Alienation, Alienation From Self, Human Nature, Life, Love, People, Poetry, Quality of Life, Self, Spirituality, Tara Lynn, Vacilando

In the Stillness of the Mountains

Please Note: A couple weeks ago, Gina presented our WordPress community with a challenge: Compose a poem answering the question, “Who Am I?”. That I did.

Please remember to check out the works of the other poets here.

(About a 5 minute read)

I would sit at a sidewalk table each evening
To watch the descending sun become the night.
In those days, I would sit alone into the night.

But once a stranger shot from around the corner,
Almost bolting and desperate. It seemed desperate.

It’s head swung side to side,
Searching for something it didn’t find.
It held its tail almost between its legs,
And made a curious sound,
Half muffled whimpering, half something wild.

Its alienation was tangible, I felt it viscerally.

Two humans followed almost at a trot.
“That’s no dog”, I said to them.

“No, it’s a wolf.”

A wolf in the city. Fed, groomed,
Taken good care of, but homeless in the city,
It’s spirit attuned to a wilderness
It cannot find.

Years before, I had loved my secretary, Tara.
Her laughter rising and falling with mine
As the hours of work flew by.
Then she had spun — within 24 weeks she had spun —
Like a child’s top wobbling down to collapse
Into the arms of a man who belittled her and beat her.

And within those same 24 weeks, I had lost it all.
Nearly everything “my”, nearly everything “mine”.
All of it but a car, a few thousand dollars,
And some clothes.

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

The wife was almost the first to go. The home was next.
With it my pets, my books, my journals, my bed.
I became homeless, working by day, wandering at night
Until I would find some spot to park and to sleep.

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

Scott stumbled out one night, that he came to work
Because it was there he felt loved. Lisa had told me
Much the same thing earlier that Spring.

But the woman I loved whose laughter I thought
Was like a gentle breeze across blue flowers,
And whose smile seemed to be a warm sun in disguise,
Was turning inside herself in confusion and in pain.
Churning in confusion and pain.

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

Scott stayed until the end, but Lisa and the others
Had me on a pedestal. When I tumbled, they left
One by one, in disillusionment and disgust.

“Competent. Capable. Successful. Respectable.” left too.
Soon enough followed by, “Decent. Kind. And Good.”

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

In the evenings, I would sit beside the lake
Feeling the breeze lift across my arm like kisses
From someone who came close enough to care.

By that lake,
My troubled mind began to calm, even ran cold.
I left self-pity somewhere in the past,
And then I left the past
Where it could no longer be found —
Memories of the year before
Seemed like some other person’s life.
“Eighteen months”, I thought, “And I’ll be dead.”
It was a conclusion reached as dispassionately
As two and two is four.

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

Not wanting my family to witness the dying
I set out with all that was left,
And wandered my way to Colorado in the Fall.

Several years went by, years of the wolf.
Years of estrangement and alienation,
Until I was gradually reborn.

When do you suppose, in the process of gaining things,
Do you regain yourself?

I have learned that in life the most important doors
Are the doors you do not suspect are there,
The doors you might pass through not knowing
You’ve turned the key in their locks.

My brothers are returned to me now,
More brothers now than ever before.
My friends are truer now,
More truer friends than ever before.

Yes, I still can run my fingers
Along the lumpy scars that have healed
Without having been sewn up.
I still can feel the atrocity
Of Tara’s fate, and I even miss my books.

But my laughter echoes through-out me now,
My loves are many and passionate.
I can hold a flower between my teeth
Without being wounded by its thorns.
I feel the endless wilderness of my spirit,
And the coiled precision of my mind.
I revel in the beauty of men and women,
And in the stillness of the mountains
I am reborn.
In the stillness of the mountains
I am reborn.

12 thoughts on “In the Stillness of the Mountains”

  1. A plethora of emotions ensued after I read this. I read it twice and each time it evoked a myriad of feelings.

    Your destitution to revelation and contentment is beautiful. Liberation couldn’t come any faster! Metaphorically, you went through death to find life. You triumphed, you lived on.

    Beautifully expressed!


    1. I am honored you dropped by to read my poem, Jenoy. Your compliments and observations are felt by me, coming as they do from someone so accomplished in poetry and prose as you.

      I think you’re spot on about the core metaphor being one of rebirth. Do you know what that period of my life most taught me — pretty much above all else (and beside the help I got from my family and new friends)? That you cannot predict tomorrow based on how dark today is.

      It’s like the title of your poem, “A Black Rose Blooms at Dawn”. That beautiful title alone makes so much sense to me, even if it were not attached to one of the most powerful poems I’ve read in a year or more. But it would not have the utter, raw impact it has on me had I not gone through a metaphorical death and rebirth.

      Thank you so much for your insights!

      Liked by 2 people

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