Sued51's Blog











{November 30, 2017}   The Things We Do For Friends

This is a difficult time of year for some of us. I have trouble with the darkness but this is also my birthday season when I inevitably reevaluate where I am in life. I’m thinking next year I should spend more time here and less time on Facebook…and get back to writing. Of course that means I have to get to know my community all over again and make new friends.

This morning I was thinking back as I often do, about my longtime friend Jane; a time we never talk about when we went to the amusement park near us that no longer exists, though remnants are still there like the merry-go-round and this old teacup.

Amusement Park Teacup

The Last Teacup

Paragon (The things we do for our Friends)

Back then,
no brick apartment buildings
crowded the shore,
only the old roller coaster
towered over the beach.

We went there at dusk
with our boyfriends;
nips beforehand in the car
made us giddy.

I loved the rides
that sped in circles,
even the teacups,
where I muscled us around
pulling as hard as I could
on the metal wheel
in the center,
while you laughed
in the corner,
begging me to stop.
Afterwards you got sick
and I felt bad.

Bad enough to ride
the old wooden coaster
that I secretly feared.
We separated to sit with our dates.
The frame creaked and groaned
as we rose to the top.
The dark ocean stretched
into the sky, a beautiful view
for a moment,
but I squeezed my eyes shut
all the way down.

 

Susan Merrifield Desrocher

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{October 9, 2017}   Holiday Quiet

It isn’t a holiday for me, I have to go to work, but others in my building sleep in. I don’t force myself to do my normal morning chores, not wanting to disturb my silent community. And so I enjoy the company of my cats and write.

I absorb the silence,
the peace of the cat’s purr.
My tea is simply warm,
no longer hot,
but my tongue lounges silent
in the gold sun of the honey
swirled with the soft clouds of milk.
Perfection
seems so close
I could reach out
and caress it with my hand,
but I know better.
Just as I sometimes
have to let my eyes alone
revel in the swirling softness
of color in my calico cat’s fur,
knowing if I touch her,
she will slip away
and find another place
to sleep.
Susan Merrifield Desrocher

Fur Painting



{September 21, 2017}   Obsession

First of all, thank you to those loyal readers who have visited in the last year even though I have posted very little: Ana Linden, G.P. Cox, Janna Hill, Tyler4Turtles, and Hands on Bowie (among others). I have been obsessed with all my photo groups on Facebook and virtually ignoring my blogging community. I will try to do better from now on! One day a week is better than once in a blue moon.

I had been working on this poem for a while and decided to match it up with this old photo I had posted many years ago. I hope you like it.

Dead Swan

A dock for a headstone…

The Obsession

Half my life ago
I was drawn to you
like a swan to a pond.
I thought I could make
my home in the depth of your eyes:
the warm brown of cattails
with lashes like the tassels
of tall grasses,
a perfect place
for nesting.

Initially my wings were fueled
by desire, but when I landed,
it was the smoothness
of your being,
the clear bubbling joy
of your laughter
in the quiet moments
that locked me into love.

But I soon found that
another laid claim
to your deepest heart —
my comfort was marred
by the fierce hiss
of possessiveness.
I should have known
something so beautiful
could not be unclaimed.

I flew off, but not away,
thinking I could keep
to the fringes,
find a connected waterway,
a secret way in.
I circled and circled
around and around
until I became a wisp
of a cloud,
like the fabled tiger
turned to butter.
In the end,
unsure of who I was
or why I did it,
I crashed hard
into a wooden dock,
wings splayed,
my stretched neck
broken.

 

Copyright Susan Desrocher



{March 28, 2017}   Scenic Overlook

view

Scenic Overlook

For some reason I have never been able to find a writing partner, someone who is not too much better than me or no worse than me, someone who writes in my style, who instinctively understands me, or at least wants to understand me. So when I have a bad day, I either put on the fake cheer on Facebook, which is acceptable to most people, or write in a vacuum to get my thoughts and feelings out, producing yet another poem to stick in a bulging notebook of unread, unpublished efforts.

So yesterday was one of those days for me and this is the result. I am taking the leap of sharing my poem here with whatever readers I have left (considering that I haven’t made my blog a priority for a long time or kept up with the people I used to follow faithfully).

SCENIC OVERLOOK

Some would say life has brought me backward.

I grew up poor in a rich town

where I had to hide my dark hair

beneath a golden hat, which only

made me feel hot and awkward.

Now I live poor in a poor town,

a place most of my old classmates

wouldn’t get caught dead in,

but at least I blend in:

another gray wisp of a cloud

on a sunless day,

another brown leaf on the ground

of a winter wood full of leafless trees

in muddy March

when spring’s new hope

feels like a crazy dream…

But I digress.

