pushmepullyouHaving reached an odd stage in my life where all the things I want to do seem both bound up in and mutually exclusive of the things I need to do, I sometimes find myself very conflicted. Worse yet, it’s getting really hard to tell the difference between the two. I think I’m starting to understand how Dolittle’s pushme/pullyou must have felt.

For me, conflicted feelings nearly always give rise to poetry. On the upside, this generally keeps me from doing anyone serious bodily harm. On the downside, I have to post it somewhere, so, here ’tis. Don’t say you weren’t warned.


Summer tosses threads of adventure but

I’ve lost my depth perception and cannot

catch what she throws my way.

These days it’s less about what I should

do and more about what I would do;

except that it isn’t. And I hate the frustration

that stalks my waking moments, prodding

coals of resentment in a heart that wants only peace.

Inverted desires stalk me with pent up aggression.

No to sunshine, yes to 60 watts of hard work;

no to pool side margaritas, yes to editing, posting

poems and publication of a life’s work that was

started late and may never be

finished. That’s the fear.

That I’ve left it too late.

That there isn’t enough time on my clock.

The specter of a missed horizon makes

everything else a pale shadow of itself

and leaves me afraid  of being

doomed to chasing ghosts

of what might have been possible if

I had only had the courage

to start on time.


6 thoughts on “Conflicted Rag

  1. Never forget to enjoy life. I’ve heard you say a million times that your inspiration comes from things that come across your path in everyday life. How will you be your best if you forget the fun and focus only on the work of it. You love what you do, don’t make it a chore. God will give you all the time you need. Love you.


  2. “coals of resentment in a heart that wants only peace.” I know just how you feel. I think old(ish) age is a re-run of adolescence. My emotions are more vivid and powerful than they were; I feel awkward in a strange and sometimes hostile world. I get frightened at times…..it’s like being sixteen again…. without the energy.


    1. I hear you. It can be a bit scary and it does feel like it did at sixteen – everything coming at you ninety MPH with no brakes. For me though, the energy is there. Its combined, for perhaps the first time, with knowing what I really want. The burden comes with the responsibilities that I’ve been blessed with along the way and don’t want to neglect or give up. At sixteen I knew the value of very little and so, I was fearless. Now I know how much there is to lose and it tends to make me cautious, and sometimes frustrated. Then I look again and realize how blessed I am. That realization at least makes the striving worth the frustration.
      Thanks for the comment. I always enjoy your thoughtful responses.


      1. Oh yes- experience is a lifesaver- the knowledge that things, on the whole, will work out in some way or another. Faith is another- I would never push it on anyone else, but it works for me. But things do change. The world moves on and you are, to some extent, left behind in your own world.

        You’re required reading, by the way. It’s all good stuff. I have a blog here jackspratt823.wordpress.com/ if you’re interested


      2. its all a matter of perspective isn’t it? and being comfortable with yourself and where you are in life. Or taking steps to remedy it if you aren’t comfortable. (And when I say comfortable, I don’t mean the couch-potato sort, I mean content) That’s what I want to reach. A stage of contentment where I can balance things. Far easier said than done, I’m afraid, but well worth the effort. The day I wrote this I was feeling very out of balance and that’s the issue the poem speaks to for me.


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