(The Return of) Bad Poetry Thursday: Moving Forward

Walking through the forest
Deeper than before
Darker than I imagined
An anticipated adventure and journey

Stepping carefully and cautiously
Worrying of the footfall’s placement
What lies ahead – completely unknown
Pondering what could be ahead

Feelings of fear and excitement
Feed each step through the trees
Branches clawing unseen in the dark
Raking skin and catching clothing

I hear Her voice somewhere ahead
A soft whisper beckoning me on
Deeper into the darkened forest
An unknown where I now belong

I wrote this four years ago. I may have posted it on the blog before. However, this showed up as a memory on Facebook yesterday. This serves as a reminder that every step in the darker portion of the forest is not always easy to take. As I look over the last four years, I see so many unexpected twists and turns that have occurred in my life. None of them I ever expected. A few turned out far different than I ever imagined would happen. However, each – in its own way – has provided me with experiences, emotions, and lessons that have helped to shape the Path I am on today. What lies ahead? I really have no idea, but the only way to find out is to keep moving ahead. 😊

Bad Poetry Thursday: Stealing My Sight

I have watched beyond the horizon
Staring past the Sun’s last rays
Hoping for a glimpse of the Future
Of things I cannot seem to say

The future is there to be seen
But the Sun slips beyond the edge
Darkness steals my sight from me
I dare not move further on my ledge

In the morning, the Sun climbs high
The Past can so easily be seen
The light of the day provides the lens
For all that has already been

At day’s end, the Sun drops in the West
Beyond the edge, waving a quiet good night
Taking the Future beyond with it
As darkness, again, steals my sight

When I first started trying to figure out how to read the Tarot, I kept trying to see it as a prognostication tool. Something that could provide foresight into what was to come. In some sense, I still believe that it can be utilized in that way, but I have also begun to realize that it can also be a tool to work on what one sees in their own mind. The symbology can be very personal. The interpretation can provide some meaning and perspective into what is currently on one’s mind. it can also be easily misread too. As I note in the poem, when the Sun sets and darkness takes hold – my natural perspective is to stop and not take another step forward. I have no perspective for how high the ledge is or how close I am to the edge or even how precarious my footing currently may be. When darkness robs your vision and perception, you move a little slower, a little more deliberate. And to be completely honest, Tarot is not a flashlight or a torch that can be used to light your way. From my perspective, its a tool to help understand and determine your state of mind. That perception can be like the dawning light of the early morning, where everything is lightly illuminated, and you can see a bit better…just not completely clear.

That’s not likely the way anyone else may see things with the Tarot. My perspective might not be pretty, but its where I am tonight. 🙂

–T /|\

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Bad Poetry Thursday (Late): I Am Here…and Still Awake

Listening to the sound of the rain falling
The patter tattooing the concrete outside the window
I can hear the sounds of cars whooshing on the highway
As everyone heads out into their lives with direction

I have felt so lost, surviving on a tide pulling me out to sea
Drifting aimlessly along the shore line
Not sure of where I am going or what I can do
Further and further away from where I want to be

Here, I try to sleep to the distant sounds of the trains
Nothing of what I am used to hearing or feeling
Sounds of video games in the next room
Or the bells from the cat’s collar as she runs down the hall

Yet, I am here….and still awake.

Being away from home is never an easy thing for a lot of people. The bed feels different. Even if you bring your own pillow, the sheets don’t have the same feel. The blankets don’t have the same feel. And if you have animals that like to hang out on your bed, nothing smells like them. The noises outside are different. Even the air in the room can feel different. For me, I try to fool my body and mind a little bit with white noise. Typically, I do this by leaving the television on with the volume down fairly low. But, the commercials tend to be louder…so there’s sometimes that jarring moment in the middle of the night when a particularly loud commercial comes on. With me trying to work through my own internal and mental issues…all of that just adds on to a lot of other things. With my mind racing, I tend to turn everything off and just listen. This morning, it’s raining. Not very heavy. But I can still hear it when I have the window cracked open. That act of listening helps me to focus my mind. And this morning, my mind is on home. I miss being home. Just a few days longer.

–T /|\

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Bad Poetry Thursday: The Road Not Taken (Frost)

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Instead of spending my time trying to hack out another of my horrible poems, I thought it might be more appropriate to post one of my all-time favorites, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. This particular work has a lot of meaning for me and continues to serve as a reminder that everyday life, everyday relationships, everyday everything is not the easiest road to travel. There is no certain Path in anything. Life, work, your Spirituality. Others may have walked similar paths, but yours is unique, specifically yours. The road you choose is ultimately your own to decide. If you prefer the worn Path, you will walk that Path. If you prefer the Path that is not easily spotted and requires a bit more work, diligence, and patience – you will choose that one. For me, I prefer those wild Paths. The ones that require you to not only pay attention to the mostly unmarked Path, but those that so few walk. For I can see the beauty, passion, and joy in what still remains wild, untamed, and raw. Certainly, there will be bumps, bruises, and some pain along the way…but to me, that’s all worth what I find on my travels.

