Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Dark

Two children,
who should have
been in bed already,
strain to know
what darkness
lies beyond
the open door.

Still whole,
they push
toward the sight,
while their mother's
stalwart body
shields them
for a moment
from the night.


  1. So much said in so few words. This is what childhood curiosity vs. maternal angst is all about. If only we could keep that door shut for just one more day, so as to savor that amazing innocence.

  2. This is a beautfiully delicate portrayal. They push and we shield. The "for a moment" is bittersweet for me!

  3. I love this...what a delicate, yet pivotal, moment in childhood. Curiosity clashing against protection. They will have their peek, and their mother's body will never seem as stalwart again.

    What a magnificent drawing, too. Such a perfect accompaniment for your beautiful and subtle portrayal, Karen.

  4. The guarded and guardian - each role has its fear and angst, its joy and heartbreak. This poem is perfect in its brevity and implicit understanding of the mother and child relationship. A lovely, lovely rendering of one of the most essential chapters in life.

    We both posted yesterday and both have the words - for a moment - prominently in our poems!

  5. As a mother I feel the truth in this.

  6. Cat - Yes, as mothers we would like to hold the door for a little longer. So many times I've wished I could do just that. :(

    Jennifer - The moment is gone before you are aware of its passing, and it is, indeed, bittersweet.

    Sarah - You are right; this is a pivotal moment. These children are pushing and straining toward knowledge. Mother won't be able to protect them for long, and she'll never seem as strong again once they know...

    Kaye - I noticed those similarities. I've also noticed that when I get to someone's site, you've just posted before me. Invisible bonds, my dear friend.

    Thank you for calling this lovely. As we say in West Virginia, "takes one to know one!" ;)

  7. oh yeah, even dads an see the truth here....

  8. Very well done. I can relate on both levels. I like what you have to say and how you say it. Thanks for following my blog, I am returning the following

  9. I enjoyed this immensely the sense and image...

  10. Kudos! Sort, sweet, thought provoking and to the point. You are always worth the read to me. Thanks.

  11. Oh, what an awesome poem! Excellent work! I love the mystery. I can see the faces of the children and hear them as they try to creep through the dark door. Then the mother is there to shield them.

    I know the mother is shielding them from "the world" in a more symbolic sense, but my mind is also racing with a million stories as to what she doesn't want them to see in particular. Fantastic poem:)

  12. Colleen - Sorry I skipped you earlier. Grrr...this screen makes it hard to keep my answers straight! Thanks for stopping by. I'm going to check out your site in a few minutes. Thanks for your comments.

    laughingwolf - I'm curious. Do you mean that a dad feels the need to protect, or do you mean that a dad recognizes the mother's protectiveness?

    Hi, Linda - Thanks for stopping by and commenting. This writing community has been a great addition to my life. I enjoy your site; welcome to mine.

    George - Thanks for stopping by. I'm going to your place, too.

    Jules - Glad you're back on line! Thanks for the comments.

    Julie - You know, I started this idea with the particular and went to the general. You're the only one who has expressed that there might be a story behind the story.

    I just shake my head when you compliment my work. You? You, RachelW, and K.Lawson Gilbert are the tops of the tops. I feel humbled that you even read me. Thanks, my friend.

  13. Fascinating picture and a poem I very much enjoyed reading.

  14. I love these two words: "Still whole" that encapsulates the experience - their concern at being ripped apart by whatever lies beyond the door, looming in the darkness. This one taps into my own deep-seated fears of things that go bump in the night. Great stuff! (Actually, I'm revisiting Henry James's novel, The Turn of the Screw in my mind.)


  15. It’s so hard to see the kids grow so quickly up and some day take off into the world. We (parents) will never be really sure they are ready… you captured it so beautifully.

  16. Dave - I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I always look forward to hearing from you.

    Kat - I think the words "still whole" are key here, too. So many things await children outside the door, things that can break them and take away their wholeness. Wouldn't we love to protect that part of them and that part of us? I love the jump off to James!

    Alexandra - Thanks for coming by. You're absolutely right about our concerns for our children. Do we always see them as children?

  17. Don't we all want to know
    what darkness
    lies beyond
    the open door

    and how blessed is this feeling of having someone to protect us from the dark... If only we could be children again...

    Beautiful poem, Karen! The drawing is intriguing...

  18. Hi, Vesper - You are so right; even as adults, we know there's darkness beyond...and it would be such a relief sometimes if we were protected from it. The painting is James Whistler's A Doorway in Venice. I think there's a strange beauty to it.

  19. hi karen, have you been losing followers, too?

    many of us have, i've lost six i know of :(

  20. laughingwolf - I don't know if I've lost any followers. I'm still pleasantly surprised every time someone makes a comment. I didn't get many comments on this poem, but I'm not surprised by that.

    I've been trying to limit my blogging. It can consume so much time that I find I'm not doing other things that need doing. Maybe that's what's happening with others -- after a long winter, maybe they live where they can get outside.

    I love the informative and funny posts you put up. Don't stop!

  21. it's absolutely beautiful.

    a deep tinge of sadness though.. like i understand.. a scene from my own life..

    a little like my own earlier writings in my grief journal.

    (from Reflections)

  22. Silver - I just got back here to see your comment. Thank you so much for stopping by. I've been looking at your site (with all the recipes and beautiful pictures).
    I'm sorry to hear that you have had such sad experiences. This one was actually inspired by something that happened to a dear friend. So sad and recent that I can hardly think of it.