Friday, February 17, 2006


Duty is a stern mother:
Do your homework first.
Finish the cleaning before you read.
A place for everything and everything in its place.
Don’t be late!

Duty is a tiny house,
no room for big projects.
Desires ricochet off the walls
to ‘shoulds.’
Always stubbing my toe on something.

Duty is a pair of old jeans,
comfortable, unpretentious, serviceable,
sturdy, familiar,

Attention to duty means well-fed children,
happy parents,
a manicured lawn,
a reconciled account,
a shining car,
...a freezer full of dreams.

© 2004 - V. Nesdoly

This is my poem of dissent. A stand against taking too much direction from ‘duty.’ In some ways I hesitate to share it because it’s how I felt at one point in time – not so much any more.

However, Natalie Goldberg in the chapter “We Are Not the Poem” from Writing Down the Bones, says:

We think our words are permanent and solid and stamp us forever. That’s not true. We write in the moment....Every minute we change. ...It is important to remember we are not the poem. People will react however they want; and if you write poetry, get used to no reaction at all. But that’s okay. The power is always in the act of writing...Don’t get caught in the admiration for your poems....It is very painful to become frozen with your poems...The real life is in writing not in reading the same ones over and over again for years...Don’t identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black-and-white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture.
pp. 32,33

Perhaps now I should write a sequel to ‘Duty’ – about how I have been able to take some of those dreams out of the freezer, and watch them thaw and come to life despite duty’s demands.


Julana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julana said...

You're tempting me to quit my old blog and get an anonymous poetry blog. :-)

violet said...

No, no. Don't quit the old blog - do both!