Monday, July 12, 2010

All of My Life

All of my life I have been
               Sweet or kind or good

To someone else's thinking.

So I have lived these years
               Calling home, being fair, trying hard

When all I ever really wanted

Was to take my selfish body
Into a field somewhere amid tall weeds
And gather fists full of idleness.

All I have ever really wanted

Is clouds of crickets that jump at my approach,
The feel of hard ground beneath my back,
A blanket of burrs to cover my legs

And grass that whispers,
               “You are still okay.”


  1. Pretty powerful stuff, Karen. You use vivid images and simple language to capture the kind of moment I and other women have fairly frequently. The bit about clouds of crickets and ground and burrs makes a good painting. I wish the grass whispered to you something a little more...affirming? ...gutsy?...than simply that you are still okay, like "You are welcome" or "This is good" or... "Be still"...or "Karen, you're a damn fine poet..."

  2. Never could get the reason for perpetual sweetness, kindness or goodness when there were people like Johnny Cash telling me to steal Cadillac parts from the line to build a car before I wound up in Folsom prison.

  3. Wonderful writing, somewhat sad lament. Hopefully, you will get to do what you really want, one of these days!!

  4. I really like this. I like it a lot. I can relate to the sentiments and respond to the writing.

  5. It's hard isn't it? this business of being sweet good and kind, when all we want are moments pf so-called 'selfishness'.

    Selfish is a word invented by the puritanical to crush people's spirits. I wish it did not exist.

  6. Ooooh...I love that ending. And I agree with the grass. You are definitely okay. "And gather fists full of idleness" is absolutely perfect!

    I like the spirit of Alice Walker's "The Color Purple" when Celie says that God put us here to admire that little purple flower in a field. I think it was Celie. It's been a while since I read it.

    Anyway, I think it's our job and our purpose to feel the ground and enjoy the burrs on our legs. We're being selfish when we don't take the time to appreciate it all. Beautiful poem, Karen!

  7. I am with Enchanted Oak on this one...I feel this way quite a bit...not daily but sometimes close, you weave your words beautifully and with grace, thank you for sharing it with us.

  8. beautiful and very hard to disagree with the sentiment, lovely.

  9. Yes I can definitely erlate to this!

  10. Lovely, Karen - especially that affirming line at the end.


  11. Karen, your poem takes me right out into those fields, a very nice place to go.

  12. Love this! I've always tried to be the good girl too...

  13. Lovely Karen...
    You put everything so simply and it turns out to be just the thing I feel manytimes...
    Gathering fists full of idleness is so like me :)

  14. Excellent writing--from the "selfish body" stanza on it's so strong; & that language works backward into the quieter, more prosaic beginning. One of your best!

  15. very thought provoking. i have thought of this many times...get away from life and the influences and be free for a while. thank you.

  16. Beautiful. Beautiful poetry. Deeply felt and leaves one thinking... oh and absolutely fabulous last line. Thank for this wonderful piece. One of your best.

    PS: Last week 17% of the traffic on my site came diverted from your site. You have awesome friends. :) Thank you, and them.

  17. wow. this feels so right to me. seems we define ourselves too often by how others define us - and that can get so complicated and political - it's easy to get lost in it all. a fistfull of idleness - simplicity - take away every opinion, and then to still be ok - that is a powerful idea. i'll be rolling this one around in my head for a while.

  18. Some boundaries are only possible when there is no need for boundaries at all. We won't bend ourselves to another when we're totally alone.

  19. This is a perfect poem Karen - I love it!

    I often feel the way you described in such simple but powerful words.

    One of my fav. songs, Chasing Cars from Snow Patrol comes to mind after reading this. It's all about lying still and forgetting the world.

  20. Jason Birk - Hello.

    Chris - I have considered your suggestions for strengthening the ending, but I think "okay" expresses just enough for me. Thanks for the comments and compliments, though. :-)

    TWM - People have a habit of giving bad advice, don't they?

    RNSANE - Thank you.

    Dave - Thank you. I'm glad you like it.

    Willow - Sorry 'bout that!

  21. The line "blanket of burrs to cover my legs" had me squirming... happy summer.

  22. a predator's song :)
    i liked it.


  23. being sweet, kind & good has so many advantages/ disadvantages, doesn't it? i recently went out into the tall weeds with my camera and instead of being covered with burrs i was covered in chigger bites, lol. i itched for days. now i'm battling a sore throat/ cold symptoms... in the summer!!!

    sorry for my long absence. i've been busy with family, etc... have a great day.

  24. Everyone - I am sorry not to respond to each individual comment, but it has been an unusual and trying week. My mother fell and broke her hip and had to have surgery. She is recovering well, but I'm afraid it will be a long haul at her age. Hopefully, all will be well.

    Thanks for your kind comments on the poem. I'm surprised how many of you have said that you see something of yourselves in this. It makes me wonder, if we're all sweet and kind and good, where are the bad guys? ;-)

  25. Are you now following that "selfish" body? Great poem, honest and heartfelt.