Sunday, October 11, 2009

the land of me

The Land of Me

I wish I were the red balloon
Of a hurdy gurdy man
Whose little monkey set me free
To sail across the land

To places that I’ve never been
And times I’ll never see;
I’d float beyond this Isle of Man
And to the Land of Me.

A stranger to this foreign shore
Where one can think all day
About the things she wants to know
And what she wants to play,

My red heart would then swell with joy
To very nearly pop
As I pull my own strings along
And never, ever stop.

I’d float just where I want to go
Without a hand to hold
And sail away on fresher air
Than I ever breathed of old.


  1. Awesome! I'll be a blue balloon and we can see the whole freakin' world from above. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Blessings, dear poet-friend!

  2. I'm not big on red so I'll tie my green baloon to Marion's cuz with her skinny ass she has float to spare. What shall we eat on our journey. Oops! just realized, if we come along, you haven't escaped us at all. Shoot! now what? Marion-help! ~rick

  3. Rick, you're a dream hitcher so we can be us in the land of poetry, right Karen? I may frame that skinny ass comment. Ha! (Going for my scissors) Karen, I'm sure between the two of us we can come up with enough hot air to keep the Rickster afloat, ya think? Silly boy....

  4. Marion and Rick - I'd love to have some company, and I think we can even let you come along, as long as you promise not to tell us how to fly! And Rick, I'm gonna drag out my old skinny pics if you'll make comments like that about me!

  5. This makes me smile--a lovely poem.

  6. Karen, do post a picture of the young you! I love my old beach/hippie girl photo. It reminds me of who I still am inside and the dreams I still hold close to my heart. Blessings---

  7. Hi, Karen,
    A lilting ode to freedom, if ever I saw one. I was enchanted.

  8. Delightful poem and commentary on freedom, Karen. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to float along unfettered and get a bird's eye view of earth.

    Perfect beginning that "pulls" us along...

    I wish I were the red balloon
    Of a hurdy gurdy man
    Whose little monkey set me free
    To sail across the land

    It does seem, as though, "ME" is a foreign land sometimes - one that we hardly get to explore. Too much of the time, we are being held by the hurdy gurdy man. (Thank God for the monkey)

    And I love the last two lines. I have often wondered if present day humans could even breath the fresh air of long ago...without all the pollutants and emissions? It would probably kill us!!

  9. Good one! Cries out to be set to music.

  10. Karen, I love the image, the story and the depiction of real freedom - "As I pull my own strings along".
    The apparent simiplicity of a child's rhyme which has been translated to resonate, I suspect, with all of us. Really liked it.

  11. I absolutely love this Karen!
    I think all of us would love to float to The Land of Me and just be free, even if it's only for a short time. Beautifully written!

  12. It would be delicious to see where the winds take us.

  13. Hi Karen,

    I can hear a delicate voice singing this one. It has a quality that spans generations, too. An excellent 'coming of age' poem.

  14. "As I pull my own strings along" - marvelous. I wondered at first whether being in the Land of Me might be more uncomfortable than freeing - but your hopeful poem convinced me.

  15. An uplifting poem ! Ha ha!Enjoyed this , Karen.
    A real sense of escape and freedom but also facing up to yourself and the challenge that might be.I like that the little monkey set you free as he,surely, is trapped.It's funny when we think of balloons we always imagine a red one,don't we? I like the picture you have and my favourite line is'As I pull my own strings along'...Lovely, tanks ye!

  16. Very cute, but sad no less. I like how you hid the melancholy theme of wishing on something better by a very easy to relate to balloon's journeys. Well done!

  17. cheery! a poem that actually makes me feel good. what a wonderful thing!

  18. I see a children's book here. The illustrations would be fantastic! The seeming effortlessness of this belies its complexity.

  19. like the others, i hear this as much as i read it - soft, like a lullaby - and it strikes me that it's a trip you often take, to a place you(happily for us) send amazing letters from - beatuifully done!

  20. John - Much thanks.

    Chris - Thanks to you, too. We could use a little enchantment, huh?

    Kay - You've just given me the name of my first book: Thank God for the Monkey! I love it!!

    Dominic - I'm flattered at such a statement from a musician. Thank you.

    Titus - Thank you. From the comments here, I have come to believe that if wishes were true, the sky might be full of balloons. I loved your take on the prompt, too.

    Margaret - Thank you. I think this is a land sorely neglected by its owners. We'd better make a point to visit more often, don't you think?

    Jason - Agreed.

