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Shattered [work in progress]

July 29, 2010

This is a work in progress I am hoping to include in the “dark” section of my next book. It was one of the early pieces I wrote about acceptance of loss and the inevitability of departure, and I’ve been sitting on it for some time before attempting to make revisions. I’m happy with most of the imagery and emotion in it. I’m wondering whether the rhythm needs to be more defined. Does it seem too long, with too much repetition in certain lines? And does the end of each section give a clear picture, or do the final lines need to be strengthened? Let me know what you think.

It has happened.
The crashing waves
no longer drown out my screams.
The sea is calm
and I am silent
as you stand facing me
unblinking, unaffected
perhaps even uncaring.
(Yes, that is how it seems.)
We still share the same space.
You could still reach for my fingers
and clasp my hand.
But knowing you will not do so
has drawn a thin line in the sand
perpendicular to our previous path
along the foam’s edge.
It’s no deeper than a furrow,
with soft sides that roll inward
so that we could slide down them,
still meet in the center,
falling into each other like children
tumbling into a heap after a pillow fight.
But you stand straight
move your foot inches forward
and smudge out the line with your toe,
asking me to step back,
give ground,
always asking for more.

But now I know
am now sure
of only one thing:
I have already given too much.
And you force me to grasp
all I have left
to hold that smooth, narrow,
curved piece of driftwood,
hold on to it tightly
as I reach down
and draw that line
deeper into the sand:
through the dry layer
with its soft sides
into the wet hardpan—
colder, darker—
carving defined walls
as you keep pressing for more.
I am protecting all I have left
Separating it from you as I must.
How deep will you force me to go?
How much of a chasm must I make
for you to realize
you have left me no choice?
I must pivot and walk away
whether you stand and watch me go
or turn and do the same.
Because you will never again
reach for my hand,
never stand straight for me
so that I may lean on you
as we set off together
leaving only parallel tracks in the sand.

—Julie Laing

17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2010 1:18 pm

    hello, friend:

    I invite you to Attend Thursday Poets Rally Week 29, linking in a poem by commenting,

    Happy Friday!


  2. belladonna23 permalink
    September 11, 2010 7:36 am

    Hey Julie, I love this one. I just wanted to let you know I’m here, reading your work.
    lots of love girl! ❤ 🙂


    • September 14, 2010 9:50 am

      Thanks so much! Sorry I’ve been slow on the updates lately; I hope to get back on track in a couple of weeks.


  3. August 31, 2010 3:07 pm

    The visual of perpendicular lines hit me so uncomfortably – what a brilliant way to show the relationship, and to end the poem with the parallel lines that you would have had, if you could.

    This isn’t angry, yet it clearly shows how broken you became and how you had to salvage with detachment that part of you which was never given, and would have been taken if offered.

    Nice work, Julie.


    • September 1, 2010 10:49 am

      Thanks! This is one of the pieces I’m fine-tuning for what I hope will soon be a new book, and I’m happy to hear the emotion and sentiments intended in it are coming through. I hope you keep reading as I keep posting–such insightful feedback is what I was seeking when I decided to start this blog!


  4. August 30, 2010 7:37 am

    Happy Monday,
    5 awards 4 u, enjoy!

    simply open a page titled awards, display them, feel proud…
    the first 3 awards are not to be passed on,


  5. August 26, 2010 5:38 pm

    help visit 5 to 10 poets in the list to say Happy (Belated) Birthday…
    take the butterfly award.
    share with 1 to 10..
    or keep it to yourself.


  6. August 20, 2010 5:56 pm

    thanks for voting,
    it went to spam at times,
    I always drag them out ….

    Happy Weekend!


  7. August 17, 2010 8:16 pm

    help visit a long time Poets Rally member celebrate her twin babies’ birthday today,
    all the best!
    Thank you in advance!


  8. August 8, 2010 12:13 pm

    poetry community information,
    plus Thursday Poets Rally announcement,..



  9. August 8, 2010 4:50 am

    a very heartfelt and painful poem.. i find my voice in your poem, i can truly relate to it…
    thank you for sharing this poem, Julie..


    • August 9, 2010 11:30 am

      Thanks for your comments; it is always encouraging to know a personal piece can touch others. I’ll continue posting completed and unfinished work, so I hope you keep reading!


  10. August 7, 2010 8:22 pm

    u r nominated,
    please visit poets and vote for 1 -? up to 30 poets,
    u win one vote for yourself if you vote for other poets…
    have fun!


  11. August 7, 2010 8:22 pm

    what vivid and touching words you have here,
    fabulous poem!


    • August 9, 2010 12:05 pm

      Thanks, Jingle! I’m still tweaking this piece, but I think it’s on the right track.


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