The Danger of a Rose-Colored Polaroid
If things could be as they were,
Before we broke our rose-colored glass
(it was bound to happen, there are so many things to trip on).
If we could go back to before,
When the things we did and said had the best of intentions
And intentions were enough.
When things made sense – or it was easier to ignore when they didn’t –
If the pictures and afterimages could have been the reality
And not merely frozen time with smiles we can’t remember.
If all the things that had to be said hadn’t,
And we never torched the bridges that cut us off from shore,
Then things could be like they were before.
But the past is a foreign country
and I doubt I speak the language anymore.
Maybe it is better to let the shattered rose glass land on what moments it may,
Color a few memories, regardless if it’s deserved,
And hope next time our lenses will be transparently tempered.
No, things won’t be as they were.
We will never see what was clearly.
You see, my dear,
even if all these things had never come between us,
Things still couldn’t be what they were.
Half a Song: Achilles, Odysseus, Aeneas
Sing, O muse, of a torn soul;
A mind divided, a spirit shaken.
It despairs to lose its eclipsing glory,
Yet despairs the Fate that binds it.
Choked by blood and tears,
A river wine-dark with rage
Ever deepening the cracks in his soul,
Tormenting a mind that can never be whole.
Sing, O goddess, of the many ways;
The twists and turns of most cruel Fate.
A homecoming long delayed,
Ships splintered by the sea, the loneliness of a cold bed
And a house no longer a home.
The hope of home hangs by a thread, unraveled each night,
The time when it feels most foolish to cling to the light.
Sing, O fate, of the duty that drives,
That smothers all kindled desire.
Bound by fate, driven by duty:
Faithful, obedient, alone.
All that he loves burns on a pyre,
Sacrificed for a future he will not live to see,
Left with only ghosts, ash, and bitter piety.
A steep price to pay for mere notoriety.
Sing, muses, goddesses, and fates, half a song of half lives.
All the right questions, but all the wrong answers.
No glory could mend, no homecoming end,
No duty could bind in any sense eternal.
So sing across the ages a tune devoid of resolution.
Watch it echo across a sea, waiting for the day when it is sung in glory.
When the ship returns home,
When duty and desire can walk hand in hand.
We weave a life to enshroud our glory
With colors and patterns we choose.
From nothing we spin our stories,
Tie threads of meaning and hope they hold.
We display our lovely, glittering images,
Woven with riches and care –
Pretending it is a robe and not a shroud.
In the night, when it comes undone,
When our carefully selected narrative
Lies in a pile of tangled heartstrings,
We mourn and despair at our work gone to waste.
But do you not see the glory in unraveling?
Can you not see this work was never your own?
There is glory in unraveling, there is peace in coming undone.
One day all we’ve ever made will unravel
And at last we will be whole.
Biographical note: Ashley Wright hails from Castle Rock, Colorado but somehow ended up a senior at Grove City College in western Pennsylvania. Despite being an English major, it took her at least until her junior year to truly appreciate reading or writing poetry – which is a testament to how a good teacher can change your mind.