    Jeanne Iris - Thank you - maybe it's for the kid in all of us, or for the grownups we have inside the child. Coming of age - thank you.

    Sandra Leigh - Welcome, and thank you for your comment on the poem and especially those lines. I'll have to admit, they're my favorites of the poem. I look forward to reading your poem, too.

    TFE - First, thanks for the inspiration. Thanks, too, for your kind words. I truly worried that this might be a little too elementary for everyone's tastes, but you know, I write what I have to write! Interesting observation about the red balloon. I never thought about it, but I think you're right. I wonder why? I'm glad you mentioned the monkey. I love that poor little guy! Thanks, too, for letting me hitch a ride on your bus.

    kondratas - Thank you very much.

    swiss - Welcome, and thank you. I'm glad to make you smile.

    Kat - I've been imagining that same book, page by page. If only I knew an illustrator! Thanks for confirming what I've been thinking.

    joaquin - What a nice thing to say! I do seem to go off alone a lot in my poems - and in my mind, I guess. Thank you for letting me send letters home.

  21. Have you seen "UP"... this is Sooo "UP".

    I fell so madly in love in with the movie. It was as good as 'Monsters, Inc.' I too would love to tie my house to a thousand balloons and just fly away to wherever the wind shall take me.

    Alas, I'm sure some silly ass fighter jet of some concerned nation would shoot me down before then. Maybe I should fit in some bazookas in my flying house.

  22. Leave a trail to this unseen land of me. I may like to visit someday.

  23. Oh, this is just perfectly whimsical and filled with that most intimate of longings. It touched a chord with me, Karen. And I do think poetry can be the "Land of Me." Where else can we be so free and wandering?

    I wish I were the red balloon
    Of a hurdy gurdy man
    Whose little monkey set me free
    To sail across the land

    This is the most delightful opening to a poem I've read in a long, long time. And yet, touched with melancholy, as all true wishes are.

    I love your red balloon. I always enjoy seeing where it takes us...

  24. I love the idea of pulling my own strings long. Very good

  25. I love pieces like this, so rhythmic and lilting. Yes, needs music for definite. I'm struggling with one of Rachel's at the moment but I reckon this one would be a lot easier.

  26. Ani - I haven't seen "Up!" but I've heard great things about it. I, of course, was off doing something responsible while my husband and grandson went to see it. See what I mean? I need to let go!!!

    TWM - Come along! I think you just follow your heart...

    Sarah - I can imagine that with young children and a husband, along with a writing schedule, it isn't easy for you to find time for "me". I understand totally why it strikes a chord.

    Writing has given me back to myself. Even if I don't recognize me anymore! ;-)
    Thank you!

    Emerging Writer - Me, too - on pulling my own strings. It seems that most of us really can't do that. Thank you for visiting.

    Argent - Thank you! That means a great deal, coming from a musician.

  27. Oh Karen, this makes me want to take you by the hand and run off to some wonderful adventure! What a carefree childlike romp we could have.

  28. Delightfully playful! I imagine this in a children's book.
    Click here for my poem please (Sorry, my Google account is not connected to my blog.)

  29. Cat - Thanks for finding time to make the trip over here. I think we two could have great adventures! I'm ready; are you?

    Gel - How nice to see you again! Where on earth have you been? Well, maybe I'll find out when I head over to your place. I'm so glad to hear from you again!

  30. First thought...your poem instantly makes me think of The Red Balloon, which I love! Second thought...the language of your poem also makes me think of e.e. cummings and his goat footed balloon man, which I also love. There are so many lively phrases that stand out in the poem, like "hurdy gurdy man" and "Land of Me." How nice it would be to stay in the Land of Me for one day! I love the fact that the little monkey is the one who set the "me" free! What a fun, beautiful poem. You rock, sister!

    And a big congratulations on "Bebelplatz." It is, of course, excellent. It's also great to see your pretty face. Your students are so fortunate to have such an intelligent and caring educator.

    I was searching around this morning and came across this site: You may already know it, but just in case. It's called WV Writers, Inc. if the link doesn't show. It looks like they have great information about classes, groups, writing events and contests in West Virginia. I don't know anything about it...just stumbled upon it. But it looks interesting.

  31. Karen, how delightful this is and how uplifting, in many ways... I love it! :-)

    Congratulations on your poem appearing in Gangway #39! And what a pleasure to see you, my friend. :-)


  32. I've seen you now! Yay!!

    A beautiful photo, Karen--you have such a warm smile. It's great to match the real world you to the one that's been inside my mind. :)

    And the poem is a stunner. I remember it well.

    Congratulations, my friend!!!

