Quandary: What Am I Doing?


November PAD Challenge #13  at Poetic Asides

For today’s prompt, make the title of your poem a question; then, the poem should go about trying to answer the question. You can be direct in your answer or a little vague.

Quandary: What Am I Doing?

And what rhymes with quandary?
Laundry, and all of mine is dirty,
filling baskets, like plastic caskets,
holding only what is stained, and nothing
clean remains, only limp, wrinkled
remnants of long ago memory.

Deepest desire to write something
light. Tired of depth, that holds
nothing but darkness, depression.
Can I make a concession? Perhaps
confession is good for a soul, but
these poems, one each day, are not
playing fair and the air around here
is getting far too thick to breathe.
Desperately want to leave, run away
and start over.

Find some wide fenceless field of clover,
lay down in it, breathe deeply of its
freshness. Let others finish what
I have begun, turn away, and finally
be done with it. Not quite half way
through, what could anyone else do
with all of these words I am purging?

Constantly urging me to continue,
to write, tell this blighted story of you
and me, even though, I already know
that it lacks a happy ending. Bending,
but no matter what I may want, words
keep wending their way, chanting chatter
at inner ear, determined to shatter any
clover-filled image.

No, they will not diminish, until
they choose to finish, whatever this is
I am now doing.

Elizabeth Crawford  11/13/10

also for Writers Island prompt #29 Quandary

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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12 Responses to Quandary: What Am I Doing?

  1. Mary says:

    Holy Cow, Elizabeth. I just came to your poem here after posting mine. I am tired of depth and darkness in my work too, but that is what comes, apparently needs to come forward. And so true what you say, we aren’t yet halfway through the month. I do know that words have purpose. For you. For me. So bring on the next prompt, Robert!! As I don’t think either of us is going to find a fenceless field of clover this time of year. LOL. (Just gotta laugh a bit!)

    The ‘Holy Cow’ certainly made me laugh. You can tell we are both from Wisconsin, lol. I know what the darkness and depression are about. It is a natural occurrence when one is doing what we are attempting to do. We put on the psychic brakes because we are headed toward those places we would prefer to keep hidden, or at least under lock and key. It is moving and we want to stay in control as much as possible. But, that is the purpose of the words. To get it all out there on the table. That is the healing of following the words. And healing sometimes doesn’t feel so great, especially at the beginning. And I agree, bring it on Robert, we old women still have a few tricks up our sleeves. I was out shopping today and thought I should maybe look for some clover scented air freshner, lol. Do they even make such a thing? I am so glad you are in this with me. Thank you,



  2. vivinfrance says:

    Oh boy, Elizabeth: I think you need a drink, and a good comedy show on TV. I agree wholeheartedly with your “these poems, one each day, are not
    playing fair and the air around here
    is getting far too thick to breathe.”

    I think we’re all getting a bit jaded at this almost half-way stage.

    I like the rhymes and half rhymes – and maybe it would be good to find another for for stanza 3.
    Keep ’em coming.

    We are certainly on the same wavelength. I was thinking a great deal about making a bucket of Amaretto Slush today. Settled for a couple of movies, a bucket of popcorn, and a bag of M&M’s. It’s about the same sugar content, yes? But must finish these comments before I dive in. Then it is escape hatch heaven.

    Stanza three is where it started getting a bit ragged. Good eye, woman. It is a roller coaster ride, this poetry thingie, we do. But, I also think it is well worth the ups and downs and the loop-de-loops. It is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. And neither of us is that, at this point, or age. We will continue, I’m counting on you. Thanks and lots of cyber hugs,

    Love backatcha,



  3. anthonynorth says:

    I know the feeling well. But somehow I always continue with my writing.
    Great words, from the heart.

    I am sure that you do Anthony. Your writing is often fluid, yet thought provoking and I know that means a lot of hard and concentrated effort. And I am the same, always continuing because there is still so much to explore, be said, then written. Hope we never quit.



  4. pamela says:

    So, glad to see that I am not the only one having some difficulty with these prompts.
    I always enjoy what you write. Though darkness does seem to be creeping over some of you, lol.

