Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Poem of the Week - Scriptures and Strictures (10 May, 2011)

Selected by Mary Kling

This poem can be found at:

Sadly Waiting for Recess

a blog written by Richard Walker

Scriptures and Strictures

Wordsworth said nuns fret not / at their convent walls
I imagine Christians / are equally happy
with the walls / of their lives
for Heaven waits for them / the saved
space is saved for them / infinite space
in the presence of a God / omnipotent and omniscient
which messes with my mind / not bound by faith
Is God watching me write this poem?
Is He watching you read it?
Is it part of His plan / that I marvel
at the scriptures and strictures / I myself do not believe in?
in which I myself do not believe? / because that's better grammar
another set of rules to differentiate / between how we talk
and how we write / just being literate is a threshold we must cross
and stairs to keep climbing / the great books we read in college
when we were too young / to truly appreciate the wisdom within
so limited we were / by our youth and inexperience
so we wrote poems with enthusiasm / with passion
as if we invented erotic love / or at least sex
and what was wrong / with all the old people anyway
who had given up / the pleasures of the flesh
for the mind / and they thought / and thought
and told us our poetry was no good / a vomit spreading out
it needed form / we were just playing with the net down
the tennis balls crossing that center line / with ease
it was too easy / the water needed some cold
something more solid / a little rime / a little rhyme
and how about some recognizable meter / just for good measure
and don't even get them started / on light verse
or anybody popular / so we tried that / and it was mostly too hard
we liked it soft / but then we got all heady with linguistics
and the limits of language / to convey anything
of any substance / because they are insubstantial
a human invention / like God and religion and convent walls
just words / not the real thing / even words like Beauty and God
they're intangible / vast concepts / vast beings perhaps
or maybe even something of which we can't yet conceive
because we're so limited / so finite / so the words
paltry stick figures that they are / shadows on the cave wall
of the real thing / but they'll do / because they're all we've got
so we muddle through in our one-way through time sort of way
wishing we could see the future / or recover the past
which we can't / so we make the most of the moment
this now / these words / living a life with Love and Beauty
and God too if you've got room for Him / I don't mind
because I don't judge / I'm happy within my walls
and I'll let you be happy within yours / even if I think
yours are the wrong color / and your fence a little too high

(Note: the poem title and blog website names  are hyperlinked to the poet's site. By clicking on any of these a new window will open and you will be taken directly to the highlighted site. )

We hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s selection. Each week we select a poem from one of our members which we feel is a wonderful read. It is the poetry penned by our members and their willingness to share that is the core of our community. If you enjoyed reading this poem we can guarantee there will be many more like it so be sure to stop by next week and read what poem has been selected for your reading pleasure.


  1. Richard Walker is a true talent. Every time I read his work I realize I am looking at the output from someone who is mastering the art and craft of poetry-writing. I also appreciate his thoughtful, specific-to-the-work comments. We are lucky to share a community with him.

  2. Mary, what a wonderful pick! This poem is so rich with depth and meaning.......I especially love the ending, "your fence a little too high".......Richard, so glad you are here at Poets United!

  3. Kim, I agree with you about Richard Walker's talent and, as you mentioned, also enjoy his depthful well-thought-out comments on other people's work. Sherry, indeed the poem is rich with meaning. It is not an easy read, but a worthwhile one!

  4. I was so taken with this poem, left Richard a long, effusive comment. Hope he's blushing, because he really outdid himself. I am happy to be in such wonderful company!

  5. I am so happy to be a member now at Poets United; thanks, Robert. And a huge, heart-felt "thank you" to Mary for selecting my poem. I am deeply honored. And humbled by all the nice things that Kim, Mary, Sherry, and Amy have said. Amy, I'm not blushing, but crying. And they're tears of joy. I'm glad to be a part of this community, and this is the best welcome gift I could have received. Thank you.


  6. Fantastic! Love this poet and his poem.


  7. Mary, I was drawn in immediately by Richard's poem, one of the things he really does well. So much so that I used for the Cento Poem prompt at We Write Poems this week. So glad you showcased it, I still find it absolutely mind bending and an incredible read.

    Richard, congratulations and so glad you found us.


  8. This man's poetry blows me away as a rule. This one I have not read though and Whew, I have to catch my breath. So meaningful and some incredible writing, Mr. Walker!

  9. Richard, check out We Write Poems. It's a cento prompt and one poet used YOUR poem as inspiration! Now that's flattery. Amy

  10. Mr. Walker, your poem was beautiful...filled with contemplation and meaning. I've just discovered this blog and am very excited to see more.

  11. Pamela, thanks. You're a regular visitor at my blog(s) and I so appreciate that.
    Elizabeth, I feel like I won the trifecta. Not only did Amy think it was good enough to publish, Mary chose it for here, and you used it for your cento.
    Judy, thanks. I feel blown away by all the praise.
    Amy, thanks for the heads up. I burst into tears again when I found out what Elizabeth had done with her cento.
    Sweetest, welcome. I'm relatively new here, and you can see how welcoming everyone is.


  12. Mary, you have picked an amazing gift of a poem, and Richard, the depth and expansiveness of your poem really impress me. I will read it more than once. I like so much of it, the way it follows an instrospective, poetic individual from youth to maturity, the thought of how many of us (definitely me) read great books before we understood much of the wisdom, the sense of enthusiasm in writing early poetry of erotic love and feeling we had invented it. I also like the way you describe universalism in terms of accepting each others walls even if we don't like the color. That works for me.

  13. I love how he wrote this, the statement and then the question. It is beautiful and so soulful to see the apprehension and fear. So raw and beautiful!
    Amazing choice!!! I have to read it again~Bravo Richard~

  14. Richard, I am so impressed by your poem. These are things I have thought as well but never put them down as skillfully as this. I am so glad to discover your blog and will look at it often. I think you have visited mine as well and I thank you for your comments there. Mary you have introduced me to so much of the expanding world of poetry online. Thank you!

  15. Sweetest, thank you. I'm new here myself, but so happy to be.

    bttrflyscar, thanks.


  16. Victoria, I think your comment must have disappeared and reappeared. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words.

    Ella, thank you. It did come out kind of raw, but I think it works here; it was a different kind of poem for me.

    Peggy, thank you. I'm glad you liked it. And thanks for visiting my blog. It's great to be part of this online community.