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As I mentioned last week, ruleoflaw and I have swapped weeks this month, so here I am, where he would usually be, with another poem about an aspect of my childhood. I'd started in, when I last grappled with this theme, with years in school and impressions of my teachers. I'm up to the second grade, which was NOT a good year for me, so I've called this poem an elegy. I think you'll understand what I mean, when you read it, down below the orange squiggly dingbat.



Means "beautiful voice" from Greek καλλος (kallos) "beauty" and οψ (ops) "voice". In Greek mythology she was a goddess of epic poetry and eloquence, one of the nine Muses.  

 Join us every Tuesday afternoon at the Daily Kos community political poetry club.

                    Your own poetry is always welcome in the comments.

                       Bongos, berets & turtle neck sweaters optional.                                

                            The keyboard is mightier than the sword.    

Second Grade Elegy

A lost year, second grade.
I was almost lost at the end of that year.
The waters of my Bluebird
Leader’s swimming pool
Nearly claimed me.

A postscript, perhaps, on a year
With a mentally ill schoolteacher
Leaving a legacy of fear, grievous
Dread, seldom encountered since;
Existential discomfort.

One has to wonder if
Her disturbed consciousness
Helped trigger something ominous in
The classmate who grew to become
Later, a serial killer.

We siblings, all four
Succumbed to chicken pox
In those days before vaccines for
The common childhood illnesses, except
Polio, DPT, and smallpox.

Myself, alone was struck
By scarlet fever, darker side
Of streptococcus, yet not so dark
As rheumatic fever, destroyer of hearts.
Left mine alone, at least.

Quarantined: no get-well card from classmates;
Only from the parents of the future serial killer.
Cold sores, herpes simplex type I
Bad enough for refrigerated medicine.
(Or, was that for the strep?)

At the outset, an ear tumor, doctor pilgrimages,
Odd aural sensations, not fun in the least.
Ever after, my mother demanded for me
Hats, hoods, earmuffs in winter; even
With Alzheimer’s, she remembers.

Feelings of alienation from family,
Times I ran away, (even if I was
The only one who knew it.)
Was the depression I’ve fought
Lo these many years on

Born in that year of the curse of seven?
Or was it knit in my bones, waiting
To lacerate my adolescence,
Fracture my adulthood, a Scylla
I fight even now.

I can’t know.
The wisps of what I remember
Are so faint, so clouded by years, and worse,
Bright spots so lost, in the weight
Of a dark time.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

    by Kit RMP on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 02:00:17 PM PDT

  •  My Ode to the GOP (5+ / 0-)

    It's all about empathy,
    Coupled with sympathy.
    To help with adversity.
    People need help urgently!

    Your belligerent bombastity
    2nd amendment abnormality
    and repulsion of sexuality
    mean you fail miserably.

    •  A pithy political poem! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Succinctly captures what so many of us feel. Thank you, mmsood99, for this little gem.

      What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

      by Kit RMP on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 06:05:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You often delve into darkness: from small griefs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Portlaw, Kit RMP, carolanne

    to injustice (often cosmic). Thanks for your brave self-examination and sharing. And for the good work you're doing for R&BLers, with these Indigo Kalliope diaries and co-editing.

    Art can be the best place to put these twinges, if they keep playing on your heartstrings (however softly or seldom). Putting the blots into a pattern can release them, and you, with luck and a little grace. I hope.

    Bright spots so lost, in the weight
    Of a dark time.
    Sometimes there is brightness there too, which gets obscured by the darkness visible. I've been furious at friends or family, for hurts they dealt or let happen to me, and written all the blots down in a letter. When the pattern was done, there was a Pandora effect. Once the blots were released, I found some blocked warmth, love, and forgiveness behind them. Then I had to rewrite those letters, so they were a third as long, and a third as mean.

    Maybe that's just me. I have my turbulence, and my quirkiness. Anyway, I hope you keep writing all the dark poems you need to, and then you release some of your brighter poems, which are forming behind them.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 03:33:25 PM PDT

    •  It seems that the death of my husband threw (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Portlaw, Brecht, carolanne

      me into a headlong process of self-examination and discovery, and a determination to no longer be silent about much I didn't, or wouldn't, speak about in my life before. I think a lot is being healed, in its own way and time.

      I am truly grateful for DKos, and the opportunity being here has given me to do what I evidently need to, at this point in my journey through existence. There are spirit guides here, companions on the journey, and you are one of them.

      Thank you so much for that!

      What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

      by Kit RMP on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 06:16:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "spirit guides"! What a marvelous thing to say. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kit RMP, Portlaw

        Thank you so much. And I'm relieved to hear that I'm just "one of them", for your sake.

        A great friend of mine has a Korean mom, of piercing intuition. I told her that I was born in the Year of the Serpent. She looked in my eyes and said, "Yes, but you're a monkey inside." Sounds about right.

        I lost, in just over a year, two parents, a woman I should have married, and a job I should have turned into a career. The first two were cosmic injustice, the last two as much my own idiocy as anything. For half a dozen years, I and the world around me were ripped to bits. When there was a storm, the sun would still come out afterwards. Yet when I looked toward heaven, the rainbow was missing two bands. I couldn't remember those colors, I couldn't even find their names in books. They had never existed.

        Now there's about half a band missing. Yes, I've been through too much suffering and self-examination. Still, I think you lost much more than me. Jung said "Where one is most wounded, they have the most to give." I don't fully agree, but there's something there, about how the ripping and stretching can, with great fight and fortitude, allow us to grow into someone larger and richer.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 06:58:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Kit RMP for this poem which am (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kit RMP, Brecht, carolanne

    am about to read a third time and to Brecht for his commentary which I am also about to reread. They form a path through my own dark woods.

    •  "a path through my own dark woods" - Dante? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Portlaw, Kit RMP, carolanne

      The trouble with solitary paths through dark inner woods is, they aren't merely less-traveled, they're undiscovered. So we push our way through, gathering scratches, brambles and mud. I guess we hold tight that inner spark, and follow it through circles, lakes of ice, and mountain climbs, determined that the journey itself will rise to enlightenment.

      It sure takes a lot of yearning, patience and faith, though. I haven't even written my first verse of terza rima yet.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:45:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Portlaw, I appreciate your presence and reading (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Portlaw

      of my poetic offerings, with your thoughtful commentary. It's good to see the faithful ones who keep coming back, week after week.

      I get a sense that you might live in my area. I wonder if our paths will cross sometime?

      What I want to know is, who's going to pay for these crimes against humanity that those b@st@rds are perpetrating against the rest of us?

      by Kit RMP on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 06:43:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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