When young, they were fitted for the mask,
an age when every question asked
could be answered with because
Pretty is as pretty does,
for children will take on a task

adults won’t swallow without a flask
full of flow as hot as ash
and guaranteed to grant a buzz
of when young.

But though they aged, the mask stuck fast;
it trapped their warmth just like the cask
they tapped now, sipped and sometimes guz-
zled, to scrape off “is,” grate down to “was,”
bare what they’d been by file or rasp
when young.


Still playing with Rondeaus — not very well–here’s a draftish one for Grapeling’s prompt on With Real Toads to write a poem about a mask. 

This is also a signing-off for me for now, maybe.  I am trying very hard to get myself to go on an extended blog break, at least for the month of November.  As some readers know, this has been a super busy work period for me.  Blogging poetry and being part of the online poetry community has been a wonderful way to get out of my workaday mode–but it also keeps me from getting to certain larger fiction projects that I’ve put on hold practically forever (and keep talking of going back to.)  I really do want to make one more effort, and November, national noveling month, seems a good time to try.

That said, do check in from time to time, as I am likely to (i) break my resolution, (ii) post pictures; and (iii) miss you terribly!   

Take care, k.  

Explore posts in the same categories: elephants, iPad art, poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

22 Comments on “Mask”

  1. janehewey Says:

    I am supposed to be on a poetry reading hiatus for the day, however, I couldn’t resist your mask poem.
    The mask you speak of is one of the most difficult to remove, i think, because it is difficult to detect exactly when it was begun. Stronger than any paper mache, the mask I read in your poem is made of distrust, evasion, and possibly even fear… enemies to both vulnerability and higher learning. great write, karin. Have a wonderful blog break in November. Are you doing NaNoWriMo?

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hi Jane–I’m not sure how to structure what I’m hoping to do. I’ve done nanowrimo a few times, but I am actually planning to re-write something not write something new–whether I should actually do a substantive re-write and try to fit into the scheme of nanowrimo may be good, but I don’t know if I want too much hoopla. It’s to nice to sign on and get the encouragement though, so maybe will think of that. I just know that if I don’t hurry up and address at least one of my old manuscripts I may as well take my computer and throw it out the window! (i.e. I get extremely discouraged about them.) Thanks. k.

      • janehewey Says:

        I hear your dilemma. It is really wonderful having the encouragement; I personally love the communication, though I am not a good blogger by any stretch. I’m sure once you decide how to proceed, November will be your friend in it. For me, deciding is half the challenge.
        warmly, J

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Yes, thanks. I am very far from these old manuscripts at the moment, so their force is not terribly compelling, but I’ve decided which one I am going to addres once I get into it, I’m sure I’ll feel better. (I hope!) Take care and thanks, Jane. k.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        ps — I mean –I’ve decided which one I’m going to address AND once I get into it, I’m sure I’ll feel better. Ha. (The thing is that I’m worried about my brain going before finishing them.)


  2. Rachelle Smith Stokes Says:

    I love the second stanza most. And yes, its so very true, once you put the mask on, its very hard to get off. Some never do.

  3. hedgewitch Says:

    Yes, aging gracefully is not easy, and perhaps is even a myth. I know you’re probably referring to youth’s behavioural traits, to character, as well as to masks of the heart, but the first thing that popped into my mind was the mask made by cosmetic surgeons that so many these days put on, and then really, it absolutely *can’t* come off, because it’s replaced your face–it *is* your face, even though it’s not, and is so obviously a mask. I see so many people on my little screen who are unable to let youth go, who are perhaps forced not to, and look only artificial instead. The rondeau makes a sort of chant out of this new lamps for old, which the subject warrants. I especially like “Pretty is as pretty does,/for children will take on a task/
    adults won’t swallow without a flask..”

    Good luck with the book break! I know you’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. I hope your time off is productive and brings resolution and enjoyment as well as hard work. You will be missed at least as much as you miss us, I promise.

    • ManicDdaily Says:


      You know, it’s funny how a form will take on a life of its own in a poem – or at least lead you to someplace unexpected, and that sense of not aging gracefully is what this sort of morphed towards. In that regard, I wasn’t sure whether the “pretty is as pretty does” should be part of the italicized response of because, where it would reinforce that notion of the youthful conditioning to stay youthful (at least looking). I used “pretty” rather than “handsome” for that reason as I felt like handsome wasn’t truly more male in that context but more about character. But I think it may make sense to connect the pretty to the “Because” voice. I went back and forth with this. (Crazy, I know. It’s like mulling over the commas!)

      Again, thanks. I just don’t know if I can figure out how to just “finish” these novels. I get very depressed to leave them hanging around. They are “finished” in terms of the stories all told–the pages all written (at least three of them), but I just need to figure out how to make them more exciting somehow, so that they are actually readable. Agh. k.

  4. Sherry Marr Says:

    I so resonate with “when young they were fitted for the mask”. I’ll say! Good luck in November, I hope you get a good start on your novel. And that soon you are back writing poems as a way of taking a break.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. I think of poems as way more than breaks–I didn’t mean to put down the activity at all–it’s just a break in the sense that one gets a result in a smaller interval and that is fun and satisfying. Thanks much, Sherry, for your kind support always and your inspiring work. k.

  5. margaret Says:

    “Because”… I can’t get away with that answer much these days as I have too many teenagers and young adults under this roof 🙂 You take November off! It will do you good and it is very hard to focus on an important project and blog poetry. We are here and excited to see you go for it! It is only 30 days and will be over before you know it!

  6. grapeling Says:

    K, first, thanks for sharing one of your final pieces before you break. Second, you reveal the issue of aging, and of we elders requiring numbing assistance in the (vain) attempt to regain our youth. Good luck with the hiatus ~ M

  7. Masks, wear for too long and you become too cynical, don’t wear them at all and you will be vulnerable. Better to take them off at the end of the show. 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  8. brian miller Says:

    whew…the tapping the cask…the filing away and scarping off…quite vivid…the mask you speak of is real, for sure…

    enjoy your break k…i def understand how, even though fun and fulfilling and online life can get in the way of other things…i hope all goes well this month for you….

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Me too. I am already looking for ways around my resolution! The thing is that I do not want the time just to be filled in with job work–which could easily happen (and probably should.) But I do hope to discipline myself. We’ll see.

      Thanks. k.

      On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM, ManicDDaily

  9. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    The mask stuck fast… That is a very telling line!

  10. I love this poem of yours…rhyming is such a beautiful words craft.

    Brilliant! 🙂

  11. Kay Davies Says:

    This does make me wonder who or what some of us could have been if not fitted early with a mask of someone else’s making.
    Wishing you well with November,

  12. Wow, that’s really good!

  13. My best to you and your resolution. Good writing!

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: