Two Poems About Life

What follows are two poems that show me trying to make sense out of life. As you’ll see, they are written in very different tones. One emphasizes the harrowing and emotional; the other is more cerebral. We need to meet life and find meaning on all its levels. These pieces hint at some of my recent efforts to do so.


You lie in moonlight on a bed of knives.
Spikes carving into your ribs,
Thighs oozing and scabbing.
Pain is eating you.

You want to believe you’re dreaming.
Life must not gnaw at you like this. Normally,
You keep the blades sheathed.
Normally, you wrap Nature in cellophane.

But tonight her edges are bare,
Her needles honed.
Iron probes your meridians.
It shocks you. Awakens you.

Life is hungry, and it wants us to remember.
It consumes us, digests us,
Ruins us,
Until we feast on the banquet.

Until we savor the rivulets of blood
And crack our own dormant kernels.
Until we are broken to the wild, wild openness,
And our remnants rise, mist in the morning wind.


It still puzzles me
This person I am become
This animal cowering and scratching
This soul climbing through its folds of skin
This unseen flame, this silent voice, this waiting.

It still attracts me
This planet I’ve landed upon
This thicket of thorns, orchids, and bees
This moving crust, this mantle of warm stone
This sphere of gardens, this vibrant home, this embrace.

They still stir me
These paradoxes we inhabit
These cells of craving, climax, and regret
These openings amidst obstacles, these sighs of surrender
These jewels set in losses, these fertile tears, these quiet graves.

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4 Responses to Two Poems About Life

  1. Cathleen Deery says:

    These are so- I would say evocative, but that word does not express the rawness of the experience that you convey in the first poem, nor the hard-won, hopeful appreciation expressed in the second. They speak eloquently. Listening.

  2. Will says:

    Thanks, Cathleeen. As we discussed before, some truths are best expressed poetically.



  3. Cathleen Deery says:

    I have been reading Martin Buber today:

    “The ones who count are those persons who though they may be of little renown respond to and are responsible for the continuation of the living spirit.”

  4. Will says:


    Excellent quote! Uplifts me. Thank you.


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