Ode to a life I do not yet have

There are times when the ache overwhelms my ability
to read, to reason, to be still.
It runs from my womb into my heart, a central
Iine that will spark and snap like a cheap box of sparklers
if you cut me open.
There are times when I wonder if it’s this ache
that will carry me forward into the future,
a time filled with Sunday papers and country lanes
and cousins playing with tractors and string
in my sister’s garden.
That the ache exists for a reason,
not only to plague me in the quiet times, but to
keep my faith —
to help me believe.
There are times when I believe so hard,
my own private church of one, that believes,
oh how I believe,
that all is possible if I just
want it enough.
And then there are times like today, when it all
feels so far away and I swallow down
the ache with gulps of black coffee and let myself
fall into my work — my one safe place — while hoping
I have no dreams tonight.

[This poem first appeared on Bentlily.com – thank you, Samantha, for inviting me into your lovely space. Create your own poem over here!]

25 responses
  1. Kristy

    This = an amazing poem. I hear ya, sistah.

  2. Meg Manion Silliker

    stunningly beautiful. the imagery you create with your words takes my breath away. hope your day is happy. xo

  3. Rebecca in Switzerland

    I stopped believing for myself.
    It doesn’t stop the ache some days.

  4. Marisa Anne

    this is beautiful Sus. I know how your feel and I’m always in your church with you xo

  5. Christianne

    Wow, Susannah. So raw and achy and beautiful. I wish you love. xo

    PS: That photo of you is GORGEOUS.

  6. Rhianne

    Oh Susannah… this made me cry, its beautiful and I loved “my own private church of one”, I often feel like that.

  7. Cecilia

    beautiful and raw.
    hope your day is grand.

  8. Catalina

    This is SO beautiful and touching! Thanks for sharing
    I guess this ache is sometimes there to develop in you this way to express beauty

    It is also true that pillars should be better IN ourselves than outside. As light.

    (and just falling dawn from dreams I will just tell you: do some yoga :) )


  9. victoria

    oh, susannah. so beautiful, absolutely made me cry.

  10. Jet Harrington

    So beautiful and poignant and resonant – I hope your sleep and dreams are peaceful tonight.

  11. Debra

    Oh sweetie, you *know* how much I’m feeling that. Hugs. xo

  12. amanda {the habit of being}

    beautiful and heartfelt. love this.

  13. Marcela

    Your poem and its title reminded me of a part from the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”. which I love and which marked the biggest leap I took in my life. It is a moment when Diane Lane is crying because “she bought a house for a life she doesn’t even have”and the Italian real estate agent that sold it to her tells her the story of the train tracks in the Alps. I will quote the text so that you know what I mean. He says to her “Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew some day, the train would come.”
    It seems to me that you are working hard at building a life that will be able to contain your dreams and I believe that your dreams will become real because the Universe has a special way of rewarding those who dare to dream big and to work hard for achieving those dreams. Keep the faith.

  14. susannah

    Thank you for that, Marcela xx

  15. Amy

    So poignant and freeing…I’m sure this strikes a chord in a lot of women, Susannah….thank you for putting such beautiful words to feelings I know I find hard to articulate~

  16. kelly

    Such a beautiful poem, Susannah. I also love and believe everything Marcela had to say!

  17. Paty

    Dear Sus, you look so beautiful in your picture! Love the poem, hang in there, the life you want to have is right there, just arriving!
    By the way, I love that on the side bar there’s now a section called “my books”… love the idea, love it’s plural!

  18. Patrick Downey

    I found your poem very moving. For some reason, it reminded me of a poem by a woman named Kris Bercov, published in a book called The Second Birth. I don’t know whether it will resonate, but here it is:

    How to Make God Smile

    It’s no joke

    God really is
    your fingers
    your toes

    your sorrow
    making its way
    from your aching

    all the way
    to eternity

    There is
    nowhere else
    to go

    even if
    you could
    sprout wings

    and fly
    through the heavens

    you would land
    in this garden
    of yourself

    its own
    special blooms

    your name
    on every seed
    every petal
    every dead leaf

    its way
    into nothing

    Be satisfied

    Your longing
    is a trap

    set by thieves
    to steal the
    richness of your

    Don’t waste
    another second
    of this outrageous

    open wide
    and swallow whole
    every morsel

    of your
    and delicious


  19. Erin

    Really lovely, heartfelt poem. Thank you for introducing me to bentlily and for sharing your creation!

  20. Katherine

    Beautiful, beautiful poem from the heart of a beautiful, beautiful woman…love to you, dear one.

  21. Lauren Tober

    So beautiful and touching Susannah!

  22. Melissa Jaine

    Marcela, that is wonderful, thank you so much. I’ve always wanted to see that movie and I’ll make sure I do soon.
    Susannah – so beautiful. Much love to you darling.

  23. Frank

    Excellent blog!! Good job!!

    Salut from Barcelona


  24. Alicia

    Thanks for introducing us to Samantha on BFTH. I get her amazing poems in my inbox every day now! Crazy good!

  25. Kathryn

    incredible beautiful and full of soul

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