Friday, February 24, 2006

The Order of Things (Grow Up!)

My life is as demanding as ever, and yet.....

The Order of Things

When I was five I’d walk to school
With little question about the rules.
I knew teachers would like me fine
If I were cheerful and mostly kind.

When I was nine I began to see
My face and grace were mostly me,
But about then I sought to be
Someone else—a mystery.

I tucked my dress in my snowpants
And imagined myself as Sherlock Trance
In the field to solve the case
Of the missing pencil case.

When I was twelve something changed
My hair and body rearranged--
Colorless and very drab--
Though I was funny, I discovered sad.

I learned appearances ruled the roost
And pushed forward the awful truth
That I would not be viewed the way
That winey Natasha became one day.

She’d throw her shoulders back and grin
Knowing that she’d made in
To the elist group of gawky boys
Who loved her cool and polished coy.

When I was fifteen I found a way
To advance myself to where I’d stay—
Popular, cool, myself unique
Still, my inner self dared not peep.

I mastered the tricky art of fame
Built a business, made a name
It was easy to believe
The order of things was to achieve

When I was thirty I met the challenge
Of loving a child and seeking some balance
But even then I tried my best
To push myself without a rest

What mattered most was quite apart
From who I was in my sweet heart.
I began to feel a hole within
Deep and hollow, like empty tin.

I knew enough not to settle
For surface joy made of metal.
So I dropped the charm and tried instead
To be myself, both heart and head

I began to listen more than I spoke
And success became my private joke
About the privilege of a good life
That included truths of loss or strife.

Today I am who I will be
In just this moment, gratefully.
I love and lust and lunge and laugh
I understand when I get half

Instead of whole it hardly matters
Because beneath the wind and chatters
My world is simply full and real
And I’ve become the real real deal.


  1. I *love* this, Karen!! Thank you so much for posting this poem -- the words and rhymes you chose are so eloquent. And just the other day I was thinking of the changes I've gone through in life and love and school, so it was nice to read your narrator's account (using a Big Yellow word there :) ). Have a great week!

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  3. I agree -- it's excellent! And I relate so much!

  4. This is a really unique piece of writing, kj. And so well done. I particularly like:

    Today I am who I will be
    In just this moment, gratefully.

    Splendid! See you tomorrow!

  5. thanks, kris. look forward to seeing you too. !


  6. THIS is my favorite!

    I'm so moved by your talent, Karen!

  7. Wow, this is very nice indeed!!!