Sunday, May 12, 2013


The dark canal was moist and still
until a keening screech of steel
delivered me unto the night,
the nubile nurturer of naught
that knew those reinforcing ties
would be like anchors on my toes
and every time it drove a spike
a whispering within me spoke:
Release your guilt and you will find
no greater freedom can be found
the shame of indiscretion weighs
a thousandfold adorned with woes.

And with a click a willow switch
that whistled in an arcing swath
reminded me of youthful lust
(an armistice we pray will last)
but like a fading welt it's lost
in memories of healing, while
a hauntingly receding wail
continues to support the role
of conscience doomed to ever rail.


Mary said...

At a certain point we DO need to release our guilt, forgive ourselves, and let the healing begin! Well penned.

Anonymous said...

This is a painful, but important poem.

Brian Miller said...

mmm...i feel you...i wrote about those switches as well...they shaped us in some ways though...and i so agree on the need to forgive yourself...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I dont think anyone can feel guiltier than any mother, for we all make grievous mistakes out of youth, not knowing how to nurture, not being fully grown yet.........I know I do. But yes, we need to toss the guilt overboard and know we gave it all we had and did the very best we could with what WE had been given. Hopefully each generation moves farther from the generational patterns. A thought-provoking write, and so well done.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


A heavyweight of reflection on past ways. Ways which brought a physical pain, but left a more lasting mark upon the memory. Difficult to erase, but we do sometimes manage to move a little further along the path of life, avoiding its constant stare..


Anonymous said...

Wow, a powerful poem and the title makes me feel the pain of motherhood and childhood. Such a struggle at times and hopefully all for good. I love the first lines describing delivery and the instant struggle that mother and child have already embarked upon. Thanks.

Akila said...

Nothing speaks more than releasing those moment of guilt.

rch said...

Thanks a lot everyone for your thoughtful replies, sorry I have been mostly stuck in mundania but will get around to comment over the next couple days. The opening was inspired by the train tracks that lie a few hundred yards from my house, they run right beside the mighty Mohawk river which was integral in the history of the Erie canal, thus all the railroad references.

Matt D said...

This is a really cool, contemplative poem that conjures up both nostalgia and regret, and yet questioning curiosity about what tomorrow might bring … freedom, healing ….

This part really worked well:

"… the night,
the nubile nurture of naught"