Provisional Peace

By: Bela Johnson

Aug 02 2016

Tags: , , ,

Category: emotions, love, parenting, philosophy, relationships, Uncategorized

17 Comments

Aperture:f/2.2
Focal Length:4.15mm
ISO:400
Shutter:1/14 sec
Camera:iPhone 5s

Her tears roll down my cheeks
while I, imperfect proxy, pore over them
one by one, not having done so
since transferring onto flash drives
the sheer volume of archives once overloading
a laptop, then hidden inconspicuously
in a small wooden box near to
and yet far away from their power
to tear at fragile hearts
each time files were clicked open;

Once again I scan through pages stained
from years pressed into albums stored
in a piano bench, grit and dust in the midst
of new construction, implausible façade
for the crumbling life dreamed about
during days when fantasy still captivated,
impossible quandaries, what to do,
not only her life now, but those
of two precious ones entrusted
to her care, numbly trying to shield
while at the same time placing them squarely
in the thrall of her own desperate drama;

Sifting back through time, agony refreshed,
tears sliding unbidden down hollows creased
with living history, withering shoot pushing
wearily through a crack in the granite
of social veneer, the face one wears
in greeting another day without drowning,
gaze fixed firmly on growing things hidden
from people not known well if at all,
distance placed – temporary lives
and shallow roots like existence itself,
she reasons, philosophical smugness passing
off as modern maturity; elderly wisdom arching,
careening over losses in the detritus
of living well as can be expected;

Yet scratch the surface and she
is reminded we are all casualties of conflict,
lovers of life biding time in provisional peace
amidst destruction all around in the form
of memories that keen our awareness;
perhaps it is the best any of us can brook,
this truce with being human, wondering
at the time we have yet to traverse
before we lie still, animated only
in others’ memories while we voyage
into spaces lesser known.

17 comments on “Provisional Peace”

  1. Hi Bela,

    This poem reminds me of some of my students who would make weird faces, conveying through body language and facial expressions that they didn’t understand certain parts or sections of Literature, which I struggled to explain and I would go back to those parts, trying to simplify more! Now I can understand them better, without wondering what is so difficult!
    I know that is your style! Dropping some obscure words…demands of real poetry…making it more intriguing!
    I have high hopes that this provisional peace would some day lead us into profound peace with love and compassion…proxy tears do lead us into calmer us.
    Thank you for sharing so many emotions through this poem, which I had to read at least thrice!

    • Balroop, you do me great honor in taking time to glean meaning from my words. For this is why I write – both for myself to enjoy the word-play, but also as an offering for the few who might grab and go with something of value to them.

      Many blessings on the day! I have been tied up visiting with a dear friend these past few days and am back on the beam. Hope to get to others’ posts, including yours, very soon! Aloha, dear ❤

  2. Wow! So many wonderful ideas and images sparked by this poem. Amazing!

  3. So many memories are opened up by the flick of a button as we open our photo ablums. I was there with you as each new image of bygone years flashed before you.. Sparking those memory banks to ignite and shower is with all of the emotions which we had perhaps long forgotten in those forgotten scenes.

    I know as only on Monday did I drag a case open full to the brim with old photo’s, as I showed my granddaughter her Daddy when he was her age.. She was delighted.. But among them were photo’s of my Mother, which brought their own memories as moisture was wiped away from the eyes..

    Joy and sadness tinged as one.. Thank you Bela for always sharing such meaning that I often relate to in so many of your posts..

    Wishing you a Perfect and Peaceful rest of the week my friend
    Love Sue xxx

    • Oh, yes, Sue – none that I know of awaken in and to this amazing life without painful experience. For me as a mom, the hardest part has been accepting that my adult daughters will and do likewise suffer. I cannot forever interface with the world for them, attempting to smooth the way. They will have to learn and grow by whatever means necessary. That protection instinct does come with the territory, does it not? My own suffering is greatly diminished, mostly through the realization that perception is everything. Now I can walk through this world and witness all of it – the extraordinary grace along with the hardest edges of humanity – and realize it’s all part of some greater plan perfecting itself in the only way it can at present, given human nature. ‘And so I garden.’ I know you understand. Many blessings to you on this day, Sue, and on the path ahead. ❤

