the capcized life, a poem

The Hanged Man card, Rider-Waite tarot deck


One iced night mom took his hand
and led the boy to a no man’s land
And in the darkness of that night,
he came to know himself as blight

Born upside-down and on a tether,
no turned up way to make him clever
Both heart and memory came away
with jilted mom on that crazed day

Excess baggage he seemed to be,
surviving much-grudged care you see
Imagined poems filled his dreams,
soulful skimming of raw life’s cream

On winds of change other blows,
but joys embedded he has known
And in the end life’s still worthwhile
Life was precious to man and child

Upside-down fuels such rare view,
and capsized life is a lonely pew
But when time came to make a close,
only sweetness from a thornless rose

I was intrigued by this gracious man’s history: a breech birth and coincidentally his Tarot birth card was the hanging man, illegitimate, difficult life but no victim mentality, and a graceful acceptance of death. I’ve no idea why this came out rhymed. As I may have mentioned before, I don’t care for rhymed poetry and rarely write it.

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes, all rights reserve; illustration is in the public domain

“Jung looked upon the situation pictured in the hanged-man as an invitation to plumb new depths of being – a challenge rather than a punishment. ‘For the unconscious always tries to produce an impossible situation in order to force the individual to bring out his very best. Otherwise one stops short of one’s best, one is not complete, one does not realize oneself. What is needed is an impossible situation where one has to renounce one’s own will and one’s own wit and do nothing but trust to the impersonal power of growth and development.'”  Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols 


The recommended read for this week is A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into Formal Imagination of Poetry by Robert Hass (b. 1941), an American poet who was our Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. He won the 2007 National Book Awardand shared the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for the collection Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005. In 2014 he was awarded the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

In A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into Formal Imagination of Poetry Hass brings to bear the same senisbility that marks his poetry with force, clarity and eloquence. From Rome in the time of Caesar to the Renaissance and our own times, Hass breaks down poetry, examining its components from a postmodern perspective. The book is ranging and intense. It’s over four-hundred pages – informed, witty, erudite – something we can go back to again and again.  Never a boring moment. It’s all about love.


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