Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Sword and the Shield

At three I made my own breakfast
from milk and orange juice
a bowl and box of cereal
an unseen hand placed on the lowest shelves.
I was straight and sturdy
proud of my little self.
I never knew.

At twenty, I shunned marriage
turned away from my fine job
headed West--
the summer of love
North Beach poetry
music in the parks.
I was a rebel. I would be different.
I never knew.

"My art comes first," my new husband cautioned
as we left the justice of the peace.
He was crazy
chased women
Onward I marched
Athena, sword drawn.
I never knew.

Ah well. You've heard the story.
Single parenthood
my own crazy
choices that seemed bold and new
creative and affirming.

Until they died, Mom and Dad,
I never knew I marched behind
an invisible shield they held before me.
At last I see, at last I know.

photo courtesty of Willow. Read more writing from this prompt on Magpie Tales.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think we all finally realize that the shield of love has always been with us...when it is gone.

Lynn said...


Jann Gougeon said...

very moving, Suki.

Robin said...

I can't praise this enough....
I KNOW how you feel about your poems....but you are waaaayy too harsh a judge! This is powerful and moving.... and very good!! And I love it! (So there....)

Love, always,

♥ Robin from the "Rain Capital of the World" ♥

Mim said...


Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

I really understood this. Very moving. Tells a life time of not seeing what was right in front of us.

sixty-five said...

This brought a tear to my eye. Please keep writing poems.

Lisa said...

Suki, I am really enjoying your poetry!
Thanks!! Lisa

Kimmie said...

Your poem makes me want to savor the moments I have right now .....

...louciao... said...

Yikes. This goes straight to my heart.

ZenDotStudio said...

I feel I have seen your life, a life, all of our lives in your poem. Very poignant.

Cuts through it all and bravely offers a little taste of what a life is.

patti said...

So much of what we learn and receive from our parents is by osmosis - it is not a conscious thing. I love this poetry Suki, it is very real and strong!

Marion said...

Wow. This is such strong, wonderfully moving poetry, Suki. I have to tell you (again!) how talented you are. Beautiful!!! xo

studio lolo said...

oh my, this is my new favorite!
It completely moved me. I loved the mystery of not knowing what it was you never knew until the very end.
Magnificent writing, Suki.Truly.


Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said... true. I know I will miss that invisible shield when my mom passes, too...