Stagnant kindness left

You wait for signs
when days are not
as trenches
of your battlegrounds.

You wait for days
when wildflowers are touched
caressed
by hands and not as weed
with unsheathed scythes.

You wait since
so much of any year is flammable
in icicles and eyes,
when all you have to drink
is sweetened gasoline.

You wait
when graveled in your shoes
are scribbled notes,
of partial lies in dusk
exposed and
shamefully unpeeled.

You wait
for stagnant kindness left behind
as mildewed husks
at dawn.

You wait …
            in vain.

Illustration to "A Week of Kindness" by Max Ernst

Illustration to “A Week of Kindness” by Max Ernst

Today Mary take care of us at dVerse Poetics and want us to use a line from Burning the Old Year by Naomi Shihab Nye.
My choice of line is “so much of any year is flammable”

March 8, 2016

35 responses to “Stagnant kindness left

  1. OMG, the third and fourth stanzas! SO good. That picture (and the paragraph below) are cracking me up.

  2. I see we chose the same line but to very different results. I like the first two stanzas best and the way you build up expectation until we reach the last short line.

  3. Ah, too many days seem to be trenches of battlegrounds! If only there would be more days when wildflowers would be caressed!

  4. Wonderfully written Bjorn… this is a great challenge..and a fabulous poem provided as the prompt. Was immediately inspired to give it a shot as well!

  5. The stark ending gave me pause and I specially admire this part Bjorn:

    You wait since
    so much of any year is flammable
    in icicles and eyes,
    when all you have to drink
    is sweetened gasoline.

  6. Ah yes, one can only hope that the waiting, at some point, bears fruit. Your next to last stanza is killer good. You inspired me to jump on in early; thanks.

  7. Such, a sad write, Bjorn, which made me, want to cry, at the crudity of love, one can endure. Do hope, you weren’t writing, from personal experience.

  8. Such strong and sometimes disturbing images, Bjorn. You used your chosen line to good effect. The “sweetened gasoline” made me think of those fire-breathing people at the fairs…and then I saw your illustration…straight out of a circus!

  9. The repeated refrain “you wait” really makes this piece. My favorite stanza is:
    “You wait
    when graveled in your shoes
    are scribbled notes,
    of partial lies in dusk
    exposed and
    shamefully unpeeled.”

  10. What a use of contrast – flammable and icicles! Sweetened gasoline (the very smell makes me sick). Unusual combinations abound in this poem – and stagnant kindness is a very descriptive phrase, I can imagine it well.

  11. A perfect line to choose as a jump-off point for this excellent poem. The image gave me a start though – hadn’t expected that. 🙂

  12. Bjorn, this is brilliant writing. Captures a lot of what I feel about these days, these… flammable days. Icicles and eyes, sweetened gasoline, yes. I see the gas, in particular, as our media. Seems to go down sweet, but oooh, the heartburn. Glad to read you again, my friend. Thank you. You make me think. Amy

  13. I think “vain” is secretly “van” and this is really about a guy looking for a new girl to abduct.

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