Monday, May 18, 2009

The Old Wound

The old wound pulls

me back and back,

tugs me a salt-filled ache

into the blood and mud

and mist, the smell of sulfur

and the blueblack metal dark,

always the dark.

I turn away my eyes,

turn my eyes away

unto the hills where comes

no peace, no peace I find,

only a scar, a darker lore,

extraordinary passions

and the wound.


  1. AH Karen......Walking with you on the dask side of a memory.....Beautifully done. I love your work. From Ain't got no more to The Old Wound...Incredible

  2. Beautiful... small, yet thudding into the heart... waiting for more! regards.

  3. Extraordinary passions and extraordinary writing. Particularly the effective use of repetition. fine.

  4. Karen, this is an amazing piece. The dark desire to go back into the past and explore those wounds, bring them into some kind of catharsis, and yet the shrinking back from that. The way you wove the words, just exquisite.

  5. I felt the pain of the wound while reading.

    Just brilliant Karen!

  6. It feels like a wound, and inspiration. Pain can be a curious inspiration.

  7. For some reason it made me think of Wuthering Heights and the moor. Then on second reading I thought about war...
    Thank you,


  8. Purification

    I squat by the pit
    filled with coals, ready to walk,
    to proove my freedom
    from the pain of things.
    You whisper to me the chant
    I must speak within
    my heart as I walk.
    I still myself. Coals glow red,
    so do my sore eyes.

  9. And we go there not lightly, you nor I...but, go there we must.

    Your words are salve for the (wonderful) wounds.

  10. I read this in the morning. But am unable to post comments to your blog from office. Some filter thingy.

    There is so much depth in those words. The second para just hung on to me the whole day.

  11. They do that, don't they? This is lovely... I really like the repetition of words, the rephrasing.

  12. Christopher's poem too, so darkly beautiful. Wow...

  13. Linda - Yes, the dark memories have their pull, too. Thank you for the nice words. I truly appreciate your comments.

    Arindam Dey - Welcome, and thanks for your kind comments. Do come back.

    Brosreview - Thank you for being such a faithful reader.

    Dave - Thanks for that.

    Cat - Yes, the pull and the repugnance at the same time - life is full of contradictions. It's like worrying a loose tooth as a child. You want it to be over, but somehow you can't leave it alone. Does that make any sense? I don't mean to sound masochistic. Not what I meant at all! LOL

    Margaret - Thank you. That's what poetry should do, so I'm happy with that!

    Jason - Yes, a huge contradiction...but maybe not...birth from pain. Makes sense to me.

    Sarah - I love the Wuthering Heights comparison -- one of my all-time favorite novels. If this made you think of that, I'm HAPPY!! Thanks, Sarah.

    Christopher - This is beautiful, a pull to an ancient time of proving. Thank you.

    Kaye - No, not lightly, but always... Thank you, friend.

    Ani - What are you doing on work time?? LOL Thanks for coming back! I'm glad it stayed with you, but sorry, too. It's not the sort of thing I'd wish on you!

    Rachel - Thank you for your comments on form. Yes, old least it's healed, not festered. Christopher is amazing, isn't he?

  14. "The salt-filled ache" that says it so well. This is excellent.


  15. The lament and depth of feelings so willingly expressed calls for the touch of understanding and the embrace of knowing. You are heard...

    Thank you for each 'secret' revealed.

    Rose Marie

  16. An impressive array of allusions, but allusions that don't lead where you expect, from Psalms - I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help - though no help is coming in this instance, to popular song lyrics - no peace I find just an old sweet song keeping things that you don't necessarily want in mind. I'm with Selchie on the war associations of the first stanza - blood and mud seems a perfect image of trench warfare, especially added to mist, sufur and the blueblack dark. It all adds up to a suggestion of a painful story without laying out exactly what's going on. Very nice.

  17. entirely thought provoking - I could tumble in this verse for days...

  18. a sad one.. but wonderfully done... :)

  19. Yikes! That's so good it hurts.

  20. Karen, "Extraordinary passions and a scar"
    this could not have had a more perfect ending!

  21. Karen, your range is amazing. Not long ago, I was laughing and tapping my feet to your last poem. Now you've got me thinking of so many things in my own life.