–T /|\

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Bad Poetry Thursday: Hiking the Path

Hiking the Path

Each step forward
Takes me a little further
Along this unplanned Path

Higher in elevation than before
Through the sloped floors of the forest
Ever further on the ascent

Looking over a shoulder
Down into the green valley below
A breathtaking view to behold

Looking further upwards
Along the barely seen Path before me
The summit encircled with clouds

What might I find on this arduous climb?
Monsters to defeat, challenges to accept?
Or rocky terrain that may take my ankle to peril?

Climb ever higher I am compelled to do
Not because this craggy summit exists
But for the experience of doing so

Life is about challenges and accepting them
Life is about pushing yourself to your limits
Though the pinnacle one may never reach

One thematic that continues throughout my life is that of a hike. I actually enjoying hiking quite a lot. Walking through a forest is one of the best pleasures I know of in Life. But every aspect of my Life can be easily placed into a paradigm of a hiking-style journey. Without a challenge, something to strive for, something to reach for…Life tends to resemble walking on a sidewalk in the city for me. Perhaps, its foolish for me to see everyday Life as part of a long-term journey, but it certainly does provide a bit of direction for me. Plus, as I said, I love the imagery.

–T /|\

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Bad Poetry Thursday: The Peaceful Center

Staring out across the valley below
Scarred by miles of barbed wire and fence posts
Literally no end in sight up to the forested hills

Blue skies and clouds overhead
Framed against a waving golden sea
Of prairie grass nearly shoulder high

The wind is light against the skin
As I reach to pull a piece of prairie grass
Tight in my grip I feel the snap

The quiet blanket of summer air
Wraps all around my heightened senses
Noises, smells and sights are everywhere

This is the calm, peaceful center of my world

Within Druidry, as I have been taught it, there is always a wonderful place you develop in your mind. Some call it the Sacred Grove. Others refer to it as internal Sacred Space. For me, its just a place to enter when I need calm that would be more than what grounding and centering can do for me. But what I describe is not my Sacred Grove. That is a different place for me, which resembles some of the more distant locations within the Rocky Mountains. This particular place, I modeled on the fields of western Kansas that I drove through to get to the Rocky Mountains one late summer. From inside the car, on the interstate, it felt like I was surrounded by a giant golden sea, which felt so calm and serene. For me, this is a place of some hardcore grounding and centering…when I need it most. For those wondering how to do this, its just simple visualization. Build out what you find to be most pleasant. Once you have the basic concept, spend some time continue to visualize it from time to time – and allow yourself to build intricate detail. See the pitting of any large rocks. Look carefully at the bark on the trees, the shapes and colors of the leaves, the sounds of the nearby animals. You’ll not only have a joy at the world you are building for yourself, but you can always find a measure of safety there.🙂

–T /|\

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Bad Poetry Thursday: Fighting Off the Whispers

Over the weekend, I got an Email from someone asking what it was like when I first started out as a Pagan. My first footsteps on this Path happened during the times of the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s. I was confused over how secretive all the Pagans were that I met out in the civilian populace. They seemed to be afraid to declare who they were. I didn’t realize that I had more protections than they did. In the military, there was no open discrimination against you over the beliefs that you held. You could easily declare your beliefs and not see any immediate punishment. At least not punishment in the eyes of the military. When I came out openly as Pagan, I was moved to a different shift in my duty section. I found myself on shift with three Charismatic Christian preachers. And each of them took a turn working directly with me. Or I should say, preaching at me while I was working. That was my first taste of what the civilians were getting outside of the boundaries of the base. I decided to write something for Bad Poetry Thursday about that. Its an open schematic; in other words, no rhyming material, but I wanted to give a try to three line stanzas, which I’ve also found harder to write, particularly because I tend to be so verbose.

