Amateur in the True Sense

His father died, and in rode the terrible freedom.
There was no one left on earth to judge, so the man
followed his heart’s affections.
Most saw merely mid-life change, just one more
cracking under the pressures, known and unrecognized,
that make up our lives.
But he sensed it as a pilgrimage away from
an unsatisfactory life, the steps of a religious hysteric
without a religion.
It was that their words no longer reflected
the world he perceived. Their lives
were powerful but to no particular purpose.
He accommodated them for years,
granted a long leash. Such behavior won him
the title ‘a gracious man’ but whacked out his liver.
God loves them, no doubt, but he can’t stomach
their desperation, their faithful devotion
to never being at ease.
He finally had all he could stand, so he
gave them over to their striving desires. To
commemorate his divorce he took a Sharpie and
wrote Lao Zi’s line on the kitchen door:
The sage is not a do-gooder.
From here on out he plans
to dance in the dark shade of courage.
From this moment on he hopes
to cut quite a rug.
 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,050 other subscribers

16 Comments

  1. sethhaines on September 3, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Sweet Moses!

  2. heidireneeturner on September 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I live on the edge of the world in hopes of that freedom… I don’t wish for the death, just the lack of judgement. Much to ponder, and hopefully to dance. Thank you.

    • thebeautifuldue on September 4, 2013 at 3:51 am

      Heidi, I do not wish for the death either, not by a long shot. I do hope you find some space to dance…

  3. Josh Freeman (@realjoshfreeman) on September 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    “It was that their words no longer reflected
    the world he perceived. Their lives
    were powerful but to no particular purpose.”

    I would get along so well with this man.

    • thebeautifuldue on September 4, 2013 at 3:52 am

      Me too, Josh…me too. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  4. wynnegraceappears on September 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Ah, the dark shade of courage. Here there is comfort. Unless there are multiple layers of meaning. In which case not so much. Either way this brings a wrecking ball to my heart.

    • thebeautifuldue on September 4, 2013 at 3:53 am

      Hi, Elizabeth. I believe there is comfort, sometimes spartan, but comfort nonetheless. Thanks for your words.

  5. genesmith12 on September 3, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    God loves them, no doubt, but he can’t stomach
    their desperation, their faithful devotion
    to never being at ease – wow John after reading this all I want to do is saddle up a palomino and ride off into the Wasteland Canyons for a spell. The best cowboy poems always take us beyond the precipice but you have redefined the heights here…at least in my mind.

    • thebeautifuldue on September 4, 2013 at 3:55 am

      Gene, that sounds like a wonderful idea. I hope you can for a spell, even if only in your mind. I hadn’t originally thought this a cowboy poem…but I do now – thanks!

  6. Diana Trautwein on September 4, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Gut punch here. ‘never being at ease’ – yeah, I’m working on that. Maybe too hard?

    • thebeautifuldue on September 4, 2013 at 3:56 am

      Diana, hopefully not hard enough to knock the wind out, that’s rarely helpful.

  7. Heather Eure on September 4, 2013 at 1:21 am

    From the get-go “…the terrible freedom” caught in my throat and stayed through the rest of the poem. Oh, man.

    • thebeautifuldue on September 4, 2013 at 3:57 am

      Thank you, Heather. I’m glad it stayed through the entire poem…that was the hope.

  8. Mary Penfield Chapman on September 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Found you via Jan Meyers Proett, read your poem, and am just weeping……no words, manifold thoughts, and feelings that cover the map. I thank God for you, and for letting me find your writing.

    • thebeautifuldue on September 5, 2013 at 2:44 am

      I’m glad you found your way here, Mary. Thanks for your comment, very much.

Leave a Comment