Saturday, 20 September 2014

Treading Water OR Positive Thinking, No Shortcuts


Even when we know we must move on, it is never easy to let go.

The trick is to never to even try and let go altogether, but let the good memories drive us forward while taking care not to let the bad one’s hold us back; cease resisting, and let mind, body and spirit work towards the same positive end.

Did I say it was easy?

TREADING WATER or POSITIVE THINKING, NO SHORTCUTS

I can feel the ground shake
beneath my feet, walking down a street,
hands in pockets, lost in thought,
wondering how on earth I got here,
what on earth I’m doing,
where I’m going, and why 
I should even care any more
(No one else does...)

Ground still shaking, I stop,
look,  listen out, for - what, exactly?
Another burst water main
on the High Street?  Can hear car horns
blowing,  sad kids screaming,
woman yelling at a cyclist for ignoring
a red light, man with a stick swearing
blue murder while attempting to negotiate
rights of passage among baby buggies,
market stallholders holding up bargains
for waving at indifferent faces,
pigeons squabbling assorted crumbs,
confetti for a wedding party going through
the motions

Sound, dead. Watery eyes;
left counting the seconds, one by one,
drowning in a busy pool
on a sunny afternoon, everybody keen
to do their own thing even if means
doing nothing about crises in the deep end,
learners getting into difficulties,
copper (playing lifeguard) with hands full
sorting out a fight, kids on the grab
running off, their shrill giggles coursing
the veins like a funny story folks
who haven’t a clue, oh, so love to tell
whenever life and love are not getting along
too well

Sounds, sights, rushing back,
send me reeling, ground hurting my feet,
shaking the body, scaring the heart,
tearing the lonely soul apart who staggers
against a brick wall, struggling
to recover balance, find  bearings,
arguing with passions nurtured
and neglected, wounded and  nursed.
Stop messing with my head.
I’m okay, can get by without you.
No way, did you say?
What do you know, anyway? No more
I (for sure) or we’d never have ended up
treading water

Treading water, eyes and ears
half shut to the world, wanting to be part
of all this, that, theirs, mine and…
Ah, yes, ours. But no ‘ours’ any more
(no one and everyone to blame)
looking hell in the face, negotiating
rites of passage to positive thinking mode,
no short-cuts

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2014

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears in 1st (print) eds. of First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; revised e-edition in preparation.]



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