Compass

Those days when I would go off by myself
into the woods, grandma’s admonitions
‘be careful’ ‘make sure you don’t go too far’

‘Too far’ was never really delineated

As an only child alone with grandparents
each summer, all summer, my independence
struggled to keep pace with my curiosity

With each passing summer I strayed further
from the confines of friendships with other kids
different grandkids of different grandparents

Those kids had siblings, cousins, confines

I had what I needed, filling voids and days
with nature, my own thoughts, inquisitiveness
self-taught solitude my badge of honor

Though I knew each square inch of the woods
surrounding Horseshoe Lake, every leaf-strewn
trail, downed log, sun-soaked clearing to sit

It was the land that knew me better than I it

The woods knew when I needed cheering
they brought me birds, scampering chipmunks
days I needed to inspiration – wildflowers

Rainy days, other homes feared bored children
but rain spoke to me, rhythmically, joyously
via scent, sound through open windows

Youthful exploration gave me an understanding
peers lacked, a knowledge of things unseen
a faith I could have never learned in church

Grandma’s long-ago admonitions to ‘not get lost’
were heeded, until adulthood, when I had to
recall what was, what I had learned as a child

When I was lost, I could always get home
even if the home was no longer there, as the
woods know you, even when you are lost.

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2019
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

 

4 thoughts on “Compass

  1. Hi Mark! I hope your transition to the north east has been going well. I missed the Some Poets lot this year. I started late. I had to “pop by” and check out your work…I am a huge fan.

    I have to tell you that “It was the land that knew me better than I it” brought tears to my eyes. The whole piece is such a beautiful homage to the land that loves you most, but that line reminded me of my trip to the land that remembers me. Last summer to take my mother “home” – one of them. This line made me feel what it was like to return to places that look nothing like they did but they still know us – even if we no longer know them.

    Thank you so much for this profoundly, painfully wonderful piece.

    Now if you will excuse me, I need to go cry in the bathroom. (lol)

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Ramona! Yeah this one turned out o.k. I wasn’t sure when I read the prompt, which was a quote from someone about ‘the land knows you better than yourself’ or something. Glad this resonated…now that I read it again a few days later, I really kinda like it.

      Hope all is well! Thanks for the shout out.

  2. Mark been reading through several of your poems & while I like the ideas expressed in many of them, I feel like a general note for you is a bit of editing / tightening / tweaking would improve most of them. (I get during the marathon there isn’t always time)

    Example: in this verse just cutting three words vastly expands the sense.

    From:
    As an only child alone with grandparents
    each summer, all summer, my independence
    struggled to keep pace with my curiosity

    To:
    An only child alone with grandparents
    each summer, all summer, independence
    struggled to keep pace with curiosity

    A lot of pronouns in your poems could be snipped (because the voice is often first person so constant reminders are not necessary) … & losing them expands meaning “my independence” changes to the much vaster “independence” while still remaining yours because it’s a personal POV.

    Hope this helps

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