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by Zettel 

Posted: 02 August 2004
Word Count: 169

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Like her hair
Those once blue eyes
Are slightly greying now
But gracefully

Now and then
A shadow of remembered pain
Drifts across her face
Like a rain-filled cloud
On a summer's day

The honest lines of life
Etched by courage
Of fear withstood
Trace a fragile, hard won strength
Upon the face of time

A defiant I will know
Shines through her restless eyes
From an ever stubborn soul which cries
I will have a private space
Outside motherhood and wife

A fiercely independent self
Has survived the undermining years
Commanding deep respect
Without misuse of tears

An inner strength is here
Annealed by standing at the void
And facing down the nothingness
The lightness of her youthful days
Worn down by pain and fear
Escapes the bonds of wary doubt
When a fellow sense of fun is near

She is driven to make sense of things
Wherever truth may lead
To accept what her rescued life may bring
And give from love, not self-regarding need


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Comments by other Members

joanie at 06:47 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Zettel, I love this. I have read it once but want to read it several times before I comment more.


Ticonderoga at 10:52 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
Tender, true, sad, resiliently celebratory, yet unflinchingly sympathetic; beautiful.


roovacrag at 21:23 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
Like Joan want to read itagain.
xx Alice

gard at 00:31 on 04 August 2004  Report this post
HI Zettal

its interesting to wonder who you are writing of, is it your mother? All of the above


Zettel at 02:02 on 04 August 2004  Report this post
I guess one of the most satisfying things about writing in general but poetry in particular, is the sense of 'striking a chord' in others.
Thanks so much for the comments.

Joanie and Alice - I am delighted that you wish to re-read the piece.

Not my mother.

Thanks all


joanie at 23:56 on 05 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Zettel. I'm back, rather belatedly. I remembered that I wanted to come back to this and now I know why. I feel an affinity, I think, to this woman. Perhaps all women do. You have not said who it is - possibly just 'Woman'? (as in the Helen Reddy song?)

Whatever, I feel empowered by it, somehow.


Zettel at 01:53 on 06 August 2004  Report this post
A very satisfying response - thanks.
An old friend, strong rather than tough who survived leukemia. But I would like to think there was something more universal hinted at. Hence my pleasure at your response.

engldolph at 10:34 on 07 August 2004  Report this post

I liked the quiet dignity in this, and some of the lines really grabbed me, such as:

**Like her hair
Those once blue eyes
Are slightly greying now

** Without misuse of tears

** Annealed by standing at the void
And facing down the nothingness

In the last two stanzas you seem to change style and introduce ryhme, which did not work so well for me:

....pain and fear
... fun is near

... truth may lead
.... self-regarding need

Enjoyed the feeling of the piece.


Zettel at 11:36 on 07 August 2004  Report this post
Thanks Mike
My stuff always seems to 'want' to rhyme. Trick I suppose is to let it happen when the rhyme follows the essential rhythm of the words but not to force the words out of their pattern in order to create a rhyme.
I'm not sure. Still trying to learn. But that sounds right to me.


James Graham at 21:35 on 08 August 2004  Report this post
It's notoriously difficult to describe the character of a good person, but you've succeeded pretty well in this poem. Even though it isn't much 'decorated' with metaphor or other poetic devices - except a light, irregular rhyme, rhyming more towards the end (which is right for the poem, I think*) - there's an integrity of phrase that gives the poem a ring of truth. 'Fear withstood', 'A defiant I will know', 'Without misuse of tears', 'Annealed by standing at the void', 'the nothingness/And lightness of her youthful days', 'rescued life' - these are some of the best. They convey a sense that this is a real person whom you know well and want to portray authentically.

*Where a poem rhymes more noticeably, or more regularly, towards the end, it conveys a sense of increasing certainty or assurance about the subject.


Zettel at 01:55 on 09 August 2004  Report this post
Thanks James
Your point about rhyming is interesting and new to me. I have heard fiction writers talk of their characters having 'a life of their own', well for me sometimes within a poem (not just mine) the words sort have a life of their own, in that there is a sense of inevitability about them (hence my comment on 'Strathclyde'). The difficulty is only to listen to this inner voice when it is right - unfortunately, like all voices it can be wrong. Experience is the only defence I guess. Most of stuff 'tries to rhyme' my only rule of thumb is posted above before your comment.

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