Poetry Friday: White Ribbons

White Ribbons

The white house on the corner,
with lavender blooms tracing the fence till
fall, where the little girl had worn her
hair up, hiding behind her sharpened pencil.

Worn her hair up, blonde curls in white ribbons. Molly
read her fairytales in the treetops, dreaming
of walnuts, and castles, and red trolleys.
Sunlight poured through curtain leaves; shining, streaming.

Sunlight poured onto old story pages, shafts of
gold on black print. Molly swung her feet, her
hands on low branches, and through the air her laughter
fell upon the ears of Peter.

Her laughter fell, but sighed soft now,
quiet like a hymn in church. But Peter, all he
did was smile and walk, turning down
the lane, and behind him treaded Molly.

Turning down the lane, he began to run,
his feet barely touching earth. Molly
watched with wide eyes; she had come
from her fairytales, quiet like snowflakes, following.

Come from her fairytales, blonde curls in white
ribbons, and she looked at the sky.
She untied her hair, wore it down, reflecting light.
Peter taught her to run; she learned how to fly.

* * *

The white house on the corner,
with gentle blossoms on trees where birds
sang, where the little girl had worn her
hair up, hiding behind her whispered words.

White ribbons on low branches, sunbeams on blonde curls.
A book between their laps, children dreamed of
warm raindrops in August. A boy and girl
read softly to each other, learning how to love.

Poetry Friday: Nighttime

Nighttime

You’re wrapped in me,
in the quilt,
in snowflakes.

Steady breaths disrupt the stillness
of my chest.

I study your untroubled eyelids.

Past the window,
snow glitters in streetlight.

Warm breaths cover my lips,
and I close my eyes.

* * *

If you read this poem, whom did you picture? Mother and child? Owner and pet? Partners? What else? Think about it.

(I pictured either a mother and baby or elderly partners.)

Legacy (Part I)

Legacy.

This word has been mulling around in my mind lately. In church the other day, someone referenced a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that my mother once made me and my siblings memorize: “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased.”

It’s a good quote. Catchy. Rolls off the tongue. But it made me think about the different things my mom has forced us to learn, or be a part of, or think. (Of course I use the word “force” jokingly–my mom is great and I don’t think I’ve been brainwashed.) And for that matter, what about my dad? My grandparents? My teachers? How many times has an adult drilled a concept into my head or made me learn a new skill I thought I would never need again?

I’m not a mom but I think I get the point. We love our kids, right? We want to teach them stuff so they’ll grow up to be, what, healthy, beautiful, patriotic, intelligent, hardworking, faithful, virtuous–you get the drift. We love them so we shape them and the world around them so they can thrive.

But this is where my mind sort of draws a blank: if we really love our kids, why are we destroying the planet for the rest of the generations that are to come?

Still reading?  Don’t worry, I won’t get more environmental than that on this post. Right now I’m reading the book No Impact Man. I’m just past the part when Colin bought cloth diapers for his daughter Isabella. My family will eagerly attest that I’m kind of bent on saving polar bears, hugging trees, and overall making everyone else’s lives miserable as I hypocritically tell them to stop idling their cars.

Anyway, I haven’t finished the book, but I like it so far. He’s funny, and though I’m not sure if all his facts are correct, even his most basic arguments are logical and he seems pretty open-minded. I love people like that. Openly imperfect, but still foolishly searching for a way to be better, to make the world a better place. Keep trying, you humans!

So without further ado, this is how I feel, more or less, on environmental issues. See next post, Legacy (Part II).

https://maneysmilesback.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/legacy-part-ii/

Courage

I remember back when my depression was pretty bad and I considered different ways to end my life. One particular day, as I turned left on a quiet intersection by my high school and considered slamming into another car or a stoplight, I was overcome with this feeling that my future children were with me, giving me strength to survive this intersection, this road, this drive home. Isn’t that the strangest thing? Well, I don’t have any children yet, but I’m still alive.

I used other tricks to keep myself alive. Often I told myself that I owed it to future Maney to survive this warped, confusing time we call the present, because maybe she would have something or someone to live for. If it weren’t for that thought– that wisdom that maybe it was suicide now, but really I was murdering the future self I would come to inhabit and didn’t yet know–I wouldn’t have built a snowman today with my neighbors. I knelt in the whiteness, rolled the three balls, defied gravity with the lopsided stack of too-big snowballs, and pressed in the nose and arms and eyes and buttons. And I am grateful that I was alive today to do that. Thank you, self.

Too many people deal with thoughts of suicide. Maybe it will help you to remember that your life is not really your own; it is possessed by all your past and future selves as well. And on top of that, think of all the people who love you, both on this side of the veil and the other. They share a piece of your life, too. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life if you don’t believe me. I remember that on really bad days I would tell myself Seneca’s words, “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” Keep being courageous.