Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mortar and Mortals

What were we thinking
when we gathered the stones
from our freshly plowed hearts?

Our high ideals fooled us
into manipulating mortar.
Fluid emotions filled in
to block and brace the
hard places of our past.

Oh, what a wall we built.
We filled in each other
with tears and laughter
and significant pauses.

We were lovers in a
dangerous time, as Coburn said.
We built
as a protection from without.

The winds deflected.
The rains diverted
from the watershed above.

Our pale shadows etched
in the dust dirt floor
and we sWept and sWept.

Only in the evening
when light broke over
the window sill did our
charcoal selves sway
on the walls of our extensions.

What were we thinking when
the place we built would
protect us from without?
It only walled us in.

Our only saving grace
were the seeds we
let fall as we stirred them
with straw brooms of angst.

Now look how much brighter.
Our freedom now let in the light,
and look how far it came.

The stones stacked like
broken Berlin,
just high enough
to appreciate where
we have been.


  1. Deep emotions combine with imagery (for instance "straw brooms of angst") in addition to inventive wording and syntactical structures... all leading to the recognition, hindsight of a journey "to appreciate where / we have been." References to Berlin and "we" renders the positive realization powerful.

  2. Jerry,

    Your poem made me think of all the farmhouses I grew up with that have been leveled. All the history, all the life, all the pain and the laughter. I sometimes want to get one of those detectors (What do you call them?) and go around to see what I can unearth. But then I think, no, that would be like vandalizing the past. Maybe if I hadn't know them, I would feel different.



  3. after this read, I am reminded of just how gifted the writer have the construct and ability to expel and explain, to allow and remind, to steer and reward...a very good read

    thanks for stopping by

    Peace, hp

  4. I love the first stanza. You set this up beautifully.

  5. the line with berlin hit me like a meteroid...cause i was there as a teenager..i have seen the wall, the divided - the broken berlin. we went from west to east and it was a different world. excellent write jerry

  6. I thought that might underline something for you. be there must have been surreal Claudia.

  7. We have a thousand decaying little quarrymen's cottages in the footholds of Snowdon, all built over night to claim land with them, now mostly falling apart. Loved the poem Jerry, second visit today lol you're popular! x

  8. The sWept and sWept part hit me hard, liked the word play on it. Very good take on the prompt, this dark heart approves!

  9. Beautifully crafted I felt enveloped by the poem in a wonderful way. Loved it!

  10. Oooh... 'freshly plowed hearts'- I like that image. And it's just the beginning of a magnificent piece.

    pale shadows and charcoal selves... Superb One Shot.

  11. Wonderful craftmanship, toiled of words/stones to build a lifetime shelter.

  12. I too, liked the line...'freshly plowed hearts'. Nice take on the prompt today. Thanks for the visit.

  13. A strong opening, and many great bumps along the way to jog the reader into an understanding of the effort it takes to build, and sometimes, the futility. I'm lovin the brooms of angst, but there are many great lines in this one.

  14. There;s a wistfulness about this poem, a sense of something hoped for and lost. Nice one, Jerry.

  15. Deep and profound and simple.

  16. Oh, wow, Jerry. When I look back at love, I see the walls we built too. This is so true, so real, such a natural thing to do. But love knocks them down, doesn't it? Love breaks through the walls.

    Happy Valentine's Day.

  17. You sWept me from the first line--love I had thought, those fluid emotions, but which metamorphosed into a more solid, expansively embracing love and still you had me as the poem flowed. Like Adam, I love the structure and the pace, smooth but firm. Thanks, Jerry!


So, you made a little time to stop by. You are welcome any time...speak freely.