Monday, June 1, 2009

Another Symbolic Poem, Your Complaint

So, heh, here is a challenge. What's the symbol in Another Symbolic Poem? This is pretty subtle.

I am not going to give a hint and maybe not an answer either.

This poem gives an account of what I really do, of course. I'm up on the roof a couple times a year at least, to clear gutters and clean the roof. I bought a blower which I use with care. There are evergreens at the northeast corner and southwest corner of my house. Evergreens evershed. (One of my girlfriends when once married carried the surname Mothershed.) Little tiny cones plug the gutters. The shade and moisture grows moss. Winter grows moss. So I guess that part is actually not really too much symbolic. Huh?

Another Symbolic Poem

There's moss on my roof.
From time to time I go up.
Climbing the ladder,
I clamber onto
The walkway roof, on my knees,
Then get to my feet,
Step over the gutter,
Go up to the ridge, begin
Scraping the biggest
Green clumps which tumble,
Roll back down the way I came.

Moss keeps returning.
I admit I love
The intense green, that moss green,
So I never clean
It all off the roof.

January 10, 2009 10:45 AM


I wish I could tell you that I am not this character. I wish I could say that I am loose of my roots and attachments, have picked up my begging bowl and have divested of all encumbrances. It is just not true, even though I have no heirs, no one to keep my concern present on the planet. I am not really done, disengaged. A little bit ago I blogged how I am pleased to know at least that if I die this moment, I am okay with it. This is not a pose. Neither am I interested in dying. That too is not a pose. If I was truly neutral then this would be an accomplishment. Then a day like today happens and I am so completely pleased with what happened on this blog today that I can't even conceive of going. So there is this other stream. I want to know what is going to happen next. So maybe, truth be told, I am not really that ready to die today. There would at this moment be some regret. This poem is about holding on to things cherished. The gifts I receive from you people are things I cherish.

Your Complaint

How it all changes
Breaks my heart when I hold on.
Then I say dark things.

I hate to tell you so.
I don't want to admit how
I forget fire burns
As well as warms me,
How water floods, also cleanses,
How air gives me life
And blows it away again,
And earth, oh the earth...
I will stand my ground
But once I thought I would die
The ground shook so hard.

That's my ancestry.
You complain I don't change much
And I guess I don't.

That's because
I'm still holding on.

January 9, 2009 9:16 AM


  1. Oh, I love both of them Christopher!

    The first brings to mind a periodic 'clean up' of the psyche...the second, wow.

    My blog is giving me a lot of pleasure lately too.

    Who'd a think it heh.


  2. I love the image of moss as both covering and loved and as pest that must be removed. I think we all have our own mosses on our roofs. Some of us leave more than others. Which is better? I love a moss-covered cottage!

    Love the contrasts in the second.

  3. Michelle, think thank thunk...what a shard of very old language. Sink sank sunk sunken, thunken. Heh. Germanic or Norse or something like that. From before English was anything like the English we know now...think thought. Wowee. How do you get there? Modern English tends to more regular stuff but think is an old word.

    Karen, I would leave it all if I could have someone else pay for the roof repair. I love it too.

  4. Wow this is such a look into the soul of a man. Vulnerable, human and still clinging to some memories.

    Love the reference to the moss. I think we all accumulate moss along the way.

  5. Thank you Missy. Glad you came by.

  6. That you hold on,
    this makes it safe for me
    to love you, even knowing
    one day
    I just might
    have to wail with the wind
    in a healthy course of mourning
    when you reluctantly
    take your leave.

    Other bright flames dance
    in the wind, mocking;
    daring her breath to strike
    them down
    I guard my heart against
    their charm, knowing
    they would never stay
    for me.

  7. The Wind Of Your Truth

    The wind of your truth
    pushes against me, testing
    my balance among
    this grove of ancient
    trees. Listen to the soughing
    of the upper limbs
    as the far dim sun
    slowly wakes this day and me
    thawing out beneath.

  8. I loved poetry as a child, a left it for awhile and then returned at 15 to Rod MacKuen no less and Robert Frost..yes I know.

    I had an old album proudly titled one hundred and one poems by Brenda (which is another name of mine) I left it again...I could not understand the fascination with poetry of some people..the lending of it so much importance and place. Rachel and you have brought me back in full force to that dance..and I may stay longer this time. I'm having a good time. Thankyou!

