the hanged man, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

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 when the time came. 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 andTarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Not everyone is delivered wrong-way into the roiling sea of life, but everyone is delivered into challenging situations at one time or another. Every day we meet heroic people who have overcome adverse circumstances or lived with them gracefully. Remarkable! Some people never cease to amaze.  Who do you find admirable and why? Write a homage. Tell us in your poetry that you post in the comments section or via link/s to the poem/s on your blog.

All poems submitted on theme will be published here next Tuesday. Deadline is Monday evening, June 4, 8 p.m. PDT. If this is your first time participating in Wednesday Writing Prompt, please be sure to post your poem or link in the comments section but send your bio and photo to thepoetbyday@gmail.com to be used by way of intro to readers … and me!  🙂

All are encouraged to join in Wednesday Writing Prompt to exercise their writing muscle and make new poet friends.


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22 thoughts on “the hanged man, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Hi Jamie and poets, I hope I haven’t posted this too late. A great prompt. There are many people I admire, dead and living, known and unknown but this lady came to mind straightaway. I hope no-one finds the contents too gory.

    Showing them

    i.m.Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis 1929-1993

    They discussed her wardrobe for Texas.
    Simple, elegant outfits, Jack suggested
    especially on the Dallas trip – to show
    those fur-hugging diamond -dripping
    dowagers what good taste really was.

    She showed them: chose a pink Chanel
    suit, navy blouse and matching pill box
    hat laid out the night before, accessories
    hidden while she smiled to crowds along
    Elm Street, waved a white-gloved hand.

    When he frowned,suddenly,slumped
    forward in the heat’s glare she hunkered
    down, cradled his broken head in her lap,
    scrambled across the limousine’s trunk
    with white kid gloves polka-dotted red.

    She lay on the back seat, her body draped
    over his, wouldn’t let go until she reached
    the Trauma Room of Parkland Hospital;
    sat outside,refused to remove her gloves,
    relinquish any more of him to strangers.

    She showed them, showed the world as
    L.B.J.swore the Oath of Allegiance on Air
    Force One and she stood at his side, wore
    blood-stained stockings and snags of dried
    grey matter on her shocking-pink suit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. vincent van gone

    john wayne took
    kirk douglas to task
    for playing vincent van gogh
    “play real men, not queers”
    is only lightly edited for conciseness

    but vincent was a real man
    not a very pleasant man
    but none can deny that fierce passion
    that took him to the coal mines as a lay preacher
    and gave him to live as the miners did
    In the wretchedest of poverty
    (he was soon fired, of course,
    for misrepresentation of a proper preacher)

    humiliation and scorn were his daily lot
    the townsfolk called him “crazy red”
    and he lived squalidly

    but he was a dreamer alchemist
    and he distilled an elixir
    of hurtsoul and seethy seeing
    from his churning core
    and spread the elixir on canvases

    he is gone but not
    rectangles of his psyche remain

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi, sorry, is this where you want me to post? I really like the Hanged Man poem so much, BTW!

    AUTISOPHOBIA

    Most people fear me
    Now that I’ve confessed
    My autism
    Despite the internet
    And other fonts of info
    They think we all melt down
    And want to commit violence
    On anyone blocking our path
    Even if we only know them virtually
    When the main thing
    We on the spectrum share
    Is our despair
    That we are unlovable
    To others
    Merely because
    We don’t know
    The right words to say
    Or the correct facial expression
    When we are thinking of what was said
    And what we’d like to convey
    I dislike pity
    So when things get sad
    I go into Warrior Mode
    A secret code
    That bids me to lift my head
    Love myself
    And most days (and nights) I do
    But there are times
    When I watch as others
    Shower kudos on their
    Sisters and Brothers
    The Neurotypical
    Who fit in
    While the Neurodiverse
    Like me
    Suffer the penalty
    Of being different…

    (c) 2018 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my third response:

    Pied Wagtail

    As I pack another’s bag
    He says ” I were a packer

    down pit. Tha’d have made
    a good packer.”

    I set each odd shaped stone
    in place to hold back debris
    hold up the pit roof so others
    may have space to work.

