Art, Poetry

How Many Souls Would We Need

(About a 2 minute read)

How many souls would we need
If we needed one for each soul
Stolen from us or lost
Along the way?

And what sum of souls
Is tallied by thirty years
Without loving — without loving
Wild and free, unconditionally?

The shine in your eyes was washed
Out and down with your secret tears
Some years ago.

Your friends have never
Quite gotten used to the darkness
Left there now instead —
Ever since a lover turned you lonely
In her burning bed of naked cruelties
Some decades ago.

So you came to these deserted mountains,
Here to thirst among the dry stones
For the renewal of your life and heart.

And in the gathering of your dusk you climb
To a high place in the twisting winds,
To await what may never come your way again:

A midwife for the rebirth of love.

And so you pray to your heart,
Your faithful heart that has held
Itself receptive and open
Over the decades now, the decades now:

“If only you will wait long enough
If only you will wait long enough

If only you can wait long enough
If only you can wait long enough

Out in the cold.”

And now in the valley far below comes this way walking
A figure
Who in the distance may be a woman and a midwife
The slope is steep, the rocks are sharp,
And she might yet turn away.

If only you can wait long enough.

7 thoughts on “How Many Souls Would We Need”

  1. This is an intriguing poem. Your use of the third person, the short blast of passion and anger, followed by lonely breezes, then hope, and finally a touch of impatience. It’s been a while since I last became so involved in a poem that I didn’t write myself. I like knowing you.

    This reference might seem obscure, but Roy Orbison’s song Pretty Woman comes to mind. Maybe I’m just an optimist.


    1. Thank you so much for the compliments! I like knowing you too. And you just gave one of my poems pretty much the best praise I could hope for.

      It’s curious to me that you mention “anger” and then “impatience”. Those were not meanings I intended, but get this: I went back, re-read the poem, and saw that they were fair interpretations (along with my intended meanings too, I hope). I just love things with more than one meaning.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I injected my anger into your poem, since one of the stanzas brought to mind a personal memory which triggered off a lot of others.

        It often happens that a poem is interpreted in several different ways. There’s a poem I posted in January, after being present at the death of the father of my two younger children. I also posted it on a writers site. Most of the people who read me on WP knew some of the background,, but the folks on the writers site knew little about me. I got a cavalcade of embarrassing messages of sympathy. I wonder what you will see in it. Here’s a link:


    1. Thank you!

      I just had a thought, Misterwuse. Let’s get rich! You and I can go around the internet leaving “likes” in the comments sections of blogs. Nothing but the word “Like”. Then whenever the blog author gets curious why we liked his or her poem, we tell them they can find out why for a mere $1.98. It’s got to work! People are curious!


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