Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

Carry on, the woman bolstered me.
I thought of all the things I try to carry—
thanked her. Then surprised, I disagreed.

Why carry troubles, haul a life’s debris
as if I were a barge, a human ferry?
Carry on, the woman bolstered me.

I took her words as blessing, certainly—
a benediction, kind and customary,
but thinking more about it, disagreed.

I felt the lifelong weight of all I cleave to—
convictions, hopes, and moods both blithe and scary
Carry on, the woman bolstered me.

Imagine if I dropped the weight, was freed
from the heroic self that makes me weary.
Her words were kind, but should I disagree?

Part of me clings to that belief—
that I must carry on, though spent, though teary.
Carry on, the woman bolstered me.
But must I? Part of me does not agree.


Hi friends, for kicks, this poem is written in an old French form, the villanelle. You can read all about its history and how to write one here

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When at last I feel solid again,
along come the mysterious tools
that carve in me
a new spaciousness.
Such painful excavation,
and yet somehow
inside this human shape,
I contain a grand canyon
deep enough for high risk;
a wrestling arena vast enough
for wings of angels
and storming demons of doubt;
and an entire concert hall
with acoustics so fine
that when the smallest voice
in me sits on stage and whispers
you can do it,
I can hear it clearly,
even in the cheap seats,
and though the song is tiny,
it’s so resonant
I sing along.

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When I think of encouragement,

I think of Jack Pera,

who stood every year

at the top of Imogene Pass—

in snow, in sun, in sleet, in fog.

On race day, a thousand plus runners

would reach the top,

weary, having climbed

over five thousand feet in ten miles,

and Jack, he would hold out his hand

and pull each of us up the last foot,

launching us toward the long downhill finish.

I remember how surprised I was

the first time, and grateful,

grateful to feel him reaching for me,

grateful to feel his powerful grip

yanking me up through the scree.

“Good job,” he’d say to each one of us,

cheering us though we were sweaty

and drooling and panting and spent.

After that first race, I knew to look for him

as I climbed the last pitch,

trying to make out his form

at the top of the ridge.

And there was. Every time.

“Good job,” he’d say

as he made that last steep step

feel like flight.

There are people who do this,

who hold out their hand,

year after year,

to help those who need it.

There are people who carry us

when we most need it,

if only for a moment.

When I heard today Jack had died,

I couldn’t help but imagine

an angel waiting there above him

as he took his last breath,

an angel with a firm grip and a big smile

holding out a hand, pulling him through that last effort,

telling him, “Good Job, Jack. Good job.”

And may he have felt in that moment

the blessing of that encouragement,

totally ready to be launched into whatever came next.

Good job, Jack Pera. Good job.

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