midnight in wonderland

we felt so grown up 
when we were kids
and now wonder that 
we are so old when 
we're not yet grown

we started losing 
our parents to 
time and frailty.

in the cycle of life 
things go upside 
down sometimes

you rush
d o w n
the
  rabbit hole
      into a world
above the logic of sorrow

and find you are so
small, but remember:
Mom's high ceiling, 
your sure ground.

see the sky and trees
in your pool of tears
they're the other side 
of life. how beautiful 
things are when they drown

how clear it is underwater.

you long to run 
to the garden 
beyond that door 
but you don't fit

life would feel deformed 
under the weight of loss 
if it weren't for the faith 
that was bigger than the 
life that shut down

she archived her fears and 
hopes in her kids, did
anyone hear the story 
in between, did
anyone  look?

hold fast 
your heirloom assurance

the midnight of your dreams
is really a new day.

for HJ &
anyone else
who would like it

104 thoughts on “midnight in wonderland

  1. My dear friend in NYC lost her father and buried him this Sunday. With a weeklong shiva which I am unable to attend… my heart goes out to my friend. With grief so deep and sorrow so raw, sometimes all we could do is express our sympathy… some of us do so with a gentle caress, some with shared silence and some with beautiful creations of beauty– whatever form takes flight. Thank you for your poem.

  2. I like this: ” … she archived her fears and hopes in her kids, did anyone hear the story in between, did anyone look?” Question for you: do you think that we sometimes cannot shift out of an analytical space, which pushes us towards poetry with a bit of tension? I am guilty of this. I have a desire to know “what this means”. So, your words ” … did anyone hear the story in between, did anyone look?” I think I know what that is about … It really rolls. Obviously I am curious. Keep writing.

    • A faithful reader asked me a similar question, which I will be opening an upcoming post with – the finale to my writing series. I guess, like him, you don’t feel I’m a “random” writer?

      So is your specific question the meaning of that line? Did anyone bother listening for Mom’s whole story, between the fears and the hopes for her kids? We are as happy as our child’s happiest. As a parent, the well-being of your child does define you. But we do forget our mothers were once people who even had a childhood – I think they sometimes forget, too. I have, about myself – until recently (hence the two prior poems). My friend’s mother was the epitome of sacrifice. She gave and gave and until she gave up her spirit.

      I appreciate your time and support.

  3. losing a parent or even seeing them in their weakness can be so hard and humbling that is for sure…as they were the rock in our universe the whole first part of our lives…my mom broke her leg a few years back and we had to care for her…we did it gladly but that was the first ping of reality in that realm for me.

    • Brian, I wrote the poem for my friend but the painful ping you speak of (can be a zing or zap, too) that you lifted from the piece and share out of experience takes me right back to when I started noticing my parents aging. I got very agitated (putting it mildly). I realized later it was from the sense of helplessness. Wise way of putting it…how they were our rock the first part of our lives. Even if they weren’t this noble, dependable rock my friend still mourns, there are unspeakable ways they were a necessity we took for granted. And we begin to see them crumble. Thanks so much for your time.

  4. So beautiful and poignant, and especially meaningful since I am still trying to adjust to having lost both parents. My “Parents and Parenting” Category on Soul Gatherings speaks to exactly this. Thank you for this lovely work.

    • Theresa, oohhh, I got your pain. It bleeds through your posts still. I appreciate the distinction you make between closure and survival. Glad you pointed me to that section. Funny how my poem hit you where it still hurt because my friend’s mom was 60 when she passed away.

      Be blessed and comforted.

  5. i like the hopeful note you end this on… sometimes reality seems to weigh heavy on us and we def. need a place to dream those dreams and those rabbit holes can lead you to the most interesting places…smiles

    • Thank, Claudia. Interesting you take note of the ending. I just picked up poetry again after a decade – and that time 10 yrs back was just for fun. I realized that I would’ve ended a recent poem I posted very differently 10, 20 years ago. I can rest (end) on hope now. Blessings. Diana

  6. “she archived her fears and hopes in her kids, did anyone hear the story in between, did anyone look?” Wow, ow, bullseye, poignant, painful, thank you for recognizing the lost spaces, even though it made me gasp, cringe, and curl over with my arms wrapped tightly around myself.

    That is the power and point of art.

  7. This one resonated with me as it must for anyone well into their cycle of life.

    “we felt so grown up
    when we were kids
    and now wonder that
    we are so old when
    we’re not yet grown”

    Why does our awareness of time lag chronological time?

    “in the cycle of life
    things go upside
    down sometimes”

    Don’t they just.

    “and find you are so
    small, but remember:
    Mom’s high ceiling,
    your sure ground.”

    Yes. We all need this “sure ground” at some point in our lives

    “you long to run
    to the garden
    beyond that door
    but you don’t fit”

    Wanting to return to that more peaceful time of our lives seems to be so universal that we must be hard-wired for it.

    “she archived her fears and
    hopes in her kids,”

    Beautifully put. That’s exactly what we do.

  8. life would feel deformed
    under the weight of loss
    if it weren’t for the faith
    that was bigger than the
    life that shut down

    I feel that this is the most compelling lines I have read in a while. Very good job with this piece.

  9. The cycle of life brings both joy and sorrows. Joy in the experience of childhood with nurturing and loving parents, and after they have gone the memories of those pleasant times. Sorrow in that those happy times can no longer go on except in those memories.

  10. how fast the roar of youth is an echoe of noise small in the distances. I can’t say i’m unable to handle things or even admit that hell of i don’t know but it’s getting done anyways. it’s not a large feeling but it is larger living. funny that paradox continues of big and small. the smaller I am the bigger i have to live- yet the bvigger i’ve felt…ahhh what large emptinesses 😉

  11. Pingback: I Ought. – dreamtimestarmanjones

  12. About that “archiving of hopes and fears”…I/ we could all write a book about that phrase. Wow. I’m in the middle of some painful realizations about my own adult children. Too painful to post about right now, still. Your words hit home. Thanks for this one. And don’t stay away for too long.

  13. My dad and I were going through stuff in his attic when we came across pictures that he didn’t remember having. They were pictures of he and my mom (now deceased) when they first got married. It doubled the number of their wedding pictures I have from 2 to 4. Something that simple brought tears to my eyes because it connected me to the past and gave me something tangible to hang onto in loss.

  14. Alice through the looking glass without the dedication to M! What a wonderful reminiscence of our days here on earth. How magical they truly are in spite of what we are taught of grow to believe!

  15. Diana you have such a unique way with words and this poem is stunning and I could here the clock of time ticking away as I read it and thought of my own childhood. The loss of time scares me for I know not where it goes and it goes so fast. Thanks for sharing it.
    Kath

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