–T /|\

Fighting Off the Whispers

I try my best not to dwell on times long past
A time when I first walked in the footsteps
Of the Path I find myself currently on

Back when the mere mention of alternative lifestyles
Was enough to send everyone scrambling for the exits
And watching the shadows of the alleyways headed home

A time when being a Witch was a guarantee for your family
To wind up as wards of the state here in Texas
Or a brick to find its way through your front window

Many have called that time “the Satanic Panic”
When the Christian communities lost their shit
And saw the Devil in the shadow of every mailbox

Many have claimed that those times have gone away
Not from what I have seen – the attackers are better hidden
The outcry is not nearly as loud, but the whispers just as damaging

Life is not as easy for those of us who chose a different way to live
Simply because we see love in a different way, see divine differently
Each and every day, we fight our battles against those that condemn

…but fight we shall, because Love should not be caged by a definition
Because our idea of the divine is so much wider and encompassing
Because we choose not to see a life so narrow and unforgiving

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Bad Poetry Thursday: My Own Beast of the Mind

Back in the mid 1980s, when I decided to take up poetry writing, I used rhyming schematics. For a while, I found it a lot of fun trying to work out the rhyming aspect while fashioning words that helped convey meaning around it. At some point, I decided I was fairly bad at it and moved over to non-rhyming schematics, as it made it far easier to write what was on my mind. About six or seven years ago, I gave up on that too…because I was really bad at it. And I mean really bad. And I still am, hence the naming convention I have chosen for Thursday blog posts:  Bad Poetry Thursday. I know it sounds like I am being self-defeatist and just beating myself down with some self-deprecating humor, which I have been told by a lot of people I need to stop doing it. But this isn’t just a humorous attempt at naming what I do – its a reality check for myself too. There are folks that really like the poetry I write, including the open verse material. I’m flattered that they do, but I still consider it to be some of the worst writing that I do. Maybe I am my own worst critic – and I probably am. Most writers tend to be.

So, for today’s Bad Poetry Thursday I thought I would try to go back to rhyming poetry. The below work was written in about five to seven minutes. I added a few more minutes to go through and do some formatting to how its written. I hope you enjoy it, but I am not going to be offended if you hold your nose through the reading process.  #JustSayin’ 🙂

My Own Beast of the Mind

I hear you screaming in the landscape of my mind
Hunting me throughout my day, deep into my night
Somewhere in the dense fog of the unknown
Hidden far away from any part of my sight

I hide where I think I can not be seen
Aware of your steps throughout it all
I can hear your breath and smell your stench
The talons on your claws to drag me to my fall

I know you’re there, ready to attack
Sooner or later, I’ll have to do what’s right
Find whatever weapons that I can
Whether I want to or not, I will have to fight

I have to come out into the open and face you
Meet your green-eyed gaze and answer your call
Push the panic down and find my shield
Await your charge with my back against the wall

Because I have to…I have no choice
Or you will consume every part of me

–T /|\

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Bad Poetry Thursday: “One Day, I’ll Listen…”

It is morning on the beach
Flat wisps of clouds caress the horizon
Over a flat, motionless pale blue sheet
That reflects the brightness of the rising sun

The soft, fluffy sands of the dunes around me
Move slowly with the hint of a slight breeze
Which carries the sounds of my phone’s music
Softly playing some country music artist’s lonely tale

I lean back on the dune looking upwards into the sky
As squadrons of seagulls drift along on wind currents
Unfelt dozens of feet beneath their altitude
Seemingly searching on pathways completely unseen

I have been here for hours but really only mere minutes
Just watching the scene playing out in front of me
Long before the daily crowd of sun worshippers arrive
Just me and the quiet life around – serenity for thinking

Playing the “what-ifs”, “what might have beens” over and over
Turning over every stone of the Past expecting something new
And finding the same brown soil that was already all around
An empty spiral rolling around and around with no end

Seeing a nearby rock, I reach over and pick it up
Half expecting to see something different than the sand beneath
For a moment, I realize what this means, what she had said
And again, she is right. One of these days, I’ll listen

I reach back and throw the rock into the glassy blue sheet
The ripples form immediately after the splash
I watch for a moment and then stand up
Gathering up my tennis shoes and socks, I walk to the parking lot

One of these days, I’ll listen
For right now, its time to jump

I have a few places I go to when I need moments alone. One of my favorites is a forest that is a special place for me. The beach scenario I describe above is one of the rare places I go. Usually, its for moments of necessary solitude, where I get to spend my time thinking. Yesterday (Tuesday, as I write this), I needed this place more than I have before. In real life, I’ve never seen this beach in my life. My thoughts are that it may be on the eastern shores of Florida or possibly even one of the beaches of southern California. Physically, wherever this beach is really doesn’t matter. The music playing from my phone is typically that of the so-called “Bakersfield Beat” which is a sub-genre of country music that is significantly influenced by the electric rock sound. The Eagles, Dwight Yoakum, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco and so many others typify this sound.

Oh?  The stone? That’s a symbol of the Past. Putting it back into the ocean….well, that’s an easy one to figure out. 🙂

–T /|\

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