Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Danger of Complimenting Someone's Writing

alternately titled: poetry from 4 years ago

That's right. The few compliments on my writing that I've received have made me bold (or crazy) enough to regale you with poetry from freshman year. Here we go! (Feel free to laugh.)


Shuffling along, I glance down
To see the leaf I squashed.
Poor dead leaf,
Skin brittle and brown,
Spirit already broken.

Laying on the hard brick,
Exposed to the world,
To the elements,
To people like me
Who stomp on it willingly.

A girl slowly plods by,
Head lowered, shoulders bent
As if carrying something
Much heavier than herself.

She’s the one
Who brushes her teeth too violently,
Who jumps into conversations
Not her own.

Her clothes a little too out of place,
Hair tangled and dry,
But carefully tied with a ribbon.
Trying too hard.

“She’s the weird one,” whispers my friend.
“Oh yeah?,” I reply. “She looks like it.”
The girl cringes, turns to me
With suffering red eyes.


Love at First Sight

Two awkward strangers shyly raise their eyes
And gaze into a world not yet their own.
Their pulses quicken, hearts jump with surprise
To find their bodies, face, and eyes at home.

He knows that small, coy smile from his dreams.
She recognizes kindness in his gaze.
Both see the other’s thoughts and fears and schemes
As if their souls met in another age.

At last he speaks with halting, unsure words
Designed to demonstrate his wit and skill.
She listens well, but how much has she heard?
Or is her judgement tainted by this thrill?

When feelings new and strange invade our sight,
They block out judgement calls and keep us blind.

Cafeteria Haiku

Why do you insist
On naming it from high school...

Much more dignity
For those who go every day
To say “Dining Hall.”

Are marked by milk cartons and
Standardized lunches,

Hyperactive kids,
Screaming, spreading chicken pox,
Flailing limbs and lungs.

“Dining Hall” implies
A sense of culture and taste,
Adult preferences.

“Please say ‘Dining Hall’,”
I tell my new acquaintance,
Who gladly complies.

Armed with my new name,
I read the daily menu........

Cafeteria food.

Lancaster, PA

The sun slips behind the horizon,
Pulling the daylight with it,
It’s the time of day

When electricity takes over,
People flipping switches,
Creating light.

I wait in silence for this moment,
And I keep waiting.
But nothing happens.

Humble little farms stay dark.
People inside content
To let Someone else do the creating.

The only noise is the rumble of our truck
And the distant rhythm of hooves,
Soon not so distant.

We pass the proud horse, the little buggy.
I strain to see faces
But they are hidden from me.
They are hidden from the world.

Content in their simplicity,
Not wanting anything more
Than to be left alone,

To blend in,
To wear simple black,
To till the earth.

Instead, they have become
Tourist attractions
For a flashy world
Who wants to believe
That simplicity still exists.

Son of Man

A tiny baby, in a stable born.
To save mankind from sin is why He came.
The Heavens open up to praise His name,
His purpose known before the earth was formed.
This child soon grows up to be a man
Like other men, but perfect, right, and good.
He heals the sick and gives the hungry food,
And dies and rises to fulfill God’s plan.

How do you tell the story of this life?
How can you tell someone his sins are gone?
God penned the letters of His son through men;
We added them to ancient texts of scribes.
The prophesies all pointed toward the One.
A Book was made, unlike the world had seen.

The Process

The old carpenter picks up a log,
Brushes it off, examines it.
He feels the rough bark,
Notices the knots, the imperfections,
Turns it over in his hands
And gingerly sets it down on his workbench.

He pulls out a saw,
A great, shining, terrifying thing,
Designed to cut through hearts,
To remove any trace of rot.
And he joins the two,
And the wood groans as he slices it away
Bit by agonizing bit.
It cries sawdust where he breaks it.
The remnants of its other life.

Once he has broken it,
The master begins putting pieces together,
Driving tiny nails through resistant wood.
Reshaping, correcting, measuring, lining up.
Something begins to take shape.

The carpenter grips his creation,
And it splinters him.
So he selects the right paper,
And begins to sand,
Slowly wearing off the roughness,
Scraping, rasping, hours of work around the edges.
More sawdust falls.

One thing more it needs, the master knows
To protect it, preserve it,
Allow it to be useful.
He coats it with layers of paintbrushed liquid,
His own special mix,
Ages old. He saturates the wood until
It can hold no more.
Until it will soak up none of the world around it.

The master carpenter lifts this creation,
This plain wooden cup.
He examines once more, then pours.
The liquid holds.
His own wine
Held in this simple cup.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Simply beautiful, Meredith!!! You have a gift.

Thank you so much for sharing your poetry with all of us.