Grasping At Straws (And Contentment) – “There”


There is so much we cannot fix:
a dear friend massed
with yellow glads; the green baize that masks
the upturned earth; the tumor
that takes over the torso;
time spent
more carelessly
than change
(loose minutes
rarely found
in turned-out pockets);

all those difficult years
when contentment was there–
there–there within our grasp had we just
grasped less;
flotsam straws we gripped,
drowning rafts, that sparkle now
in the current of all that’s past,

catching against far shoals–

Here’s a revised poem for dVerse Poets Pub second anniversary. Congratulations to dVerse, headed so skillfully and generously by Brian Miller and Claudia Schoenfeld, wonderful poets in their own right, and incredibly thoughtful and energetic teachers and mentors, in their commenting and their example. They, and the other dVerse staff, both past and present, as well as the many poets who participate in the community, have helped me a great deal in my own poetry, and certainly in my sense of myself as a poet. Great thanks!

The photo above by the way is the one I took the other day of a spider web by a stream bed, knotted with water droplets, over that beautiful stone, which to me at least, looks like a heart. If you cannot see full image, please click on it.

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31 Comments on “Grasping At Straws (And Contentment) – “There””

  1. brian miller Says:

    very cool found heart…and so neat the water droplets surround it…so much packed in that first little bit…so much we can not fix…and so true…things out of our control…i like the echo though of there, twice…particularly the last one as it seems the echo to what is there on the far shore…

    thanks for being on the journey with us k…smiles.

    i might of missed it, but did you see our interview with hicok yesterday…a poet you introduced us to…

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    I was having a discussion earlier today with my son about regrets, about opportunities lost, and this sort of illusory view we have of ourselves, the past, the future, how bemoaning flaws always seem to be more important than recognizing virtues, the whole fragility of the construct that is our time here and what we do with it–I found this piece very wise and direct in its assessment. Also some subtle and pleasing word play with the massed–Mass–masked sounds, the repeated ‘theres’ and the enjambed structure enforces a feeling of tumbling and how change seems to be something happening faster than we can react.The last lines glitter like the tears around the heart-shaped rock.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks – the spider webs quite amazing by this stream bed the other day. I am a little unsure about the word play as it is a very serious subject but I think/hope it’s subtle enough to underline a point rather than distract from it. Thanks for your all your kind support over the last couple of years – I hate to think that long since I was involved with dVerse – agh. k.

  3. Mama Zen Says:

    Brilliant piece. The first five lines really blew me away . . . such smart, unusual imagery.

  4. margaret Says:

    contentment was there–
    there–there within our grasp had we just
    grasped less;

    This poem’s beginning hurtles us along in images that evoke attention! I was SURE you used photoshop on your image… instead you were just “observant”. Very nicely done.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Thanks, Margaret, it was an odd day. There were several webs that had collected water droplets in this odd way, but this one had the coolest stone, I thought. Thanks for your kind comment. K.

  5. Truedessa Says:

    The first line grabbed me..tore at my much we cannot fix…that picture is a cool capture..the heart within the beauty.

  6. Gorgeous photo, and really nice poem, the two together stunning. We can’t grasp a spider web, and yet…. appreciate the wisdom that contentment is there when we grasp less.

  7. punnypalaver Says:

    Beautiful poem–and close to home as a young mother I knew is buried tomorrow, leaving behind two young daughters.

  8. I’ve always heard that standing still and doing nothing are two very different things. Your poem, somehow, reminded me of that right now.

    Great to read this! Cheers…

  9. time spent
    more carelessly than change
    (loose minutes rarely found
    in turned-out pockets);

    such truth revealed in your sublime poetry
    a wisdom of experience whispers through this poem, so much i found myself responding to, ty for this.

  10. beckykilsby Says:

    This poem has all the gravitas and grace that life well-lived needs to express it. Thank you for this droplet of wisdom and beauty.. quite, quite inspiring… both for life and for writing.

    time spent
    more carelessly than change

    ..this is echoed so well in the repeation of ‘there..there’

    To feel the slip of life across us and know it for what it is.. a gift of perception indeed.

  11. I love the take, a lot of wisdom in your words. Afterwards it’s often to late, so many things that can’t be done…

  12. kelvin s.m. Says:’s hard to find contentment in a changing environment… contentment & change are mortal enemies chasing after another… this is awesome, i thought i was looking at a photo with a heart shaped stone surrounded by crystals… i didn’t figure out those were droplets in spider web…ha… loved it…smiles…

  13. cloudfactor5 Says:

    I was captivated and perplexed by the photo for a good while, until I read farther down. Very cool heart-shaped rock. I was always mesmerized by dew-laden webs I encountered in early morning walks. I found your poem poignant and insightful.You had me chuckling with “(loose minutes rarely found
    in turned-out pockets)” reminded me of the word furch- which I’ve heard defined as belly-button lint. Then there was “there within our grasp had we just grasped less;” if only we could be hindsight empowered !! and your last lines really do glitter !!

  14. Steve King Says:

    This is an outstanding poem, artful, dense with meaning. “there–there—there within our grasp.” This one makes me reflect. Very nice job. And a super photo!


  15. shanyns Says:

    The dew drops on the spider web look like bits of falling glass on the heart shaped rock. It is poetry! Love the poem too.

  16. vbholmes Says:

    It was hard to get past your beautiful photo, but then, a joy to receive an extra-special treat when reading your sensitive poem. A lovely art duo.

  17. claudia Says:

    it def. looks like a heart and so cool with the spider web spun over it as well… so many things we cannot fix even though we would love to…tough at times.. i often feel helpless in such moments..sensitively penned k.

  18. I loved the flow of this poem – or, rather, how it seems to ‘overflow’, if that make sense. There is so much unfixable bad in this world… and yet, we are alive, we are here. (Or there.) So many terrible things, and yet, so many beautiful – like that spiderweb.

  19. Personally ! I found the repeated–“there-there” was a sense of comfort as a motherly concern for a child’s tears, hurts, and the underlying acceptance to living to our best… As always you’re a master in writing K. Fondly D

  20. makes me think about how my loved ones are growing older… makes me scared to know with each that passes, i’m closer to losing them… grandparents bdays are this month and that’s been heavy on my mind lately.

  21. Great poem – excellent use of colour and imagery.

    Really like the picture as well.

  22. It looks like a hear to me, too, k. Love the poem – so much within our grasp ‘had we just grasped less’.

  23. David King Says:

    Such a wonderful poem that I all but overlooked the equally moving image — it’s usually the other way around with me: make of that what you will!

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