“When you’re down and out / When you’re on the street / When evening falls so hard /I will comfort you (ooo) / I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes / And pain is all around / Like a bridge over troubled water / I will lay me down / Like a bridge over troubled water / I will lay me down.” – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon and Garfunkel
Wes called up to a young woman sitting on the bridge ledge.
He gulped and climbed up beside her, assessing her. She shook her head, “I’m not here to jump, it’s only peaceful up here.”
He settled beside the woman on edge. “I’m Wes,” he said, “I’m not a fan of heights. I don’t understand how you can sit here and find it tranquil.”
She laughed, “I’m Becca, Wes. Scoot back and look at everything from this gorgeous view.”
“See, the moon’s a giant light in the sky illuminating everything so the bridge doesn’t feel eerie at night. Now, look at the water below you.”
He peered down: “I see darkness, turbulence, and fear. I see a river where too many people have jumped and drowned in.”
“You see this bridge as dangerous Wes. But without the bridge, no one would get across to the otherside. Without people in our life–our friends, loved ones, God, helpful strangers –we wouldn’t make it through troubled waters.“
“Yeah, I know Becca,” he said.”It’s like the song by Simon and Garfunkel.”
“Sometimes, we help ourselves, with a little effort.”
“You stopped yourself, having every intention of jumping before you saw me,” Becca said gently.
“You saved me Becca,” Wes admitted.
She shook her head and smiled, disintegrating. He gasped, carefully, moving off the ledge onto the bridge’s walkway.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks/things you can think up if only you try!”
― Dr. Seuss
Alice was growing older and she hadn’t been to Wonderland in years. Yet, she had not forgotten the lessons she learned there.
She was an imaginative girl, so much so her mother could not figure out where Alice came up with her fanciful ideas.
But Alice’s mother adored her daughter so she let her creativity run free, including playing outside and having tea with her imaginary friends.
While having tea, Alice talked to the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Door Mouse, and March Hair. Often, she talked to a smoking Catipillar, whom her mother naturally disapproved of. But Alice only laughed at her mother saying:
” Why the Caterpillar needs the medicine he smokes. He’s in a great deal of pain becoming a butterfly.”
Alice’s mother had been making ice tea in a pitcher as it was summer. Alice didn’t know what to do at first, her friends enjoyed hot tea. But she determined after a while, they would have to make do with ice tea. She poured the cold tea into her prized teapot.
She brought the tea to the marigolds and dandilions in the field by her house and poured the cold tea at the base of all her flower friends. She even brought them a few cookies, which she crumbled around their stems.
Sometimes Alice liked to sit out in the field and read. She brought out a fancy white cushioned chair from the parlour to a field of grass and flowers. She sat there considering life and paging through a novel. She was wearing a hat her grandma had given her to keep the sun from her face.
Alice fell asleep outside in the chair and dreamed she was in Wonderland. She dreamt she had eaten bread to make her big and tall.
She found herself next to a curious house with the appearance of a giant 🍐 pear ; it had a small red door with steps going down to the grass below.
There was a handsome Raven sitting on the house, opposite of where Alice stood. She placed her ear against the house, trying to hear if anyone was inside.
“You won’t find anyone in there,” the Raven told Alice.
“But why wouldn’t they be at home?” Alice asked. “Its Wonderland, creatures here don’t go to work even if they’re adults. Besides, wouldn’t a mother or wife be at home?”
“I wouldn’t quite call them adults and it’s presumptuous to think all women should stay at home.”
“If they’re not adults, how come they have a house?” Alice wondered. She looked back to the Raven, “I only thought the wife or mother might be home because she could be like my mother who stays home.”
Alice sat down, reaching towards the small red doorway of the pear 🍐 house; it was locked up tight. “Why is the door locked? Who would break into their home here? My father never locks our door.”
The Raven chuckled in the weird way birds do, “I think they are avoiding unwanted guests of giant proportions.”
“Also, I think you’re forgetting everyone needs something to do in the day, work or otherwise. We all have tasks, seasons of life to experience, even in Wonderland.”
“Seasons of life?” Alice asked confused. “Well, what season am I in? I don’t feel young, but I’m certainly not old. I’m only nine. But since coming to Wonderland years ago, I think of things adults don’t even consider.”
The Raven squawked, continuing to chuckle.
“Hmmm,” Alice said, “It only occurred to me, no one ever told me why a Raven is like a writing desk?”
The Raven ignored Alice but began to whistle a discordant tune.
“That’s awful,” Alice said but he continued his song.
When he stopped he peered with little black eyes at Alice, “See everyone has a song to sing. Not everyone thinks their neighbour’s song is pretty, but it’s theirsong and so they must sing it.”
“It is the same with the creatures in this pear 🍐 house. They are off singing their life song, doing what they feel they are meant to do in life, in this season.”
“Each part of life has a song,” the Raven said. “I hear you singing your song when you’re out in the fields having tea with your Wonderland friends, using your imagination. You’re in the spring of life and your song is lovely and new.”
“But,” continued the Raven, “I am in the Winter of my life. I’ve had many children and I am old, but I sing mysong anyways. Even when we are old, we have a purpose and must sing our own song.”
Alice thought a long while about the seasons, singing, and what the Raven told her. Then she smiled, ” I understand what you mean now. But do you think you and the owners of this pear 🍐 house would mind joining my other Wonderland friends and myself for tea?”
The Raven cawed laughing at Alice. He nodded his little black head and flew away.
The next moment, Alice awoke and found herself sleeping in her mother’s plush parlour chair out in the grassy field. Her mother looked down on her gently and smoothed Alice’s hair:
“Alice there you are. Oh, my good chair. It’s white and you’ve got dirt and grass all over it,” mother said sternly.
Alice sleepily smiled and said,” I was in Wonderland and talking to a Raven about the songs we each sing in life in different seasons. I’m sorry about the chair Mama.”
Her mother shook her head sighing and ruffled Alice’s hair, “Oh you and Wonderland. Will you ever grow out if it? Little girls will be attending school again in Fall.”
Alice sighed and helped her mother bring the chair back into the house to be cleaned. She decided to visit the roses in the backyard later.
Aluce had told her mother many strange stories about red roses. So much so, Alice’s mother gave her the job of watering and caring for the roses in the garden; she babied her roses. She didn’t want anyone to think she’d been painting her roses and that they weren’t truly red — that always led to problems.
She wondered about what season of life the roses and all the flowers in the field were in? What was their purpose except to be beautiful? Alice began to hum the particular song of the flowers, watering her roses and caring for them.
Suddenly, she remembered it was her birthday in a week. She would be ten-years-old; how could she forget? She must go inside the house and remind her mother she needed more bowls to match her tea set.
For a moment Alice sighed thinking about school beginning soon. Children at school didn’t understand her much. Often, they knew less about things than many adults. Girls at school sang their own songs and Alice as usual, sang a unique tune.
Caden wasn’t sure how he arrived at the park; his feet had walked themselves there. He sat on a park bench feeling empty and worthless. In front of him sat an old Chinese stove, but he gave it little thought.
He’d lost Caroline for real this times and Caden didn’t know how to get her back. Lyrics from the song playing in the pub as she walked away from him, were on a continuel loop in his mind; she loved that song. He sighed, begging his mind to forget the painful lyrics.
“She’s imperfect but she tries, she is good but she lies. She is hard on herself, she is broken and won’t ask for help. She is messy but she’s kind, she’s is lonely –most of the time. She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie; she is gone but she used to be mine.”
Caden hadn’t ever felt so low. What did a man do when the woman he thought he’d stay with forever disappeared and wouldn’t talk to him?
No one seemed to know where Caroline was. He had almost cried in front of her Dad saying he only wanted to apologize and win her back. Caroline’s Dad patted Caden on the back saying,”Things will get better soon.”
Caden stared at the odd Chinese Stove wondering what its purpose was. He attempted to distract himself with the stove as the lyrics from that damn song floated back to him:
“If I’m honest I know I would give it all back for a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two. For the girl that I knew who’ll be reckless just enough, who’ll get hurt but, who learns how to toughen up when she’s bruised . . . she is gone but she used to be mine.”
Caden pressed his hands against his ears, trying to block the words out.
Suddenly, Caroline was standing in front of him, “How did you get here?” He asked her.
She gazed at him, “You look horrible Caden. Did I do that to you?”
He gasped shocked at seeing her, truly there now sitting beside him. Caden couldn’t hold back, he cried into Caroline’s neck as she stroked his hair; he held onto her tightly.
“I thought you would never forgive me,” he said.
“It’s alright,” she crooned to him, “I’m not leaving you ever again.”
Thanks for the music post from Mind Loves Misery’s Menagerie. The prompt song is “Sound of Silence” by Simon andGarnfunkel. Most recently, it is noted, the band Disturbed, did a wicked version of this classic.
And now our prompt (still optional!) Because we’ve spent our month looking at poets in English translation, today I’d like you to try your hand at a translation of your own. If you know a foreign language, you could take a crack at translating a poem by a poet writing in that language. If you don’t know a foreign language, or are up for a different kind of challenge, you could try a homophonic translation. Simply find a poem (or other text) in a language you don’t know, and then “translate” it based on the look or sound of the words. Stuck for a poem to translate? Why not try this one by Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska? Or here’s one by another Laureate, Tomas Transtromer. Happy writing!
Please see NaPoWriMo for more information. This is the final day. Thank you all who have followed my poems in this month long journey. Also, I apologize for my awful French language skills.
And now, for our prompt (optional as always!) Just as Rosa Jamila’s poems often sound like they come out of a myth or fairy tale (and not always one with a happy ending), today I challenge you to write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale or myth. Instead of writing from the point of view of Cinderella, write from the point of view of the mouse who got turned into a coachman. Instead of writing from the point of view of Orpheus or Eurydice, write from the point of view of one of the shades in Hades who watched Eurydice leave and then come back. Happy writing!