    This is an excellent piece. That first stanza has me sitting here with my jaw dropped. I love Cat's comment, too. How many times we have all wanted to revisit those old wounds to find some sort of catharsis. Instead, we often get pulled there and find a "salt-filled ache." A salt-filled ache is the best description I've ever read for how it feels to relive those old wounds. And the smell of sulfur! The blueblack metal dark! That entire stanza is absolutely...dang, I can't even think of a word to describe it other than WOW!

    Wonderful work. Excellent in so many ways. Thank you!!

  22. Kat - Thank you!

    Rose Marie - Even your comments are poetic! Thank you for that.

    Mairi - Mixed allusions leading to no help, no peace. I didn't actually think of the song but of this: "My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth..." hence the mixture of turning my eyes unto the hills and getting no peace. There is a back story here, but as you say, all poetry is metonymy.

    Jana - Thanks. I'm glad you felt it.

    Amal - Thank you for reading and commenting.

    Gerry - Thank you. I like that.

    jorc - Thank you for your comments. I want to get to your interview at Rachel's. (next on my list)

    Julie-Julie - I like the toe tapping better! Unfortunately, we're filled with those salt-filled aches if we're human. You've given me the greatest compliment yet - that I have you thinking about things in your own life. For me, that's what a poem does. Thank YOU for that and for all of your support as I feel my way along.

  23. It's very human, Karen.
    Thank you for writing it :)

  24. pain brings forth such lovely poetry. sometimes pain is a joyous thing... sometimes it actually draws you towards it.
    lovely poem. as always.

  25. It's like the pull of gravity from a black hole. No light escapes once we get near.

    I turn away my eyes,
    turn my eyes away
    I'm not sure why, but the inversion of these words really tugged at me. One added step in the pull to get away from the old wound's reach. It would not hurt so terribly were it not for the passions that came before.

    Deeply evocative poem, Karen. It naturally made my own "hills" piece come to mind. But this is more haunting.

  26. Your poetry reminds me not to think of old wound, as it is too painful to think about. Instead it reminds me to look forward to my goals which are far more beautiful and meaningful to me.

    Thanks for sharing with me your beautiful poem, Sarah.

    Have a blessed day everyday,

  27. This is a very strong and beautiful poem, Karen. I find the repetitions give it a haunting quality that lingers in my heart long after the last word is read and pulls me in to read it once more...

    I turn away my eyes,
    turn my eyes away
    unto the hills where comes
    no peace, no peace I find

  28. SzelsoFa - Thank you for reading and commenting!

    LGL - Usually, I find it hard to write about pain - I shy away, almost as if I could ignore it. This one just came. Thanks for your comments, as always.

    Sarah - This does recall your hills piece. Both the pull and search.... Your black hole description is apt; the pull is enormouse and once entered, there is nothing else.

    Thank you for your comments. You always add to the discussion and give me something to ponder.

    James - Thanks for reminding me of a brighter day. They do, of course, exist!

    Vesper - Thoughts tumbling and tumbling, that's the pull of the old wound - the one that aches and aches and from which there is no escape.

    Thanks for your comments on the quality of the form.

  29. We must pass through the darkness to get to the other side , but we do not have to do it alone.

  30. Cherie has told us a deep truth. Here is one of the free will moments...shall I call you and say I am in agony, and will you respond? In what style shall I call, and how will you respond?

    Many times I have needed someone, I have also had to release all ideas of who it is I need. My companionship in agony has been someone I did not expect. Here is one good reason to live a life of many honest connections.

  31. Cherie - Holding hands. It really helps, and I'm reaching out to you as you go through your own trials.

    Christopher - Thanks be to God for understanding souls. At least part of our walk does not have to be alone.

  32. no easy solutions, but time does help a bit, as you know...

  33. laughingwolf - You are so right, as I have learned, but the scar remains... Thanks for coming by.

  34. wear all scars proudly, karen... they add to the beauty of your soul :)

  35. ...and make us who we are. Thanks for the reminder, my friend.

  36. Don't know how I missed this there more on the accompanying image?

    An inspired poem indeed.

  37. Thanks, Cagey. The image is of the area believed to have been the home of Camelot. I chose it to accompany the poem because of some associations with the "darker lore" and the "old wound" that reminded me of King Arthur and Lancelot. Probably a weird association, but you know how the mind works!