On Corralling Thought and Feeling or Learning That It Isn’t Always Best to Let Them Out: a Triad

Drawing on past experience, you learn that there are times, for your own sake and that of others, when feelings or knowledge must be tamped down, or, using a more appealing image, one must lay there just like  a single flowerlet  in  a lily of the valley and wait. But how do you  learn to walk the line between suppression, damage control and learning to wait and take things in? Here are 3 poems with  thirty year temporal distance and written 10,000 miles apart, three different perspectives, and I still don’t know if there is a right one.


Of bales and bears


Rolled up in a bale of numbness,


from the sharp edges of the world,

my feelings lay in ambush,


wail, yelp, screech

on impact.


Don’t unravel the hay

and expose them

to the cold wind of gaze.


It’s best that these bears

sleep their deep winter slumber.




Unwanted Visitors


Knock….Knock… Who’s there?

Your feelings!

We have escaped

though you stored us

deep in a well, so far and tight

we could have been Cheops mummy

in his Secret Chamber,

you swathes us so

we looked like those

poor Della Robbia babies,

and then, you hypocrite,

you drenched us with

unguent and balsam

so we wouldn’t smell bad.

But, nanee, nanee, nanee

we got away.


You held your jaw so tight

you discovered you had

a Temporal Mascellary Joint

otherwise known as TMJ,

and it was so unyielding

it went into a spasm

and you had to wear a neck brace for a month.


But we wouldn’t let up.

So you went to a chiropractor first

for the bones,

later to one for the soul

trying to get us adjusted,

to smooth us out.


And when that didn’t work,

you started writing poems,

tried to dress us up

to be put on display,

but listen, girl,

have we got news for you,

we are bad, we are nasty,

and we are here to stay,

and we know that sooner or later

you’ll have to open that door

and let us out.





Damage control


What if instead you corralled

your provisional knowledge

your gut feeling yearning to run free

and kept it self-contained for a while

to bask in the sun and be idle

fallow, to all appearances





just chilling

seeking no falsification

nor confirmation

no followers

nor awards

nor rebuffers

disrobed of all didacticism

or need to be dutiful daughter


merely a single flowerlet

in the cluster of a lily of the valley

waiting for the nod

of its particular sun

and then for that tired lump of a bee

to settle in for the night?

and in the meantime

listening, unmoved

to the minimalism

of the woodpecker

content to sit there and divine

its melody.


April 2021


Image courtesy of Pixabay.