Monday, March 25, 2013

Poem of the Week ~ Dancing Broken

Kids, this week a poem by Jennifer Wagner at Poet Laundry just whapped me upside the head with its compassionate understanding of the struggle so many have with the pain of addiction.

Jennifer and her family live in the Pacific North-West, where Jennifer writes, takes care of  her "hero-husband and wonderful family." Here is her very moving work, this week's Poem of the Week: 

                        There Go I, Dancing Broken                            

she said
she was drying out

and needed to get clean

i just held her hand
as she wept

holding her hair back
while she threw up

nearly 20 years

of the most hideous
and sobering regrets

and, like natural childbirth,
there is not much you can do

but be there

while she learns how
to nurture a new life beyond it

and remind her

even if you’re walking broken
you can learn how to dance again

Copyright © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

Recently, I also came upon this most beautiful poem of Janet Martin's, so lyrical and lovely. Here is a second offering, for your enjoyment.

Twilight Rhapsody

Beneath his moody murmur and caress
Softly she comes surrendering her lilt
Of azure glance and golden sun-flecked dress
To lie where cobalt shadow-song is spilt
All day he waited as her overture
Wove mystery to history; but now
He drapes his crushing longing over her
And smooths life’s ruthless laugh-lines from her brow
Out past the fields where tree-tops touch the sky
The vesper croons its burnished lullaby

The wheel from which her gossamer is spun
Replenishes its thread with somber hues
The filament of moments in the sun
Deepens to shrouds of midnight-tinted blues
Yet, he does not excuse his solemn trance
But softly wraps her in his muted hush
He gathers her into a gentle dance
Kissing her wantonness; horizons blush
As on the fringe of yesterday and dawn
A molten glow erupts; then it is gone

Beneath the vault where love and life unfold
She lays aside her tattered, tear-stained gown
Relinquishing her being to his hold
How tenderly he watches her lie down
The hour of her gallantries subside
Within the candor of his raw embrace
Somewhere the fringe of earth and sky collide
But darkness spills its sigh across her face
And now against his brawny chest she sleeps
He strums the air as star-song fills the deeps

© Janet Martin

Do visit Janet's site, kids. You'll find many wonderful poems by this poet, who describes herself as "a lover of moments in the music of life."

Thanks, Jennifer, for the compassion and emotion in your poems, and for being a part of Poets United. And thank you, Janet, as well, for your amazing contributions to our poetic treasury!


  1. Dancing Broken really speaks to me and to so many people, I'd imagine. It is a witness for so many of us. Thanks.

  2. really amazing! what I think I appreciate most about this is the pure honesty, helplessness, lack of judgment, hope and love all wrapped in layers that the reader can easily peal off one by one to reveal and understand what some friends and family have trouble grasping when someone they love is suffering from addiction.

  3. I have really become a fan of Jennifer's work, Sherry. She is a very talented poet, and what's more is one of the poets here who truly believes in reciprocity as far as commenting. (And, believe me, I notice that.) And yes, Jennifer, even if a person dances 'broken' it is possible to dance again!

  4. This poem really spoke to me, Jennifer, as I know very well the effects of addiction, especially on those near and dear who care about the one suffering. I love the compassion and the "being there" of the narrator. Truly, it is a gift to simply be there with someone in such pain.

  5. Thank you to each of you for your kind words!

    Thanks for spotlighting this poem of mine Sherry. This piece is very personal to me and I teared up when I saw you had chosen it. I’m also honored to share the spotlight with Janet Martin who is amazing! Love her most talented work. I’m grateful to be part of such a wonderful community of talented poets!

    I also wanted to say regarding my poem that if you are a person struggling to move past addiction, I hope you are not doing so alone and that you have a support system. But if you do or don’t yet have a friend to ‘hold your hair back’ so to speak, I want to say: be a friend to yourself. Don’t give up on yourself, condemnation and discouragement will come, but don’t give up.

    Fall down, get up…dance again.

  6. wonderfully exposed. 'Dances with Vodka' said it well. I agree with you Mary

    Thank you Jennifer; Gracias Sherry

  7. I loved this poem when I read it on her blog. I think she is the most exciting new poet I have found in ages. She has a particular knack for really amazing endings. I'm a big fan.

  8. Jennifer is one of my favorite poets. Her work is so well crafted, heartfelt with a voice tender yet powerful. I love this poem which so aptly describes the power of addiction as well as the struggle so many face in trying to overcome it. The last line, so full of hope. Wonderful!

  9. Add my name to the list of Jennifer's fans. She has an uncanny ability to address challenging topics without bravado or aggression. She weaves an honest tale and ties up the loose ends.

  10. I also love the artistry and flow of Janet's poem. What a pleasure reading them both. Thank you!


  11. Sherry, thank-you for being a warrior in the world of poetry, and for your ever-encouraging voice! We love and appreciate you so much. Thank-you for showcasing Jennifer's work! She is one of my personal fav's! I agree with Kim!

  12. Janet is a wonderful writer whose work I greatly admire. This particular poem is quite beautiful with a lovely flow.

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  13. I'm feelin' the love! Thank you all so much. Your words are so encouraging. And I second your words Janet--thank you Sherry! We (heart) you!

  14. Congrats Jennifer n' Janet....two of my favorite poets :D

  15. Both poems and poets are so deserving of this recognition. I get great pleasure in reading them both. Well done Poets.

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