I Shall be Still

river-2631499__340.jpg

In exercise 3 of The Sandbox Writing Challenge, Calen asks “What prevents you from being still?”

This is the answer that came to me:

As a child,
I exercised a wild kind of control —
play-fighting with nature,
playing my countryside games
as I schemed to fly,
dreaming of coasting over open fields and shady lanes.

Wings on my heels, working with the wind,
sometimes leaning into it to see if it would hold me,
rebelling, balancing precariously above a precipice
while a mild gale tried to blow me over.

Leaping from tuft to tuft of green, knowing
where the sucking bog lurked, unseen,
keeping clear of the mud,
feeling high.

Climbing trees, elated, safe
from skinned knees and careless slips,
sure of myself as my hair tangled in the breeze.
and I breathed greedy helpings of summer sky.

Marching upstream,
kicking feet, splashing sprays of liquid diamonds
that sparkled on freshly freckled flesh.

Laughter bellowing from my belly.

Building dams of rocks and clay,
only to smash them –
revelling in the battle against water,
and in the sudden rush of feigned defeat.

Swimming against the flow, making the water go
where I chose.

Over time, your stubborn cross-flow builds momentum.
Torrents flow and banks are broken,
Whirlpools form as if from nowhere.
It takes a while to know that you are sinking,
and longer still to find your loved ones
swirling in a deeper hole,
drowning in the distance.

Dragged down
by so many years of weak decisions.

Not a warrior after all —
I had lost control.

Buffeted by the results of a vast range
of calamitous actions, meandering ways and artist’s haze —
of all those lost and loping days,
I clamber to the shore
and struggle to put the river back on course.

I cannot rest until
I have corrected its direction.

Soon, my children will all be well,
and I shall be still —
at least for a spell.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

14 thoughts on “I Shall be Still

    1. Thank you! I’m shockingly busy at the moment. At times like this the muse starts to pull at my fingers. With so much going on I can’t begin to catch up with my reading – or my sleep…

      Like

  1. I clamber to the shore
    and struggle to put the river back on course.

    I cannot rest until
    I have corrected its direction.

    Soon, my children will all be well,
    and I shall be still —
    at least for a spell…

    Whoa! I REALLY identify with this one, Jane. You know, I can just picture you running along the banks in that beautiful picture up there — and you’re still wild at heart, aren’t you…

    Liked by 1 person

        1. On a serious note, I’m grateful for the wildness – I’ve seen glimpses of the plan, and now I’m grateful for everything – except two events. It’s not for me, but for one of my daughters to grow through them.

          Liked by 1 person

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