I ask you all to gather round my humble flame
And listen to these words and truths that cool the heat.
Each one is bent and coated in an oily shame
So stay with me awhile or beat a quick retreat.
I've never once pretended I'm a saintly man -
If nothing else, I understand that I'm at fault -
And yet I'm beaten down as I attempt to stand
And there are those who will not let me seal the vault.
The hooded crows who sit upon a rotting perch
Have oftentimes amassed above my heavy head -
I wonder, now and then, if they can understand the hurt
They cause a man who neither knows quite how to fly or tread.
A crack along the edges of my blistered heart
Has left a void that's filled with wasps and flies alike.
You stumble on while I draw circles at the sludgy start -
I crawl without a gun and yet they have the gall to strike.
This final verse is not a plea or call to arms,
I simply want you all to understand my plight:
It would be nice to sail in seas of peace and calm,
And then for dawn to break and me to smote the night.
The first thing this made me think of is the way humans can tear down one another at the mention of something not so "saintly" they've done. I've been guilty of it. Of wanting to "drop" a person or thinking of them differently when they make a mistake, when they stumble on their journey. But for me, that comes from a place of self-righteous, because I used to be a shell of a person and somehow I now would not be proud of. And the world can condemn us just like that. I think it's intent though that changes things, if we have the intent to do better and learn. To grow, not stay stagnant. That shows our truth.
Reading again, you mentioned shame, and there's the realization of a burden we all carry. And who would we be if we were all up in arms at the slightest mention of this burden? We can become so numb to the hurt, so deep in the abyss that we just want to be given the time to be understood.
That's what I took from this piece but I will definitely rrad again later this week. Loved the imagery and depth of this. Thanks for sharing!
11 months ago
The second time I read this poem I drew an idea of what this could be about (in a general term). I think in poetry we can never truly understand why a person wrote something. But the wording here to me is great. In the first stanza you set this up to be a kind of a campfire story and that in itself is unique. I have never seen a poem do that before, and I as the reader want to hear an actual story. But this all sets up nicely because you kind of take us through a part of the life of a person and the struggles they have well struggled with. The emotion I really got from this is anxiety sprinkled with depression. And it seems to me that life has beaten this person down so much that they are now pleading with anyone to help them and bring them peace. Your journey is sad however the ending kind of brings a calmness to the whole poem. there is a hope that this person can keep going and they will find peace.
There are a couple of stumbles I had with the poem itself.
In the first stanza 4th line I had to read it a few times to get through it. I think it is the word "beat" I just don't think it really fits. of course that is just my opinion.
I paused at the last stanza because there was no first and third line rhyming and it didn't flow with the rest of the poem. Just a small nitpick. but this poem is great otherwise because of the wording and emotion you poured into it.
Great comment, Jamie. Yes, 'arms' and 'calm' is a half rhyme so I understand your stumble. Sometimes half rhymes are the only way to stop the poem sounding forced so I would rather that than look for a perfect rhyme that doesn't fit.