Zealous for guilt

Much regret can one carry –
up a hill, through the streets of a city,
by bus, hidden, in brown checkered suitcases,
a bright pink rucksack,
little black purses, ( a body bag, a coffin ) –
for years pushing and pulling the load,
the burden of a lifelong guilt.

Much remorse stays in one’s heart,
grief travels with us, unseen luggage
to places where we want to forget
but we won’t; we notice
how the smile of old people
is cracking their faces:
we feel the skin break in pain.

Much, too much we want to carry on,
beyond our limits, absurd snails
we are, moving slowly
until we forgive ourselves,
until we let go of the weight,
and make decisions.
Until we dare to do so.

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Comments on: "Zealous for guilt" (24)

  1. I don’t have a bright pink rucksack, but I like this one anyway!

  2. It wouldn’t matter if I had a bright pink rucksack or not….I don’t do guilt at all.

  3. Certainly it’s preferable to carry a pink rucksack to a body bag. The less one caries, the easier.

  4. It’s not so much forgiveness as acceptance; that’s what makes it so hard.

  5. “Absurd snails”…I love that phrase 🙂

  6. Good one. 🙂

  7. “The struggle itself […] is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
    Albert Camus…

  8. Profound truth beautifully set down. Nice piece Ina.

  9. grief travels with us, unseen luggage
    to places where we want to forget
    but we won’t, we notice
    how the smile of old people
    is cracking their faces:
    we feel the skin break in pain.

    This is a powerful passage, Ina, although you need a semicolon at the end of “won’t.” Two independent clauses, noun, verb, and direct object, are always separated by either a semi-colon or a period. The period makes it two sentences, of course. The final three lines of this passage:
    how the smile of old people
    is cracking their faces:
    we feel the skin break in pain.
    is as powerfully poetic as anything you have written. The juxtaposition of the idea of a smile with the skin breaking in pain is startling, waking the reader up. You just don’t normally think of an old person’s smile that way. When a poet can achieve that kind of a recognition moment, a moment when the world is portrayed differently than is normal, forcing the reader to see in a new way, poetry explodes.
    That’s the true value of poetry. Intelligence rises out of our relationships with each other and the world and what we process as we practice and consider those relationships. When a poet stretches, through language, perception in some small or large way, human intelligence is stretched to encompass a larger field where intelligence brews into the next generation.
    In that passage you achieve that stretching. It stirs up the whole poem.

    • Thank you very much Thomas. I am very happy with your thoughts here and I think you are right, so I put the semicolon there. Now the sentence has a semicolon and a colon, which might not be correct, but I can always chance one into a period. 🙂
      Your words have great meaning to me and make me aware why I like poetry so much. You say it so well. I might want to quote you if that is alright ( ‘When a poet stretches, through language, perception in some small or large way, human intelligence is stretched to encompass a larger field where intelligence brews into the next generation.’ ) when I get the opportunity to have another anthology published.

  10. scotthastiepoet said:

    Glad to have found my way here eventually!! Much richness and truth in this piece Ina, my favourite of your recent ones… Well sustained metaphors too – a lovely read… Thank you With Best Wishes Scott http://www.scotthastie.com

    • Hi Scott, thank you very much! Best wishes to you too! I have added you to my blogroll 🙂

  11. “Zealous for Guilt” … ah, I understand that concept so well – too well! This is a very intricate and honest poem and so a very powerful one. Yes, forgiving ourselves … sounds so easy, but one of the hardest things.

    This stanza is excellent:
    ‘how the smile of old people
    is cracking their faces:
    we feel the skin break in pain’

    Although, sometimes I see my mom’s smile speaks of relief. And the older I get, the more I understand. XO ♥

    • Thank you very much Diane! Old people’s smiles are special, they have an extra I think. ♥

  12. I don’t look for the guilt but it seems to find me. Much of it undeserved or self imposed for no real reasons.

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