It occurred to me this morning that we should strive to be like lamps.  Lamps come in all shapes and sizes, take many different types of bulbs, and are of many different colours.  However, they all have one purpose:  to shed light.  But what is the function of light?  It brightens, yes, but it also clarifies.  It even warms ever so slightly.

There’s a side of lamps we never really consider, though– they are shaded.  Something *protects* their light.  Shades prevent the light shining so brightly that it becomes harsh and painful.  They stop people accidentally touching hot bulbs.  They focus the light in the spot where it belongs.  In essence, these are the aspects that shape the light and allow it to do its job efficiently.

So what if we were like lamps?  We’d be accepting of all shapes, sizes, and colours.  We’d be aware of who needs more shade than others, and we’d be accepting of that, recognising that the shade only helps us give as best we can.  Some of us would be warmer than others, but even the coldest would have a purpose.  We would shine as individual lights serving a common purpose, but we could still shine together to shed light on the world.


Dark Days: an original poem

Dark Days

These are the dark days
When everything around you turns to death
When night takes on a life all its own
And wreaks havoc among the beings of the light

These are the days when nothing feels the same
Life is a hall of mirrors
Each reflecting a monster
Overtaking sanity and faith

These are the days of pain and anger
Of hurt unspoken, screaming to be avenged
Of memories whispered in shadows
And scars blazing in the sun

There was a time long ago
When roses bloomed through ice
When thorns were soft as silk
And tears were simply sunrays

Those were the light days
Before time started to fail
Before life became unbearably short
Before tombstones became timelines

Those were the days when everything felt steady
Life was a summer afternoon
Flowers blowing in the breeze
Filling the air with beauty and wonder

Those were the days of peace and laughter
Of love promised, given freely
Of comfort in time of need
And protection surrounding a family

Now is the time of grief
When sorrow takes your hand
And leads you through its garden of darkness
With hope, trailing slowly in the distance


If I could see my sister now
I’d ask if she remembered
That train when she was five years old
The day we went down shopping
And had ice cream by the water
Chocolate sticky & sweet on her fingers
Laughter shining in her eyes

I’d ask if she remembered falling in love
With our first Islington flat
She cried when we moved out
Kissing walls & windows
Telling them she’d miss them
Her first safe home

I’d ask if she remembered turning 10
That milestone where her age took on two numbers
When we went out to her favourite restaurant
And stayed up watching movies long past bedtime

I’d ask if she remembered falling asleep against me that night
And how I held her far too long
Marvelling at the person she was becoming

I’d ask if she remembered the day she turned 12
Rounding the corner to see us standing there
Attempting to hide her smile but failing
Such a beautiful child & a beautiful day

I’d also ask if she remembered the day she decided to take her life
I’d ask if she remembered why or even how
I’d ask if there was anything I could have done or said
Anything anyone could give

I’d ask if she remembered that afternoon & if she could see
me standing over her
I’d ask and ask until time ran out again

If I could ask my sister anything now
I’d ask if she remembered
How much she was so loved
Oh, why? That’s what I keep asking
Was there anything
I could have said or done?
Oh, I had no clue you were masking
A troubled soul
God only knows what went wrong
And why you’d leave the stage
In the middle of a song

–‘Why‘ by Rascal Flatts

Poetic Prose

The weather here has been gorgeous.  Temperatures have been in the mid 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit, which is a great departure from the average.  It’s returned to winter this week, though, and the words of James Joyce are dancing about in my head.  His short story collection Dubliners is a literary puzzle that I enjoyed both deciphering and teaching.  The last story, aptly entitled “The Dead” ends with one of the most beautiful passages in literature.  It brings me a sense of peace:

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.


Joyce, James. “The Dead.”  Dubliners.  Prestwick House, Inc, 2006



Each one cuts a little deeper.

Jagged paths that leave shrapnel in their wake.

Yet their destination is simple:

They go straight through to the soul.

Sparkling silver blades

Reflect the darkness left behind

As body and mind are stripped

Of all that makes a person human.

Scabs thicken around each wound

Creating a shell where a person used to be.

Grief unimaginable shows in the eyes

Even when the shell is smiling.

Forever changed.

The world forever darkened.

Hope replaced by terrible knowledge.

As one scar starts to heal,

As one scab peels away,

The knives cut through again.


One by one they fell like dominoes,

She by her own hand.

The fundamental loss.

Twelve years old and she’d had enough.

Her body limp and bleeding,

Cold flesh I’ll always remember.


He fell next.

Car screaming through the wind.

Useless brakes as he watched.

I wonder sometimes if he was afraid.

I wonder if he even knew.


Then my mother tumbled,

She, too, by her own hand.


A forever decision.

Was it really, as she said, my fault?


The last of the living fell away when my father died.

A blast of metal.

An echoed sound in my mind,

His life becoming stains on my clothing.

His eyes, minutes before, had been so happy.


The end of the end came with her.

A chance for happiness

Gone before she took her first tiny breath.

I hold her in my heart and mind.

I’ll look for her forever.


The lone domino still standing,

I live with their ghosts.

The restless spirits who roamed the world

Have now passed into nothingness.

One by one they fell

Like dominoes.

Self Reflection

I try not to think too deeply, lest I realise how much the present mirrors the past.
I try not to feel too strongly, lest the dam break and everything burst through.
I try not to love completely.
There are few words of love I haven’t heard twisted before.
I try to remember that not everything is fake, that some people really are safe.
I try to believe that it’s OK to let my guard down sometimes, to let someone else carry the weight.
I try to exist, in spite of those who wish to stop that happening.
I try to simply let myself be, to understand that I am my greatest obstacle.
I try to rise above the anger, but sometimes it swallows me anyway.
I try to understand what happened to me, why it was allowed, and what its purpose was
I try to live beyond that, to become who I am.
I try to open myself up slowly, to show the centre of me to those I love.
I try not to let the fear of that force me away.
I try to stay present, to remain a part of my own life.
I try not to collapse inside myself.
Because, even though I can’t always believe, I deserve a chance.

To Journal or Not to Journal…

…that is the modern-day question.

I used to be an avid journal writer.  In fact, it’s been my end of the year tradition for quite some time to purchase the next year’s journal.  I have a collection of them starting with the first I wrote after moving to the US all the way to the current.  They chronicle the major events of my life as well as the day-to-day.  They’re truly like reading an autobiography.

This year’s journal, though, is not even half filled.  Blogging has largely taken the place of journalling for me, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.  On the other hand, journalling has become almost traumatic these days.  Writing in my private journal, I force myself to look deeply into my mind and assess all of those pesky little fears and emotions banging about in there.  Last night I tried to journal.  After about a paragraph, I stopped abruptly and wrote that I was getting triggered.

Blogging has been an amazing experience so far, and I intend to keep pounding away at my laptop.  I just find it curious how blogging seems to have changed my journalling so radically.

The Old Road

I took the old road tonight

Where the moon is not so threatening

I drove around the time-worn curves

And watched the tiny houses

Drift past outside my window

I listened to the night wind

As it blew all around me

Sharing memories of better times

Easier times from the not-so-distant past

And I smiled

I drove around that last sharp edge

Where the moon became threatening again

But it was softer, somehow

I took the old road tonight

And found you waiting there