  4. I imagine this to in part be touching on vicariously inhabiting mental states, Bela. I should try to be clearer: there seems to be something in parenting in which we can at times feel as if we’re straddling two worlds – theirs and ours – almost as if having lost sole occupancy of our own domain, whilst never further advanced than the threshold in inhabiting the next. Did we ever have any secure domain, or was it just imagined? It’s perhaps enough to know that there’s little of any ‘desperate drama’ in our loved one’s lives (for their tears roll down our cheeks), yet still the sense of a provisional peace can be felt at times. It seems the body has its borders, yet feels far beyond itself in space and time. And when we ‘lie still’, having lived decently, other bodies shall be touched by us in similar ways. All is provisional in apparent fixity, much as we would have it otherwise. I take solace in awareness, as it never appears other than beyond provisional, beyond time, form and memory. H ❤

    • You know, Hariod, this poem has been in my WP queue for some time. I hesitated publishing it, for I realize most people seem to want to read about nature and beauty. I wish that was all there was to life, but it is, of course, not. Provisional happiness is just that. A couple of days ago, I once again referred a friend to your blog to read more about Contentedness, for the concept truly captures what is possible in the way of peace in this life. This friend of decades is one who is too wise to cling desperately to hope in the midst of so much sea change, and too smart to expect more of human beings than we are collectively willing to demonstrate.

      Back to your statement about ‘vicariously inhabiting mental states,’ I want to say this concept was inculcated in me long ago (by C.S. Lewis? Heinlein? too many others to recall …) and I can grasp it easily. We are, of course, all One. That minds merge along strands of physical DNA in particular seems obvious. To draw back on these mental and energetic (psychic) borders for the love of one’s offspring so that they might fully develop their own autonomy in this third dimension we inhabit seems important, if not imperative to the wellbeing of all concerned. But as a mother particularly (having physically engaged in the process of incubating and giving birth) seems challenging for some of us. I think single parenting as well caused me to become quite protective of two beautiful girls in a world of hungry ghosts. Yet the pain of realizing I unwittingly caused them to suffer is not easy, has never been. This is much easier now, in the embrace of realization that all is necessary; intention is everything. And that was never in question, at least for me.

      Many blessings for always piquing my psyche, Hariod, and engaging me in meangful dialogue. I don’t get a lot of that in my tiny corner of Paradise 😉 ❤

  5. I love this one, Bela…and I love the comments. Thanks for sharing from your heart. Blessings to you dear soul ❤

  6. This an amazing write, Bela. I love how you brought modern technology into the first stanza, how these days memories exist digitally and we can actually sort of relive the past once again. Then again, sometimes when we do look at that photo on our computer, not only might the memories come back but maybe it might prompt us to ask questions too – like what happened, can I feel fun like that again, and so on.

    Provisional peace. Peace in the present. I think that is what we need to feel in order to move on to as you said, “voyage into spaces lesser known”. Sometimes the past can be painful but we can make a choice to look at them one last time, keep them away and look ahead. We can’t change what’s happened, but we can control our choices on the paths ahead of us 🙂

    • Mahalo, Mabel, for your kind words. And true, we cannot change what happened in the past. If we are wise, we are able to learn and continue growing through our reflections. Some cannot ‘go there,’ which I find sad. But I also understand how difficult it can be. It can feel raw, unsettling. Still, memory is subjective. What I remember and what others in the same space in time remember often differs, sometimes radically. So I’ve always found it helpful to review my own sense of self through the peculiarities of time and space and be thankful I have the presence to live in my own skin. In the here and now. Thanks again, much appreciated – so glad to have you join us here on my little blog! ❤

      • It is true that some cannot “go there”. A lot of things are out of our control and a lot of the time things happen because they just happen. So, what we do have are memories and dreams: we can reflect on memories and learn from them, and with dreams, we can inspire ourselves to be the best we can be depending on circumstance.

        Agree with you most importantly we have to live in the here and now. Each moment is different, more special than we think ❤

  7. “the face one wears
    in greeting another day without drowning,
    gaze fixed firmly on growing things hidden
    from people not known well if at all” – So true, the whole piece is a strong one, the struggles one can have protecting dependants, whilst staying afloat within oneself also. Hariod says it better than I in such a supeb comment.

    – esme waving at Bela from upon the Cloud

    • Aloha, Esme: Thank you very much for your kind words. I am glad you seem to have enjoyed the piece and can, it seems, relate to it, as well. Gosh, I wouldn’t trade this later part of life for those liminal early days – yikes. So many painful lessons. But hey, plenty of fodder for writing! Thanks again for stopping by! Trust you are enjoying your week’s end ❤

  8. A reflective meditation on the nature of our existence.


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