No Rhyme or Reason (poetry)

January 12, 2017

Greetings! Welcome to a new segment of the website, "No Rhythm or Reason", which features poetry in all forms.  Below is the inaugural poem, "Societal Expectations". Enjoy!

 

“Societal Expectations”

 

I hear women’s whispers, see their gazes, their turned heads.

“She’s thirty, she’s not married.  Might as well that she be dead.”

The hens cluck and chide until I boldly meet their eyes

With a smile and a wave.  What an unwelcome surprise.

The brood seeks sanctuary because in the Church they hide.

 

On hard pews they sit so holy and prim, with haughtily held chins,

Pretending to be dutiful adherents to the preacher’s sermon.

Yet their thoughts are on women beside them – are they trusted friends?

Or superficial relations, all show, no substance, waiting for the reel to end.

 

I twirl, unchained, free from society’s great expectations.

Unhappy women’s jealousy is poorly masked by weak deprecation.

I won’t settle under pressure, under a fabricated ticking of time.

You’ve decided what life you are ‘supposed to live’ but I’ve chosen mine.

I’m true to myself, and society, I’m fine.

 

 

I’m a couple’s object of fascination at the dinner table.

I’m an object of pity.  “Single, somewhat older but still able

To find a respectable man on a dating website.  You’ll find one I’m sure,

Just don’t be too picky, look quickly. Marriage is loneliness’s sole cure.”

 

I smile and I nod when they bicker during their ride home.

Just because you’re with a person doesn’t mean you aren’t alone. 

I drive windows down, singing loud, every lucky star shining bright.

My heart’s full, the world’s bringing him when the time and man are right.

 

I twirl, unchained, free from society’s great expectations,

Unhappy women’s jealousy is poorly masked by weak deprecation.

I won’t settle under pressure, under a fabricated ticking of time.

You’ve decided what life you are ‘supposed to live’ but I’ve chosen mine.

I’m true to myself, and society, I’m fine.

 

A young woman in a park sat under a willow, weeping,

Knees drawn up, arms folded, eyes dark from not sleeping.

Tears streaming, she raised her head at my steps.

I knelt next to her, and in a stricken voice she said,

 

“I ended my engagement because we weren’t a good pair.

My parents yelled, shouted that my judgment was impaired.  

Why do they care, it’s not fair, when it’s my life that changed?

Why do they care, they weren’t there, for the arguments exchanged.

 

My mother says, ‘Your sister had a husband at twenty-five.’

My father says, ‘Your brother at thirty had his precious first child.’

Your mother says, ‘They’re visiting this weekend, you should stop by.’

Your father says, ‘Without traffic, it’s a four-hour drive.’

 

They praise my siblings for having their kids.

But they never ask about my world or how my life is.”

She goes silent, morosely, and I take up her hand.

She looks at me and I smile, because I understand.

 

“Reject conditional love; reject their selfish estimations.

They attack for fear of facing their own private desperation.

Those who truly love you find your value as you are.

You sparkling, pure, the night sky’s brilliant North Star.”

 

I raised her from seat under the tree and danced ….

 

We twirl, unchained, free from society’s great expectations.

Unhappy women’s jealousy is poorly masked by weak deprecation.

We won’t settle under pressure, under a fabricated ticking of time.

You’ve decided what life you are ‘supposed to live’ but I’ve chosen mine.

I’m true to myself, and society, I’m fine.

 

So thank you all for your unsolicited and considerate advice,

How odd since you married young, for fun, and didn’t think twice,

Divorced fifteen years later with too many regrets.

I’m waiting so that my fifty years with my partner are the best. 

 

Your life didn’t end the way you wanted to, and that’s fine.

You have walked beside a stranger, but I’m hand-in-hand with mine.

 

 

 

 

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