Saturday, June 16, 2007

A little help over here?

I spent tonight looking for a poem... heh, see if I ever do that again. I have to say, in HS, literature was my least favorite genre, and of all literature, I hated poetry the most. Odd it is, then, when I see a question on jeopardy like "This creeps in on little cat feet" and immediately know not only the answer, which is of course a question, but the title, the poet, and where the poet lived. Carl Sandburg stuck in my mind for some reason, even though I never at all appreciated his poems. Not until I found one tonight... I'll come to that.

I am facing a decision (aren't we always?) that I don't want to make. And so I think of Robert Frost's poem about two roads in a wood diverging. The only problem is that this poem doesn't mean what people think it means. The last lines, at any rate, read

Two roads diverged in a wood and I
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

It sounds like one road was not commonly taken but the poem gives the impression that both roads were equally worn. I see myself at a fork in the road, you could say. Pocahontas would say, "Why do all my dreams extend, just around the riverbend?" But this is no river... I'm peering, no I've even begun down a path that is dark, gloomy, treacherous. I imagine the ground beneath me to be a darkness that climbs up my legs. The trees and branches cross my path and I cannot see them, they brush me leaving streaks of red behind. I keep going... and the canopy overhead blocks the moon and the stars. How utterly alone I feel. I can hear two voices ahead of me... one says, I don't want you to come this way. The other says, I want you to come, but if the path is too difficult, I understand.

What sort of an idiot walks down that path? Who wants me to come, and why? If you want me to come then what I need, need, is some support on that path, not an excuse for turning around. As things are now, I see no light at the end... hope is all but extinguished. Each step forward leaves me wondering if the droplets on my face are blood, or are they tears? Or are they all mixed beyond distinction into yet another... despair. I can't do it alone... I won't.

Then I cry, and the pain turns into anger, the anger into fear, and the fear into pain again. And I cry again. And then I reach out for poetry. And all the stupid poems I can find are love poems. What is up with that?

Is it worth it? I want to know, if it is, someone please tell me it is. So far, nobody has. Emily Dickinson called hope a subtle glutton. Hm. She also wrote

You cannot put a fire out;
A thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a fan
Upon the slowest night.

You cannot fold a flood
And put it in a drawer,--
Because the wind would find it out
And tell your cedar floor.

I challenge this poem, that I could fold my flood if I wanted to, and put out my fire. Do I want to, I ask? If it gets me off this bloody road, perhaps. It's such a lonely road. Everything will be alright if I don't make it down this road... so tell me why I'm on it again? Doesn't anyone know?

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