  9. As I'm reading this, thunder is rolling through the mountains and the rain is pouring down. It cleanses and mixes with the tears which still flow from yesterday's torrents. I feel a cleansing is happening, but know that some moss will remain, and that's ok, because without it, how would I remember all I have known?

    Dark things do make their way out, and rumble, yes stab loudly as they scream their way over the mountains, but the gleam when it clears, over the green green earth, the sparkle on the grass, the roots watered in, oh for that I will take the screaming thunder, as a shout from God that I remain, here, rooted into the earth.

  10. Ravi, welcome.

    Catv. you found the symbol though you have said it in your own expanded and beautiful way. In fact you found it so poetically that there is still room for some others to reach and touch in different ways.

  11. i thought the moss was symbolic of something.... but i didn't know what.... it's kinda like brushing your teeth.... or not.... i don't know....

  12. Ghost, I do like the idea it's about brushing teeth. HarHarHar.


    actually I brush too often to get moss.

  13. i think moss cleaning is composing poetry... all you described created this vivid reference to the way i write... the way my mind gets rid of the images and words that crowd it... and again they are there... and i love them and the cleaning...


    the second poem was a beautiful balance...

  14. Interpreting interpretation

    something too simplistic in saying that something means something simply because we mean it to

    if I say the word rose twenty times it no longer holds a definition and the petal gives way to red that becomes more red

    chrome becomes more chrome

    to write is to always already be a character in one's own story like the dreams in the daytime of a schizophrenic mind

    and then

    we're back to square one


    Hemingway once said to a room full of reporters having been asked for the thousandth time about his great work:

    "Listen. The old man is just an old man. The sea is just the sea. And the fish is just a f*&%ing fish!"


    Thanks for sharing your writing with us here in this forum and for always stopping by my site and leaving such thoughtful responses. Catch up with you again soon...

  15. oh... and hi to Human being in passing... who must have been writing her comment as I was writing mine...

    sometimes attached at the hip we are...

  16. ummmmm, by accident actually :)

  17. Jon, thanks for stopping by and giving Hemingway his due. I was going to say what I meant by my challenge but I have thought better of it.

    Human Being, That is just fine. Sometimes moss is just moss as Hemingway said. The evocation is call and response. (oooh this is hard. I will not say it. I will not say it. I will not say it.) Your image is perfect and aligned.

  18. :)

    and you know, sometimes a moss is a moss just for the writer but not for the reader...

    when we read, we RECREATE... and no one can deprive us of this right... even the writer...

    sometimes friends and even i myself when 'reading' my own work, find things i never had (consciously) in my mind while writing...

    i cherish them all...

    and i think if we had the intention that a moss be a moss, we would never write... we would just watch it...

  19. I think it's ok to hold on. I think it's just fine to enjoy this thing of life. And too, in those moments, those rare moments of perfection, then, then my heart says go and my feet almost listen.

  20. Human lady being, I agree. We are symbolists. People who prefer Hemingway's take on things don't doubt that. They say instead, leave it to the reader. They say, strive for the spare and let the reader fill in. This is like many cartoonists who let the reader draw imaginary lines where they are missing or add fingers to three or four fingered hands. It is a school. So is the artful addition of symbol on purpose. This school aims at adding symbols so cleverly and delicately that they cannot be picked out, but sensitive readers may tell companion stories, like Catv did that mirror the hidden symbol. This then is the story within the story.

    Erin, here comes the stage of life thing. As a mother, you know this because raising your children forces you to let go in stages until finally you have to act like my mom did and know her son has to make it on his own, and so agree with his distancing. For her own reasons, she literally moved to Missouri while I moved to Oregon. This is the same gesture you make as you age with life itself if you get it what is happening.

    It was only in her last stage of life that she moved five minutes away from me. This so she could die in my arms. Which she did.

  21. She came back to you, Christopher. She came back and died in your arms.
    My god!

  22. That is what happened. She died of stroke while she was recovering from hip surgery. She threw the stroke while I was visiting, so it was me that called for help, immediately. Three days later she died in coma but not so far gone that she couldn't communicate when she started to die too soon. I was there again. We got her morphine so she could continue to breathe. Finally her daughter got in and sat with her for forty five minutes. She started to fail and I moved to her side and held her while she struggled with her inability to inhale and then died. This is was a quiet easy thing compared to the fit she pitched that afternoon. I was just saying over and over it's okay, you can go now, we love you.

    So it was me three times in the process.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

Get Your Own Visitor Map!