Words under Pressure #21

It’s been a while since my internal Words under Pressure made their insistent way out into some sort of form.

Up to now, I’ve been busy, contented, creative and only moderately decrepit for a woman of my years and past history. The last 6 weeks, however, have forced me to reconsider many things in my life, and this piece of poetry reflects the sadness and sometimes bitterness of some decisions I’ve had to make recently. Many things I’d hoped and planned for will never happen now. Freedoms I’ve taken for granted are no longer there. Certain actions have Keep Out signs posted on them, for my own safety. I don’t take happily to this change, although those shining constants in my life without which I cannot live are still safely with me, unaffected and of great consolation.

Here we go, then.

Byzantium falls

I am a city under siege.
The ramparts built to last
A thousand years now crumble;
Trees grow atop my walls.

My great donjon sways,
Its foundations sapped,
Its fabric bitten by
The winds of time.

The glorious fortress falls,
Imperceptibly; and slow,
Inexorable and bleak
The soft decay to dust.

The palaces I built
Inside this fortress of my mind
Are gone, those shining
Monuments to glory.

So too the temples,
To beauty, health, ambition –
All gone, lost, ransacked.
Marauders passed this way.

My gardens are a waste
Sown with salt and regret.
Sunlit, dappled courts
Now home to shadows.

There is still a faded trace
of Byzantium’s years of glory;
An echo of what was
And will never be again.

I live as a ghost in my own ruins
And watch my bitter dust,
The slow sift of my fabric,
Down the shafts of sunlight.

When I wrote this, I was feeling sad, resentful and sorry for myself. Normal service has now resumed and my natural optimism has reasserted itself. I’m never allowed to grump for long, in any case; there’s too much that’s still great about life to enjoy out there. Like chocolate, and flowers, and friends, and pretty things to draw and sew…  🙂

28 thoughts on “Words under Pressure #21

  1. kymlucas says:

    Oh, I disagree 100% about your temple of beauty being gone. You seem to create beauty wherever you go.
    That said, no one could possibly blame you for feeling bitter and sad about the recent developments.

    • katechiconi says:

      You are so very kind… And today, the grey pall of gloom has dispersed, the sun is shining, and although my circle of ambition is now much smaller, I still have things to do, things to learn, things to enjoy 🙂

  2. You can be gloomy and resentful as much as you need to. And you never need to apologize for it. Yes, I’d rather you be cheerful as usual, but please never fake it for our sake. xo

  3. Yes. have a good WAIL! Life can be so difficult. You are such a strong person emotionally that having a good moan about it is a perfectly sensible reaction then you get up off your knees and get on with it. But fair enough. Sometimes you just must feel like you have had enough. Glad your cheerful self is back though.. c

    • katechiconi says:

      All it took was to write this. I’m happy with the words, it expresses what I felt very well. And now it’s done. Today I had a huge giggle about the situation with my hairdresser as we built a tower of towels in the hair-wash chair to hold my back in a comfortable position. Even the other customers were joining in. Life is still sweet….

  4. M. L. Kappa says:

    You might be decrepit in some ways, but in all that’s important you’re going strong! I feel for you since I’m in a similar place myself. So hang in there! Hugs!

  5. Grannymar says:

    Putting your thoughts down on paper, even if it is virtual, brings a healing like some folk find in confession. I am no stranger to severe back pain. There are the days to lie low with chocolate, those to cast the pain away with a pebble in the river, but daily I try to visit my mentors on opposite sides of my world. None of us are promised an easy route in this life, but you Kate, and Celi are masters in showing us how to overcome life’s hurdles.

    Stay strong my friend, we need you.

    • katechiconi says:

      I rarely write what I used as a child to call ‘potery’, but some days the words rise and arrange themselves in my head, and I feel compelled to write them down and start tinkering. Hence the title ‘Words under Pressure’ – they’re pushing to get out. It was therapeutic, I like the imagery, but it’s done, and I’m moving on with my customary grin back on my face. Thank you indeed for such kind and supportive words xxxx

  6. Kate, your poetry is on a par for skill and beauty with the fruits of your needle. You sustained the metaphor throught the cri de coeur, and at no time did it sink into self pity Please may I keep the poem as a shining example? I just tried to call you, but Skype is not working for me lately.

  7. tialys says:

    A ‘lapse of courage’ is understandable and excusable and, in your situation, something I would indulge in much more often than you seem to.
    I’m so sorry you had some time feeling like this but, look on the bright side, you got a bloody good poem out of it 😉 I’m glad my cat scratching video made you and Lord C laugh – my daughter sends me things like this when she’s supposed to be finishing her dissertation.
    x o x o

  8. katechiconi says:

    I’m quite pleased with this one, I admit, despite its genesis. The cat scratching video has been viewed several times – it’s the soundtrack that does it for me every time, and was excellent medicine when I needed it.

  9. nanacathy2 says:

    That is a beautiful metaphor in poetry. There was never a happy poet. So every cloud has its silver lining and the pain and sadness of dreams abandoned enabled the birth of your poem. It would make a wonderful subject for a quilt! Glad happy optimistic Kate is back. We should never underestimate the kindness of others. Can just picture you in the hairdressers! Take care, you are such an inspiration to us and so encouraging. Xx

    • katechiconi says:

      Oh, you’re so kind! I have to say, the poem seemed to surface, make itself known, and once it was down and tinkered with, the whole issue went away 🙂

  10. rutigt says:

    I´m glad to hear you are feeling better now 🙂 Every now and when we all crash down into darkness, but then comes the sunshine and we´re up on top again!

  11. Debbierose says:

    Good to hear your spirits are lifting. Its ok to vent, and writing it down gets it out of the system and often helps others. We realise we are not alone. Your not alone. Were all thinking of you Kate.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m just glad the venting took a constructive form! Nothing worse than a great big blob of self pity. I am always grateful for the support I receive from fellow bloggers; we are a humane, generous and kindly bunch.

  12. This is one powerful poem. Strong feelings are the best raw materials to make any form of art into something transformational, something universally true. This is your story but through it we are all Byzantium: falling fully conscious of all we’re losing. I’ll be carrying your poem with me all day today, surely into tomorrow too.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m taking it away soon to work on a bit more. There’s a competition I want to enter it for – my first ever – and I need to ‘unpublish’ this version and make the new one a bit grittier, less romantic. So it’ll disappear for a few months, but will be back in this old form after a bit.

  13. dayphoto says:

    Not feeling well is enough to get one down. Staying down is never good, but getting there is normal. You are an inspiration! HUGS!


  14. EllaDee says:

    Despite its travails I see the majesty of your city and expression of its life. Kahil Gibran’s words “for life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday” speak silently in my head after the last line… Onward we go ☺

    • katechiconi says:

      This poem has provoked many more reactions than my outbursts usually do. Viv has persuaded me to submit it for a competition, something I’ve never considered before. This means I have to take it down, work on it enough to make it a different poem, and then submit the new one. The old version can come back up once all that’s over. It’s remarkably energising, I have to say!

  15. anne54 says:

    I was going to make a comment about how rebuilding a different city and constructing new temples is always possible, neither better nor worse, but different. However, your reply to EllaDee tells me that you are already constructing the new one. Your new city will have a garden for poetry!

  16. katechiconi says:

    The seedling nursery is already there 🙂 All my outbursts are titled ‘Words Under Pressure if you want to have a rootle. Perhaps it’s time to resign myself to the fact that my days with pruning saw, slasher and spade are nearly over… I must get my structural defects fixed, and then see what I’m good for!

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