    Pamela, our own shadows more than likely. This is concentrated writing. And I am reminded of what Natalie Goldberg said, “To be a writer, one must dig a deep hole, crawl into it, and then call all the wild creatures down there with you.” Our shadow elements are full of wild things that prefer to stay hidden within those darker places. This type of ongoing writing has a tendency to bring them out to protect their territory. It is only natural they do so. Glad to see you sticking to it, as will I, and thank you for your comments,



  5. kaykuala says:

    It is an affliction affecting all of us? Maybe some. There comes a time when it hurts. I do feel it too. Very well presented!


    Hello Hank and thanks for stopping and joining in on the conversation. As I’ve already said, what most of us are experiencing is a very natural thing. We are stepping outside our norm, finding new and different ways of seeing and knowing. We would prefer to go back and be comfortable. This is hard work. Ahhhh, but also immensely satisfying. We are now almost half way through it. I, for one, find that amazing, and even though I only hint at that here, I am so enjoying this journey, flexing muscles that were getting lax, and far too comfortable. I am certainly surprising myself and hope you are doing and finding the same. Hats off to all of us,



  6. Amanda says:

    Things catching up with you? sounds like you need a little Zen in your life. I have to say tho your poem was well written, very catchy actually I enjoyed it, I hope things mellow out for you soon!

    Lol, Amanda, I’m sure they will when the PAD Challenge ends. Or maybe they won’t. I am exploring new/old territory and sorting out things that should have been sorted long ago. I am reaching beyond the familiar and surprising myself in the process. I am releasing the resistance that is natural to the process, and at my age, all of that can only be a blessing. Thanks for joining in the conversation. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem, at this point in time and in my own process, it was necessary. Tomorrow is a brand new day,



  7. Mary says:

    Having a sleepless time here, so came to read things…including your comments here. I generally eventually do, whether I speak or not, in case you wonder if your response words are read. Yes, clover scented air freshener might be a good thing. I am glad you are in this with me too, as I look forward to seeing what you will do with Robert’s torturous prompts. Today’s similarities did amaze me.

    Hi Mary, I don’t quite see the prompts as torturous. More synchronistic, but often pulling an “oh no,” response, before settling down and doing the task. I am pretty sure this particular series of poems would not have been written under other circumstances. As unknowing as I know it all is, I sometimes feel Robert is sitting back somewhere, dreaming up how to get all of us to move to that next step and then beyond it. And I’m glad you come back and read. I often do the same sort of thing. Thanks again, you are so supportive,



  8. Tilly Bud says:

    Wonderful stream of consciousness going on here – I don’t think you need to worry too much about your writing.

    Thanks Tilly Bud, but don’t we all do that? It’s a part of the process. If we didn’t care, we certainly would not be here doing it day after day. That, or we are just schmucks, lol.



  9. Diane T says:

    Elizabeth, I like your question and how your mind traveled as you went about answering it. Inside each of us we have so many stories, and it sounds like PAD is moving your mind to write this particular one. I am journeying right along with you to see just where it will lead. One day at a time.

    Diane, I have no idea either, and think that might be a really good thing in a way. I don’t think I would have ever attempted to tell this story in this manner, certainly not on my own. But, it actually started the first day and I am amazed that it continues. Amazed and strangely satisfied and even comforted. It was time. Thanks for the interest and the comments. Sometimes these comments mean more to me than the poems do. They allow me to see them from differing perspectives, and that will be important when we are done and trying to put them into some sort of manuscript form.



  10. Wonderful, wonderful post. Please forgive, but the idea of the “pony in the pile of shit” kept returning throughout the write. You say, that there is not a happy ending, I wonder….perhaps there is a pony there? And how would you define happiness? Is it possible you are happy, and don’t even know it? That might be the happy ending of which you speak?

    Whew! Annell you take my breath away. Am not familiar with the pony in the pile of shit story, but I get enough of your drift to wonder if my response is no more than habit. How would I define happiness? What a question you ask. And one that I will be delving into for days to come. Thank you, and I mean that honestly and sincerely. Thank you,



  11. vivinfrance says:

    Annell, I remember that story about the pessimistic and the optimist twins and their Christmas present. Yes. I’m sure there’s a happy ending: we writers can write our own!


  12. ninotaziz says:

    And yet we would not give up writing for anything else…

    Thank you Ninotaziz, and no, we wouldn’t give it up. That is the price we pay for being followers after the words. They will take us to all those places we want to go, but also to the ones we would definitely prefer to not see, or sometimes, even know about.



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