 

Yesterday I drove through some rich towns —

just looking —

not like an open-mouthed tourist

but like a coroner searching for clues to a death.

I examined the details as I saw them:

the handsome man with the perfect haircut

jogging on my side of the road

wearing clothes that I recognized

cost more than two week’s of my groceries,

(he forced me to the wrong side on a curve).

Then I pulled over to gaze at a view,

and to avoid the impatient BMW surging

at my back bumper, like the rough waves

against at the rocks at the beach

with the “No Trespassing” signs, whose beauty

I had to observe from afar.

 

But I will keep my scientist stance

because I don’t like the flavor

of bitterness.

I theorize the owners of these million dollar mansions

with empty yards would naturally

look like the jogging man because their parents

looked the same, and because beauty and wealth

go together like cut glass and cognac.

Why would hothouse plants live among weeds

that may choke them

to death?

 




An old friend of mine passed away suddenly in a car accident in March. Friends and acquaintances continue to post things on his Facebook page; he is truly missed. Though you, my readers, don’t know him, I feel that everyone should, so this is my attempt to spread word of this wonderful man.

Richard was inspiring, one of those rare and unique individuals that come along so infrequently, but touch the lives of so many. Here is his obituary, but that is just part of his story.

Richard was a gentle soul who loved to laugh, forever curious about the world. He was a much-loved teacher. Right before his death he had accepted a teaching position in Shanghai and was learning to speak the language. He loved to travel and was a master storyteller when sharing his travel experiences.

After some tough years of suffering from a rare form of cancer, he sacrificed his leg for his life, but he didn’t give up his spirit to live life to the fullest.

Because of him, I made a decision I can’t share yet, but I hope to share it soon. In the meantime, here is a poem I wrote right after he left us.

For Richard

One sudden death can produce ripples
as big as surfable waves;
some will ride their shock on
to greater things; they will heave a board
to the top of their dreams,
enjoying their own breathless ride
to its end with gratitude
and dedication, like you.

For others, the ripples will be bigger, scarier,
like tidal waves that gather their fears into a fury
that sweeps away all that they thought they had,
leaving them clinging to whatever has roots
enough to survive the disaster.

I want to be the surfer.
Let me hear the ripples of sorrow
with an attentive ear
toward my own future.
I can’t be you,
but I can choose to be like you.
Tell me, Richard —
where to get the board —
I’m listening.

Susan Desrocher

 



{January 4, 2016}   The Leaf and the Feather

leaf and feather

Uncommon Fellows

I took this picture recently — it was not one of my best, but it inspired me to write a little “children’s poem.”

 

A leaf and a feather

awoke together

On a balmy Christmas Day.

Their conversation

Was their situation

this balmy Christmas Day.

“Something’s not right,”

Claimed the leaf–

Thinking the sweep of the wind

Blew him south in his sleep.

“My friend,” he said, “if I may be so bold,

I’d really much rather

I sleep in the cold

Huddled close with my fellows

As I grow old.”

The feather  agreed

That things were not right,

He was used to the feeling

Of being in flight,

More feathers around him

Raising him up

and up like a kite.

But others like them

Were nowhere in sight,

no one else cared for

what they thought

was their “plight.”

The blacktop around them

Was dark and rough,

And the leaf and the feather saw

Their world as tough.

They knew they must see

themselves as enough.

They must accept change, just be–

Share this space,

find safety and grace,

in each other’s company.

Their talk made them realize

They both felt the same,

And learning to love this,

Was the name of the game.

So that was the way

that balmy Christmas Day

they bonded together,

The leaf and the feather.

 



{December 17, 2015}   Photographing Time

tall grass, shadows, morning sun

Sun hiding behind grass

I race to catch the golden hour

as if I were catching a life-saving ride,

escaping disaster, fire or flood;

I’m trying to catch time

by the second.

 As the light moves thru the leaves

and shadows cross stillness,

I think I can see it, oh, so briefly.

Quick, there’s one,

catch it before it races away,

laughing at mortal me,

using mirrors in a fancy case

to try to catch joy.

Copyright 2015 Susan Merrifield Desrocher



{September 30, 2015}   A Wednesday Poem

shadows on windows

On and On

Life has been insistently busy the last few months and I all but abandoned my writing. This morning I pulled out my poetry notebook to jot down a couple of lines that came to me as I drove to the laundrymat, and I found this poem. Appropriately it’s Wednesday. So I thought I would share it. Never mind Mondays, can you tell I don’t like Wednesdays??

