chair reminded me of the year we worked so diligently on our patio. We called it our little paradise. We joked that our beautiful wall of stones had our blood, sweat, and tears in its layers. We literally spent every moment we could building a place we could spend our golden years. Do you remember King Arthur, our first hummingbird? I saw him this past June. I think he sensed things were different this summer. The honeybees never came.

The spot that you had marked for the water fountain is still there. Our little puppy girl spent a lot of time lying in that very spot. She would lie in the sun as though she were working on a tan. I buried her on July 26. Did you see how strong I was as I placed the dirt over her lifeless body? I put her pink blanket over the top of her because I could not bear to put dirt on her beautiful fur. I believe she is at peace. Did you happen to see her?

Do you remember how we could not wait for spring just to see all our beautiful plants come to life? We often sat at the patio talking, sometimes just in silence, drinking in all the beauty that nature had to offer. The fairy rosebush that you got for me was covered in blooms last May. I was very careful as I cut the grass behind it. Did you see how big it has grown? The daisies that I loved never bloomed. It was as though they just could not grow. I saw them peeping from the dirt, but it seemed they were lacking the strength to battle life. Do you remember how I loved the bright red one? The different shades of red just called out to me. It was like all the joy and pain of life was just blended together in that red hue.

These blooms I gaze upon remind me of how beautiful our little paradise used to be. It was not so beautiful this past summer. The weeds kept breaking free from the soil and choking out the beautiful blooms of the flowers we had planted together. I struggled to keep all those weeds out, but in the end, they won. There was a day in June that I worked from dawn to dark just pulling those cursed weeds. I put some more tears and sweat into the layers of stone as I worked in the hot sun. The weeds just seemed to mock me. I finally gave up. There was no laughing on that long, hot day. Did you notice me?

The water well that you built still lacks a top. I remember how you had it all scoped out in your mind. You had the holes for the beams all dug, and the plans for the draw bucket on the table. I am considering filling up the holes now. I remember that I had been gone when you built that and it was the first thing I saw as I drove up. What I remember most is the look of pride in your eyes as you watched for my reaction. Did you see the pride in my eyes? It may have been hard to see past all the love I felt for you.

There is no doubt these sunflowers remind me of all the many spring seasons we spent together. It also reminds me of your vegetable garden that you worked so hard on. Do you remember how frustrated you felt when the deer kept eating all your vegetables? Even with all your frustration, you managed to smile when I told you the deer had to eat too. I remember how hard you studied trying to find a natural way to deter them from your bounty. All that just so I would not worry about the deer starving. I know you were laughing on the inside because you knew the deer had plenty to eat, without intruding on your garden. Do you still smile when you think of that?

The roses I am gazing upon bring tears to my eyes. It makes me remember the year you brought me so many rosebushes home to plant. They were so beautiful. I remember how one of the red rosebuds bloomed last November. It was perfect while the plant’s limbs were hideous in comparison. Just one single rose amidst all the frozen plants. Our daughter asked me why that one bud bloomed that way. I told her that it was a sign. It was good news for her daddy, but it would be the most devastating news for us. I was right. That was the last bloom you ever got to see in our little paradise. Now, you are in your own paradise. I buried you just before Christmas. I believe you are at peace. And I believe that there are beautiful sunflowers and roses of all colors surrounding you every day. Our little paradise is dead now, the flowers have all died, but I still sit at our patio, in silence, waiting for just one sign. If I close my eyes, I can hear your laughter from our last spring together. I miss you.