the skeleton of
everything
dances in the wind
of revision

some days
my heart breaks four thousand times
and that’s all before
i open my eyes

heartache is the farmer of contentment
planting seeds he knows have little chance
of bearing fruit

if you want 40 plants you sow 68 seeds
and if you’re lucky you’ll end up with 50

think too much and you’ll always have just enough

but no one ever said happiness
was a permanent state
and no one ever said
survival was a given

we stand in a field of black soil
and cry when our feet get muddy

the rain will wash you clean
as long as you don’t run
and sometimes the sky has to cry
just the same way a mother
has to worry

have you ever tallied the scars
on the tree that shades
your bedroom?

missing limbs
broken branches, gashes
peeling bark

sap runs slowly through the veins
of existence

but every spring
green
new growth
insists on piercing the cloud
blocking your view
of the sun

and four thousand leaves
never seem
overwhelming

until tomorrow
when they’ll fuel the flame
you find impossible
to douse

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27 Responses to “the skeleton of
everything
dances in the wind
of revision”

  • Buddah Moskowitz Says:

    Absolutely wonderful read. Very inspiring.

  • claudia Says:

    but no one ever said happiness
    was a permanent state… true… and it’s good to learn those lessons from nature… seldom that the plants make it unhurt through their life – yet they’re such a blessing even with their scars – and so are we…

  • brian miller Says:

    happiness is often dependent on us…regardless of the situation…it becomes a choice…but yes, it is not promised, any more than survival….those were the lines that grabbed me in this…

  • sarah Says:

    fabulous – really fabulous. especially the first stanza … and the second … the whole thing was fabulous.

  • Kathryn Dyche Dechairo Says:

    Really love this, just perfect.

  • Sherry Blue Sky Says:

    WOW! There is a lot of life wisdom in this poem and it speaks straight to my heart – the title hooked me, and your opening lines……the seed wisdom, “no one ever said happiness was a permanent state”……just loved every line of this wonderful poem. What a great start to my morning! Thank you.

  • poemblaze Says:

    This is a great poem. We seem to both be dealing with loss, decay, absence and also the fact that everything continues on, new green growth is always there

  • poemblaze Says:

    but the green growth just gets in the way.

  • KATiE MiA FredericK!iI Says:

    Ahh the advantage.. of the vegetation..never looking back to grow..never noticing the fellow seeds that fall away..to imagine the despair of what could be if the soil loses it’s fertility…

    i’d rather be a Tree..
    in
    fact..
    I’LL BE A TREE..
    Truly with will..
    that’s up to me…
    Smiles and have a great Summer2..:)

  • Becky Kilsby Says:

    Yes, it’s the acceptance of the uncertainty that is interesting here.. no entitlements indeed and worth believing it too!

  • Mary Says:

    Kelly, this is an absolutely STUNNING poem. Really enjoyed it. Yes, sometimes heartbreak does farm contentment & turn it all into nothing, when one thought one had all one wanted. And so true that a person has to always sow more than one expects to get in return. That is the way of life, I think. So often we are called upon to give a lot & must be happy if we get almost the same in return. Again, nice writing.

  • Gabriella Says:

    I agree neither happiness nor survival are given. We need to fight for them and never take them for granted.

  • Grace Says:

    I love the symbolic use of the tree & its 4 thousand leaves, wow ~ Beautifully written Kelly ~

  • Bridge2Vision Says:

    A beautiful articulation of truth through natural reality. I loved this line.

    ” heartache is the farmer of contentment
    planting seeds he knows have little chance
    of bearing fruit.”

    What I took away from it is, while nothing is assured, my contentment is the role I can nurture for myself, wholeheartedly, with a sense of assurance.

  • Scott Hastie Says:

    Real and telling depth here to luxuriate in here – my favourite of the night so far. So skilfully realised too – a delight to read… With Best Wishes Scott http://www.scotthastie.com

  • Anthony Desmond (@iamEPanthony) Says:

    Happiness comes down to us, in most situations… or all… idk to be honest… I guess it’s because it’s much easier to entertain the negatives, than seek the brighter side aye?

  • Gay Says:

    Your poetry is growing in maturity and depth. There is an organic oneness in your work more and more. I always appreciated your work, but now more than ever.

  • Bjorn Says:

    Standing on the black soil crying in the rain.. What a metaphor for the dilemma of life.. And planting those seeds.. I really love the poem.

  • Freya Says:

    Happiness is indeed, transitory. The problem we have is that we fixate on making this emotion, this feeling, a permanent state. Once it goes, we make our state of mind worse by fighting against the loss. The truth is, we just have to go with it. Knowing and accepting that uncertainty is the only true permanent state – that’s the key. Not easy though! Very well done.

  • viv blake Says:

    It’s amazing the number of truly inspirational poems (like this one) that have popped up for this OLN

  • grapeling Says:

    what a title! and then, such a pen ~

  • ayala Says:

    and sometimes the sky has to cry
    just the same way a mother
    has to worry…ever line is a gem because you bleed unto the page. I feel your heart and it is beautiful. I wish I could garden like you…one day.

  • Marina Sofia Says:

    Absolutely lovely, very thoughtful. I like the wise calculation of numbers, the repetition of 4000 in particular. This stanza in particular grabbed my imagination:
    the rain will wash you clean
    as long as you don’t run
    and sometimes the sky has to cry
    just the same way a mother
    has to worry

  • wolfsrosebud Says:

    nothing sadder than a glass half empty… strong emotions here

  • chalk petals Says:

    “think too much and you’ll always have just enough” … What a great line/bit of advice.

    “we stand in a field of black soil
    and cry when our feet get muddy” … Indeed.

    “have you ever tallied the scars
    on the tree that shades
    your bedroom?” … Love this, and the final stanza.

  • Glenn Buttkus Says:

    The title is brilliant, a tiny poem in itself; your closing stanza is very strong & clear, and you have found some outstanding metaphors to describer man’s ongoing dilemma; as he is part of Nature, but too often stands apart from it, divorces it, ignores it. My grandfather used to say, “Happiness is just those few moments in life when you discover you are not in pain.”

  • billgncs Says:

    happiness – has it’s season as does everything else. A good poem of the earth

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