 

It’s Wednesday,

my week’s nemesis,

work’s dullest day.

It stretches like a desert

of time, the afternoon

especially dry and arid.

How to prepare for the journey?

What to bring,

not too heavy that

drags me to the ground

in the moisture-sucking air,

but keeps my parched brain

from cracking and splitting,

and able to savor

the respite when it is over?

copyright Susan Desrocher 2015



{April 19, 2015}   Dead Poets Make Great Friends

Jane Kenyon

My Latest Library Books

Dead poets make great friends; they let you know they understand, and they don’t reject you or make you feel untalented like live ones do.

Whose quote is that? My own.

After I read Donald Hall’s essays, the next thing on my library list became Jane Kenyon, A Literary Life by John H. Timmerman and Jane Kenyon Collected Poems., because I am fascinated by poet/poet relationships (e.g. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath). For those who don’t know, She was the wife of Donald Hall and she died tragically at the age of 47 from leukemia.

Although I had heard of Jane Kenyon, I had not sat down and done a concentrated reading of her poetry. WOW…She became a favorite in seconds flat. It could be that reading about someone’s life at the same time as reading their poetry makes for a feeling of closeness that reading the poetry alone does not give. Or maybe having read about her from her husband’s point of view first also adds to the feeling that she is someone I know, a friend that I haven’t seen in a long time.

I put the books down and immediately wrote three poems in my notebook. Hallelujah!

This one was not the best of the three, but it goes with this post. Copying it fresh off the notebook page without editing here reveals my immediate spontaneous feelings without polishing:

TEA WITH JANE KENYON

I look up from a book of your poems

expecting to see your face in an opposite chair,

your cup paused halfway,

like it is floating in the air.

Your words hang in the air too

like an echo, though your mouth doesn’t move.

You look me in the eyes

with first a question, then recognition;

we share a smile, the same smile,

like looking in a mirror.

But I blink and focus

and my opposite space is empty.

I think if I say out loud,
“My grandmother was a Methodist too…

and “she liked to listen to Teleevangelists…”

and “I know that yearning — the need to rebel

against rules instilled by someone you loved…”

Then I hope you’ll be interested enough to walk

back into the empty space and sit down

and talk awhile

and I would not be alone

with my demanding white paper and pen,

a strict teacher forcing me

to write something

over and over

until I learn my lesson

and get it right.

Susan Merrifield Desrocher

But now I leave you with a unpublished nugget from Jane’s college years, quoted in Timmerman’s book:

Today

I got

no mail.

What is it about the world that it wants

my cubby hole

kept in poverty.

My mailbox is bloated with emptiness

its opening —

an orifice

waiting for a word.

Hey.

Occupant,

That’s me.

And, my lesson to learn, this poem…

The Clothes Pin

How much better it is

to carry wood to the fire

than to moan about your life.

How much better

to throw the garbage

into the compost, or to pin the clean

sheet on the line

with a gray-brown wooden clothes pin!

Discover her or rediscover her during National Poetry Month…you won’t regret it! And maybe. like me, you’ll feel like you have found a new friend. 🙂




We are halfway through National Poetry Month and I haven’t posted a poem. Shame on me!

I decided to post one of my own today and share someone else’s before month end! Enjoy…

Clock made of Wood

Roy’s Clock

 

REMEMBERING ROY

On my wall, the clock Roy made

loses time every day, but I dutifully reset it.

I keep it for the picture of my grandmother

he varnished onto the pine wood tree slice

that reminds me of a knotty pine cabin

in the mountains of California she once owned,

a string to a memory of a summer visit there that made me soar with dreams and happiness.

I keep it to remind me of him.

The clock of Roy’s heart stopped long ago

in a tragic way:

he was run over by his own car

as he tried to stop it from rolling down a hill.

Our possessions sometimes betray us;

our death can be entwined with them,

just as our life is entwined with them,

like ivy running wild,

over time crumbling the very bricks

it is attached to.

Roy, maybe you knew this;

you thought you could bypass it

by giving away your dreams:

the bricks of your life repurposed.

I remember the day you turned us loose

in your garage of clocks;

you told us to take what we wanted.

After their crafting was done

and your time was spent,

they no longer affirmed your life

or made money to live on,

just collected dust.

With bitter generosity you let them go

 to pseudo grandkids,

like released birds you had once loved,

with hopes they would soar

somewhere you couldn’t.

Roy, I don’t even know where you are buried,

but across the country your clocks tick in small apartments,

twigs in the nests of lonely people;

where will they go from here?



et cetera
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