She hides.
It is what
pride does. Wedges herself
inside a hedge, stranded hair stalking
snagged branch, limbs pricked
by entwining vine, scraped skin blending
into wall behind, eyes stone-faced chimneys
to a bricked-up heart.

He stands apart. Calling from the pavement, once,
twice, but, proud too, not bending to look
though she is just there, hedged.

The calls and then, after,
the silence,
reverberate as buzz in their ears, nearly
deafening at moments; at others, something
they can almost make themselves
not hear.


Draftish poem (and not-really-right pic)  for dVerse Poets Open Link Night.  Check it out!  Also my books!  Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, or Nose Dive. Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

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47 Comments on ““Estrangement””

  1. claudia Says:

    oh dang…def. felt…pride is just always in the way…of everything…ugh

  2. brian miller Says:

    an intriguing write….the seperation between the two….and how pride comes between…each in their own way…hers to hide…and his willing to call but unwilling to look for…scary place for me…

  3. Mama Zen Says:

    “eyes stone-faced chimneys
    to a bricked-up heart.”

    Love that!

  4. beautiful… I love the last lines especially.

  5. kelly Says:

    I like this very much, such an apt description of relationships, as much as we try to kick pride to the curb, it always wants to rear its ugly head again…

  6. K–so well put, and pride the impediment to both.

  7. Pride does so often lead to estrangement. Nicely done. Peace, Linda

  8. Beautiful, esp the beginning stanza

  9. ayala Says:

    Pride not easy…lovely write.

  10. k. I love this poem. Please forgive me when I say I want it to be about cats. Not ordinary cats Mr Mistoffelees kinds of cats. 🙂

  11. How we do run and hide from each other–not without reason, but sometimes, also beyond reason. Love the descriptions, especially in the first stanza–totally immersive. Another polished, adroit and excellent ‘draft,’ k. I hate to see what it looks like when you finish it up. 😛 I have enough poets out there making me bald already.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      You know I call them drafts because I’ve scribbled at them throughout the day of posting but not much more since I post fairly frequently. I think a little extra reflection is often warranted. On the other hand, if I keep something back – I tend to get overly critical – then don’t want to put anything up at all!

      Your hair seems safe to me. k.

  12. bajanpoet Says:

    I loved that. Seeing her hiding and him calling. Good job.

  13. They both have their part in this one. Rings true.

  14. lucychili Says:

    silence is a strong theme for this open link night.
    i once hid in a hedge.

  15. Steve King Says:

    Silence…such a powerful and terrifying thing–and at other times it’s something we crave. We are interesting creatures. Nice job. Don’t visit back–no post from me tonight.

  16. Mary Says:

    Pride so often gets in the way of understanding. Some pride is good, but too much can cause major problems. A strong write.

  17. Pride, cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. And where does it leave us but angry, lonely…not a good thing. You have captured it well. Intriguing piece.

  18. kkkkaty Says:

    …difficult emotion to sort out when communication is cut off usually….yet important for self esteem….finding the balance is the key, but not many use the right key to unlock that door…sadly..so your bricked up heart is and excellent metaphor…

  19. Alex Dissing Says:

    “She hides. It is what pride does.” Very, very well said.

  20. apshilling Says:

    Even with our familiars
    we are camouflaged by the special Branch:
    it may be twig thin, but the line remains
    behind the wall, or at least drawn on the back side
    where no one else can see it 🙂

  21. rebelle Says:

    pride is deafening.

  22. Pamela Says:

    Oh, yes, false pride. Not a stranger to many. Well said.


  23. stranded hair stalking snagged branch, limbs pricked by entwining vine…well captured! And actually, I liked your visual.

  24. Ravenblack Says:

    She’s on the defense or has put on a stone-face, and yet seems like she’s trapped herself too. I think “he” knows she’s there, purposely not looking probably out of pride, would prefer she reveals herself. This situation is gonna be stuck like this.

    Quite a scenario portrayed in these lines.

  25. David King Says:

    eyes stone-faced chimneys
    to a bricked-up heart.

    A powerful image which I thought stood out among other powerful images. Fine poem.

  26. kaykuala Says:

    Why must it develop into this kind of relationship. I wonder! Reconciliation is in order! Nicely K!

  27. barbara_y Says:

    Interesting. I never considered pride as a cowering emotion. Really like the loudness of that silence.

  28. wolfsrosebud Says:

    you’d think we’d learn from nature and the past

  29. nico Says:

    Great description, powerful images of the kind of pride that keeps us nursing old wounds, making half-hearted advances toward peace, refusing to apologize or accept apology.

  30. beckykilsby Says:

    Great set of images (snaggy) for this idea of keeping self apart, at bay, prickly. I enjoyed not knowing what would happen next.

  31. Kim Nelson Says:

    So descriptive of a common flaw in relationships. TALK TO ONE ANOTHER, I want to say. But pride gets in the way.

  32. janehewey Says:

    rich with texture, this poem radiates with Want. You make clear the vast wasteland our world becomes when we can not or do not connect with each other. (i enjoy your prick, bricked-up, buzz sounds)

  33. Myrna Says:

    So sad. But your poem describes this sad situation very well. In spite of the sadness, I enjoyed reading it.

  34. I find it interesting that you wrote draftish in the notes. I love it. It’s really there for however one wants to interpret it. you mention pride in the opening line, which makes me try to connect pride and estrangement, which conjures stories in themselves. Just love the openness to this piece, the way one’s mind sees it I have to believe will be different for each. Great piece. Thanks

  35. dani Says:

    it’s a shame when we let pride or our need to “be right” cause such an estrangement!

    wonderfully written, Karin!

  36. Beth Winter Says:

    There is a sad sense of mystery to your poem, a feeling of goodbye that the reader can’t quite see the reason for but feels the finality of it. Beautiful work.

  37. Helen Dehner Says:

    Great poem … going to remember that word ‘draftish.’ Though nothing about this seems like a draft!

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