Poetry written long ago

Saturday, I found some poetry that I wrote 20 years or so ago.  First, though, a little history.

I have been purging my house.  The process started a few years ago, when I decided to participate in keeping a neater house.  For the very longest time, I took no interest or responsibility in that kind of maintenance.  But with some outside help, I found myself developing better habits, slowly but surely.  Each week I complete certain parts of the ritual myself, and then I also have some help.  This change has helped me to shed some of the depression which has so affected my life.

Back around the beginning of the year, I began a job from a list I’d had for twenty years — weeding through my clothes and removing everything I hadn’t worn for a month.  I divided the job into two tasks, and while I’ve cleaned the drawers and the closet, I still have the storage closet to go.  You can read about this here; this link will connect you to the beginning of the process.

I started a new project on Saturday. A box has been sitting by my bed, for years, that contained bills, correspondence, and financial paperwork from my two-month hospitalization after my bypass surgery.  I’m not sure why I hadn’t worked on it before, but I started sorting and shredding this weekend, and finished with the medical stuff Saturday night.

In the bottom of the box, I had placed some of my schoolwork from seminary, 1988-1990.  I found a couple of spiral-bound notebooks which contain the very last handwriting I ever used — drafts of papers I later typed, and notes from classes.  In the margins of some of these were little snippets of poetry, and eventually I came to a section in the notebook with was all kinds of attempts at poems, although no copy of the one I did submit, which was returned to me by an editor with a note that said I should seek psychological counseling.

As I read and reread different attempts to write the same poem, trading words, and repeating phrases from one draft to the next, I could see what the editor was saying.  These were desperate cries for help.  Here are a couple of examples:

I, creator,

Made a desert –

A hateful, hurtful thing

Where green things grew,


The pain,

The burning,

The wounds and their scars,

The dead and

The dying,

The sand in my bed –

Justify the oasis

Which is



I have known you for

29 years, or 29 lives,

Or 29 centuries.

What did you say

Your name was?

Really sad, awful stuff.  And I have a lot more of it.  I am torn between having a ritual bonfire or simply shredding it and being done.  I will do one or the other — these words need a decent burial of some kind.

Now, having seen these two examples, you may understand why I am nervous about publishing anything in the genre.  This blog is a safe place, though, and is likely the best chance I’ll ever have to put those times behind me.  I’ll write poetry again as soon as they are gone.


10 responses to “Poetry written long ago

  1. If it pains you, toss it. You now have a copy in cyberspace if you ever need to refer back to it. Keep those eyes of yours pointed towards a brighter future! Smile: you’re getting better and better!

  2. If you want to be rid of it and can not decide between shredding or burning I am thinking that shredded papers burns. Just be careful if you do play with fire.

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