  33. Came over from Rick. Bounce Bloggin' to keep myself awake.

    There was a movie about a Red Balloon that we watched every year in grade school on one of those old reel to reels that went clickity clack all the through the film. As I recall, there were no words. I haven't thought about that movie in a long time. Thanks for the memory.

    I love the image of pulling your own string...finding fresher air.

  34. Julie - I love evoking memories of old beloved works. I love both of those, myself. Sometimes I write something and then think: Did I think that up? I even went looking for The Red Balloon to make sure I didn't plagiarize!

    Kaye said, "Thank God for the monkey." I think that's a great line. I want to remember that, even though no one else will have any idea what I'm talking about! That's okay, they probably don't most of the time, anyway. Ha, ha!

    Thanks for looking at and for your comment on Gangway. (For the longest time, I thought it was Gangplank - a totally different matter!) I was really surprised when I heard from them.

    I am a member of WV Writers, but I have yet to find the time to attend any of their functions. I really wanted to go to the summer workshop, but I was in Paris - oh, dear! Paris or WV Writers? It really was a hard choice!

    Thanks for all your kind words and continued support, Julie. It means more than you can know.

    Vesper - Thank you so much! I think you're one of the women who really knows what I mean by this poem! I wonder if men feel the same way? Thanks for going to Gangway!

    Sarah - I can't help but wonder how you pictured me! I'm old enough to be your mother; I know that much. (Which just goes to show that sometimes our mothers think of things we'd never imagine they could! Ha!) Thank you for your always supportive and uplifting comments.

    Wine and Words - Welcome! I hope I helped you stay awake this day. That Rick! He's something -- trying to horn in on my solo flight. I almost relented to let him go, but I don't know...

    I'm glad to remind you of The Red Balloon. Please come back by sometime.

  35. I think I need to come join you and my sis Cat! Oh to have so much fun and float like a red balloon overseeing all the joyful things below.

    See, Karen, you have this magical way of bringing out the child within...


  36. Dear Karen,

    You're poem is spiritual and liberating.
    I feel the desire to release my true self
    and love after reading this poem.


  37. Hi Karen,
    I was delighted you visited and you can read my reply in that comment thread. As a stressful 2009 nears an end, I'm delighted to be up and running full blast.(I have dearly missed the camaraderie from sharing writing.) I even added you to my blogroll, something I need to build from scratch!

    -gel This is my new writing & photography blog address

  38. One more thought for you, my published friend! I just read the exciting news in your side bar about your poem! WHOHOOOOOOOOOOOO! That is well-deserved and I'm clapping for you. "blue thinker's sky"- love the entire piece and no wonder we connect. I used to work in special ed.... BTW, you look FABULOUS!


  39. Actually, you look much like I imagined. I pictured you with brown hair, soft eyes, and a very warm smile.

    But you do not look old enough to be a Grandma! ;)

    If my kids could see my thoughts sometimes...well, wait. Hang on for a minute. They'll likely read my blog someday!


  40. What a wonderful piece of work! lovely

  41. Cute and a beaming smile, thank you for that.)

  42. Fantastic way to speak of being free with a red balloon.

  43. Calli - Come on! We'll have a whole skyful of us! Wouldn't that be a delightful sight?

    Marie - Up, up, and away! Showing how my age here. ;-)

    Gel - Thanks for the congrats and for visiting. I'm glad you're back and hope this year will be a better one for you. You were one of my first blogfriends! It's good to know you're still here!

    Sarah - I'm smiling at the blog comment. For all I talk about "keeping secrets", I know there's NOTHING private once it's released into Cyberspace - and nothing disappears. I do, though, have a fear that someday, everything in Cyberspace will be sucked into a black hole and we'll be left with a huge gap in our knowledge. Ooh! That sounds like the germ of an idea! Hmmm...

    Glynis - Thank you, dearest.

    Selchie/Sarah - You're so nice. Thank you.

    Quackster - Thank you, my friend.

  44. Thanks, Cherie. Nice to see you're out and about! Hope you're feeling better.

  45. Such a refreshing, morning poem!

  46. "I’d float just where I want to go
    Without a hand to hold"

    Makes me want to float too!

    Lovely poem.

  47. Oh, this is sweet! I'd love to see it in an anthology for children.

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. About the above-removed comment: I'll learn to use the "Preview" button!

    Rick - Welcome, and thank you!

    Miladysa - I think there's a bunch of us! Welcome, and thanks.

    RW - Thanks, Rachel. I keep seeing this illustrated. How I wish I could do that!