Good morning all,
Since I have a little pull with the moderator of this blog, I decided to post one of my own poems for today’s submission.
I wrote this poem after stumbling across an old picture of myself on a canoe trip before becoming ill. I was blinded by the memory of once being strong enough to carry a heavy backpack along a three kilometre portage. I had forgotten that once upon a time, I wasn’t sick. Here was proof. The poem reflects the mixture of emotions I felt in response to this picture.
The Girl with the Backpack
The picture is a little fuzzy
She didn’t want to be photographed
The large backpack was heavy
The long portage waited
“Just take the picture already”
Tall and strong
Long hair pulled back
With the wisps blowing in the breeze
She was ready to hack it off
So heavy and hot
Not knowing that a few years later
Chemotherapy would do the job for her.
She couldn’t know this would be the last trip
That her changing body wouldn’t allow her to go
to that place of deep quiet and true darkness anymore
She was a bit crabby that day
Maybe it was that time of the month
The chemotherapy claimed that too
Something she never thought she would miss
You want to tell that girl to shape up
To stop whining about the heat and mosquitoes
To pay close attention
So that she could replay the details later
I would like to be her again
Just for a day
To remember what was:
the smell of green
The cool silkiness of the water on bare skin
The clarity of the stars at night
The feel of paddle in hand
Traveling away and away
Yet for all of her physical vitality
She was a frail creature on the inside
She was easily led away from herself
She writhed with self-consciousness
Avoided the hard things
And felt herself always on shifting sands.
She didn’t know how to be her.
She is stronger now
With fortitude she never imagined
Grounded like a tree
Yes she would like to hide in her old self a while
Trade up for a healthy body
But would not sacrifice the hard-earned sturdiness
that helps her now come back from the woods and face the future.