Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Safety

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where 
we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
Maya Angelou, All God's Children . . .

 “Would you give up the craft of your hands, and the passion of your heart, and the hunger of your mind, to buy safety?”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore 


“When we are taught that safety lies always with sameness, then difference, of any kind, will appear as a threat”
bell hooks 

Midweek Motif ~ Safety

Do we have or offer safety?  A reasonable amount of safety? Or maybe a"feeling of safety"?

Mostly, I live as if I have safety, spinning an atmosphere of safety around me, inviting others in. 

Your Challenge: In a new poem, give us an experience of safety or lack of safety or a change from one to the other. 
Safety fence on side of footpath high above the B 2139 at Abingworth - - 1671291.jpg
Safety fence on side of footpath, Abingworth, photo by Dave Spicer

- 1952-
One narcissus among the ordinary beautiful
flowers, one unlike all the others!  She pulled,
stooped to pull harder—
when, sprung out of the earth
on his glittering terrible
carriage, he claimed his due.
It is finished.  No one heard her.
No one!  She had strayed from the herd.

(Remember: go straight to school.
This is important, stop fooling around!
Don't answer to strangers.  Stick
with your playmates.  Keep your eyes down.)
This is how easily the pit
opens.  This is how one foot sinks into the ground.

Out of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to me,
Whispering, I love you, before long I die,
I have travell’d a long way merely to look on you to touch you,
For I could not die till I once look’d on you,
For I fear’d I might afterward lose you.

Now we have met, we have look’d, we are safe,
Return in peace to the ocean my love,
I too am part of that ocean, my love, we are not so much separated,
Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect!
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us,
As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us diverse forever;
Be not impatient – a little space – know you I salute the air, the ocean and the land,
Every day at sundown for your dear sake, my love.


"Fern Hill" by Dylan Thomas

           I drew solitude over me, on the long shore.
                                        —Robinson Jeffers, “Prelude”

          For whoever does not afflict his soul through this day, shall be
          cut off from his people.
                                                                           —Leviticus 23:29

What is a Jew in solitude?
What would it mean not to feel lonely or afraid
far from your own or those you have called your own?
What is a woman in solitude:   a queer woman or man?
In the empty street, on the empty beach, in the desert
what in this world as it is can solitude mean?
The glassy, concrete octagon suspended from the cliffs
with its electric gate, its perfected privacy
is not what I mean
the pick-up with a gun parked at a turn-out in Utah or the Golan Heights
is not what I mean
the poet’s tower facing the western ocean, acres of forest planted to the east, the woman reading in the cabin, her attack dog suddenly risen
is not what I mean
Three thousand miles from what I once called home
I open a book searching for some lines I remember
about flowers, something to bind me to this coast as lilacs in the dooryard once
bound me back there—yes, lupines on a burnt mountainside,
something that bloomed and faded and was written down
in the poet’s book, forever:
Opening the poet’s book
I find the hatred in the poet’s heart: . . . the hateful-eyed
and human-bodied are all about me: you that love multitude may have them
Robinson Jeffers, multitude
is the blur flung by distinct forms against these landward valleys
and the farms that run down to the sea; the lupines
are multitude, and the torched poppies, the grey Pacific unrolling its scrolls of surf,
and the separate persons, stooped
over sewing machines in denim dust, bent under the shattering skies of harvest
who sleep by shifts in never-empty beds have their various dreams
Hands that pick, pack, steam, stitch, strip, stuff, shell, scrape, scour, belong to a brain like no other
Must I argue the love of multitude in the blur or defend
a solitude of barbed-wire and searchlights, the survivalist’s final solution, have I a choice?
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)


 Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
Next week, Sumana's prompt will be "Televised." 


  1. This is such a wonderful prompt Susan. And what choice of poems! One truly feels the power of words!
    Hello everyone! A very happy Wednesday! I'll be without my laptop for a few days. I'll catch up with you all soon.

    1. Thank you, Sumana. One of the greatest USA writers, Toni Morrison, died this week. During her Nobel prize speech she said: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Seems relevant here!

  2. Good Day, Poets United! I'm 5th! Just got back from walking in the YMCA pool, something I started doing in July when I took some time off to spend time with my folks for Dad's memorial and to deal with new Bursitis in my left knee and just a need to rest. And I feel quite rested. I want you to know I planned this prompt before the series of shootings in USA locations that have us all on edge and in mourning. Yet, I am under the weight of that. Love to all.

  3. Thank you for the prompt. It is indeed very timely. Normally, "safety" would instil in me a sense of security but right now, it doesn't seem anywhere is safe.

  4. A rainy morning here, in T&T. Good morning Wednesday poets


    much love...

    1. We will have the storm this afternoon! Stay dry.

  5. I wrote a depressing poem on this topic, because the news is so discouraging. But i may try to write a brighter one, if possible to link. Will be back. Susan, it is so good to have you back! Yay!

    1. Thank you, Sherry. It's good to be back. Please do bring around another poem if you wish. (No more than 2.)

  6. Great prompt Susan. I tried a new form, an obscure one called the Pollock.


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