The Life Waiting

For Sunday’s Whirligig: Wordle #25

birthday, pared, dazzling, weapons, sparks, move,
eroding, rot, stumps, resentments, choking, gate

For The Sunday Whirl: Wordle #217

evict, nick, trick, valley, threat, scent,
dash, deny, try, subside, flee, free

For Poets United: Poetry Pantry #270

dscn4045a5The Life Waiting

We must be willing to get rid
of the life we planned, so as to have
the life that is waiting for us.

___Joseph Campbell

The single birthday I remember clearly,
was my fortieth. Most of the others are lost.
Some deep valley of denial? Trick of mind?
Closing gates of memory, eroding every scent
or sight of a spark in personal experience?

A few, no more than nicked stumps, choked growth
lacking movement, or dashing moments, which
would allow them to exist even in pared down
fashion. Pulled forward, they swiftly subside,
as if to flee any threat from further exposure.

Neither evicted, nor seen as rotted by a sense
of resentment, they simply hold no flame
to compare with that one dazzling evening.
When, with new found weapons of freedom,
I let go of the life someone else had planned

and truly embraced the one that was waiting.

Elizabeth Crawford  9/20/15

Notes: Purely biographical. When I got the two word lists, the only word that jumped out at me was birthday. So, I put them away and let them sit. But, that word had me thinking about the fact that in a few months I’ll turn 70 (whew!) Then trying to remember others and realizing I don’t remember them. Only a few, because I’ve written birthday poems for some. Except for my fortieth. Newly divorced, I had recently rented a small house for myself and youngest children. I was a junior in college, so on the spur of the moment, wanting to celebrate, I invited some of my friends from school to a very casual Bring Your Own Bottle party. The numbers grew and one of those friends invited my adviser and mentor. He accepted and brought his wife and a bottle of wine. I had warned everyone that the house was small and that most would be sitting on the floor. We watched two Monty Python movies: The Meaning of Life, and The Life of Brian. There was lots of laughter as we sang along with the music, and afterward had a wonderful conversation about poetry and Walt Whitman. After most of them had departed, I overheard a conversation between two of my women friends, who were standing in the kitchen, while I sat in the over-stuffed rocker in the living room, finishing off a small bottle of Zinfandel, one of them had gifted to me. “Should we be worried about Elizabeth? She’s gone very quiet, but is smiling.” There was a brief silence. “She’s fine, just dreaming about her new Elizabeth life.” For months afterward, when any of us would meet in the coffee shop or cafeteria, we’d start singing, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life…

Image is a bonfire photograph put through the kaleidoscope app.

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:
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22 Responses to The Life Waiting

  1. Sumana Roy says:

    While reading the poem I almost forgot that you were using given words…wow…love the quote and like the way you used it and also like your note….great lines….


  2. oldegg says:

    I agree with Sumana I couldn’t believe that 24 prompt word were in that piece of writing that flowed so well, inspirational and beautiful in fact.


  3. Jae Rose says:

    Your new Elizabeth life…i love the conviction in that belief which is effortlessly conveyed in your poem and the fiery certainty of the image..making our own path is a milestone to smile about and celebrate – and 70 is a fine age – perhaps for you too even 40 felt like a long shot in the ‘old’ life…best wishes to you


  4. so the old adage is true – and 30 years you’ve been living your Elizabeth life. Between the whirl and the whirligig you’ve created a marvellous memory in a maze of half and best forgotten ones


  5. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    Such a beautifully emotive poem 🙂


  6. Very nicely done. Seamless.


  7. drpkp says:

    Absolutely love the quote and the way your poem beautifully led to it …


  8. annell4 says:

    Happy Birthday for your coming birthday! I like this piece…remember other days, other birthdays…and maybe the best of all, number 40! Sounded like such fun, and a good way to face what was to come…the new Elizabeth life.


  9. Mary says:

    It is a beautiful moment when one realizes one has shed the life others had planned for you and you have taken on the life that you yourself want! This is an empowering poem, Elizabeth; and I enjoyed the afterwords too. I hope you are continuing to live that life you want.


  10. It took me a long time to realise that always looking on the bright side of life was an essential part of growing older in the way we wish to. I know some pessamistic people who don’t, and I feel a little sorry for them.
    Rosey Pinkerton’s blog


  11. magicalmysticalteacher says:

    The Joseph Campbell quote is the perfect introduction to your poem. You handle all the words well, weaving them into a story that is truly yours.



  12. I love the comment about you, “looking forward to your new Elizabeth life.” I remember my 40th too, and how somebody wished me a “wild year”…..and it turned out to be one, to my delight. I enjoyed this, my friend. I am facing the big 7-0 next summer too and it is hard to wrap my mind around. But it beats the alternative, cackle.


  13. C.C. says:

    I like the phrase, “weapons of freedom”—there is certainly something freeing about letting go of the life someone else had planned and embracing the one that is waiting ahead of you! I love the image, too. Very cool.


  14. ZQ says:

    You are always so creative with your assignments,,,


  15. Susan says:

    Well done! I realized I too have several stumps and few memorial birthdays. I love how you highlighted 40 and personal freedom.


  16. Oh yes embracing the life we were meant to live….if we are lucky enough…I am doing that now and finding my way with that same quiet smile.


  17. myrna says:

    What a nice story Elizabeth. I can relate to much of it. I’m having a birthday this week (69) and the year that stands out for me is my 40th. Enjoyed your poem.


  18. totomai says:

    As they say, life begins at forty – maybe that could be the reason why it stood out amongst your birthday. thanks for sharing the back story too. that was surely a blast.


  19. glmeisner says:

    Its amazing the random things we remember.


  20. Misky says:

    And a heartfelt well done, too!


  21. julespaige says:

    Two ways to deal with birthdays…celebrate all, or in the case of Hubby’s side after you are 18 – none. I’ve been busy with grandchildren and sometimes traveling with hubby for his work.
    Best to you. ~Jules


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