    As I pack her bag
    She says “Aren’t they beautiful.
    The pied wagtails”

    She watches their skitter
    and bob outside the shop
    window. “My dad was

    a blacksmith in the pits.
    Well, he was a farrier,

    But when they got rid
    of the ponies he became
    a blacksmith. He allus

    told me Pied Wagtails
    nested in pit prop piles
    stacked outside the pit.”

    My pit prop holds up
    the roof that others
    may safely work.

    The pits are all closed
    their memories are all open,
    a black and white skitter and bob.

    Packer:

    Pack – Roof support made of stone. Large stones at the front, built up like a dry stone wall.
    Packer (1) – One deployed to build the pack walls and fill behind with debris.
    Packer (2) – A big piece of stone to use in the pack wall.
    Packing – Act of building a pack wall and filling a void.
    Packhole – Void at coal face to stow dirt either or both sides of the gate from the ripping lip.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “Don’t let it get away!”
    my sister shouts as my Dad’s hot air
    wrapped in rubber flaps up
    over the ocean
    in a cross gust.

    We both climb in to steady it.
    “We’re going out too far!
    “I can’t see mum and dad.”
    She shouts clambering back out.

    She grasps the rope to pull
    it forward but gust is too strong.
    She lets rope go. “I’m going
    back.” she shouts and swims away.

    I try to paddle but gust is against me.
    I get out, grab the rope, try to haul,
    the current is against me. I climb
    back in. Watch the beach, and mum
    and dad disappear, till there is only
    the gusted, grey green waves.

    It is cold. In my trunks I curl
    into a question mark
    in the rubber dinghy.

    Suddenly, a shout. A huge hand
    gathers me and dinghy up.
    I rise into air. Lifted
    into a smelly fishing boat.

    “Thought tha wa lost their lad.”
    the sea god says.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jamie,

    I see the unexpected generosity of so called “ordinary people” as remarkable:

    Caravan (Please Take Change)

    Three women in the queue
    The first empties her packed trolley.

    Do you need any carrier bags?
    I ask.

    Three to start with. I have to sort out
    What we’re taking in the caravan.
    Why did I buy so much?

    Help packing?

    Yes please while I empty this.

    We’ll do it for you offers one of the other women.
    We’d love a caravan holiday. Don’t take up much space.

    Five carrier bags full later she says. I’ll have to fetch my car round. I’ll never carry all this.

    We’ll carry it for you. We’ve only got these odd goods propose the other two women.

    I can’t have you doing that.
    Yes you can.

    A caravan of women carry bags
    out the door.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have health and body challenges. This simply written narrative “homage” is trying to capture how it might be for my “Swim Buddy” and the thoughts that cross my mind about him as I swim and work out in the water. I hold nothing but admiration for him.

    Swim Buddy

    One random day he fell off a ladder.
    Paralyzed on impact
    never to walk again, they said.

    What year ago did he appear
    young man in a wheelchair
    rolling into the water?

    How many hours has he fought
    his struggles unknown
    to the likes of you and me?

    What year did he appear one day,
    legs booted and braced,
    swaying from side to side?

    He swims laps beside me most days now,
    offers to loan his special chair—
    my surgery is coming soon.

    Some months with walker & cane for me,
    sticks & braces for him forever,
    we park side by side in the disabled spots.

    We cross paths in the grocery aisle
    sneaking looks at what we’ve chosen,
    both leaning on our carts, canes tucked in.

    He is greeted by many, a strange notoriety,
    his story known on the island.
    How many times a day does he say, I’m okay?

    We speak hello by the locker room
    noting the weather, he’s finished early today.
    I don’t ask. We go our separate ways,
    he to his truck, me to the water.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. That is unusual for you Jamie. You know I deliberately rhyme sometimes, regularly or irregularly, but I think it may be that I think I was born after my time! Perhaps you have transmuted your time frame back to the time of the hanged man, when rhythmic and rhymed poetry was the expected thing …? Whatever the cause, I think it’s true that, as poets, we find ourselves to be merely the messengers of something we don’t always control.

    Liked by 1 person

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