Saturday, July 12, 2014

Before I Die: when I heard the ghosts -- Writing challenges


. . . Before I Die;
. . ... . when I heard the ghosts
 
Setting: (from a poem, Rain, as written by Claribel Alegría)
"... memories: the reedy voice of the servant telling me tales of ghosts ... Rain is falling and memories keep flooding by ... "**1**

I wanted the voices brought, and memories of my life which come flooding by, to be written in this poem.
 
My Poem: 

. . . Before I Die;
. . ... . when I heard the ghosts

I heard those ghosts a lot from my old cronies now gone.
Those retired too late, who died before a year was up.
I'll not do that said I.
I will see the world
before I die. 

I traveled here and there, all over Europe nine times.
No countries I missed that I want to see.
Been to Australia and New Zealand,
Central America,
though the Panama canal,
most of Canada, 
China for a month, 
and all fifty
of the United States. 

I heard those ghosts, a lot from my dad, may he RIP.
He told me he had wanted to be a lawyer, the very best.
But then my Grandpa asked his help, later he was too old.
I'll do that for my dad I said,
I can do that
before I die. 

I went to school (had sat out eleven years), enjoyed every minute.
Years, eleven more, sitting in the back of the classroom with the bare-
footed hippies, their yellow dogs waiting at the foot of the stairs.
My loves I touched not,
they, doing their calculus in the back 
while pretending to listen as the
British literature teacher
rambling on.
Enjoyed it all and
had my degree,
before I died.  

I heard those ghosts, "they sat beside me, the ghosts
and the bed creaked, that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever." **2**

Those ghosts told me of marriage, how to make it last
But too late now, she was leaving forever. 

I had heard their voice, those ghosts, she was gone forever.
So I lived my life with a new freedom,
bought a motorcycle,
was immersed in my school,
Sundays at the park, listening
to bands playing **3** under the trees,
or to poets on their stumps.
I did that,
I was alive. 

I heard those ghosts, memories of my mom,
she always said "you won't find a nice girl in a bar."
Told how she'd like for me to have a mate. 

So I went along my way, for sure I wasn't looking for a mate,
too busy with my job, play, and university work for that. 
But one day a young lady was waiting for me after school,
waiting with my friends at the table.
I often thought after that,
"how could I ask her out?"
Baseball was the answer,
she went, with me and my four.
Six months later we were wed.
Again, till death do. 

I hear those ghosts, often while driving in the rain
or laying in the bed, staying there until past eight.
I'm retired.  But life goes on, what the Hey? 

They tell me of the tidbits of life like when my beloved dog died,
a new grandchild is born, or another is wed.  How life does go on.
One, a little scary, asked if I was ready to met my Maker.
After some soul searching
I thought I was not,
was too busy for all that.
Surely there is time
before I die 

But that Voice I heard wouldn't give up, it was a Ghost's voice different
than any of those before.  I remember that day He said, "Behold,
I stand at the door and knock," Then He asked if I would let him in.
 
I said yes, that I was sorry for all before
and knew that He was the one,
the only one, 
who could save me
from all my sin.
Would He please? 

I am thankful for all those ghosts who filled me in
on all the things that I had forgotten.  All the things
my mother asked me to do, above all to heed the Lord.
 
Well, He said "Yes, Heaven waits for you,"
and now I will live
still after my death.
I'll obey Him as I can,
and trust Him
until I die.

- - - - - -
 
Picture and Poem Copyright, © 2014 Jimmiehov, All Rights Reserved
 [click on a picture for a larger sized view]
 
- - - - - -

This poem is linked with Herotomost at the Real Toads, Friday Challenge (Link # 1)
and with Grace at the Real Toads, Sunday Mini-challenge (Link # 2)

Notes:
1)  Herotomost's challenge was to use a refrain technique (link) that he has used in several of his poems.  Although his (check them out at Link # 1 above) were an appendage of the prose nature, they can also be incorporated into the poem in either verse or prose. 
 -- My refrains pretty well cover the writer hearing the ghost or ghosts.  The message from the ghost(s) helps explain the setting of the situation in the verses that follow.
2)   [**1**  and **2** ]Grace's challenge was to write a new poem based on one of Claribel Alegria's two poems, Sorrow or Rain. Or a part would do.  I chose the part of Rain, copied below, to use as a springboard and prompt for my poem.
--The excerpt from Rain (you can read all of the poems at Link # 2 above): 

**1** ... memories:
the reedy voice
of the servant
telling me tales
of ghosts.


**2** They sat beside me
the ghosts
and the bed creaked
that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever ...

3) **3*The ZZ Top group (link) was one of the many fledgling singing bands out under all those trees in the Houston, Texas, parks. 
-- ZZ Top got their start in Houston in the late sixties, the time I was there with my motorcycle on Sunday afternoons.
4)  This poem is true to me, as I, the writer, relates to various time (lives) in my life.

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16 Comments:

At Sunday, July 13, 2014 4:50:00 AM, OpenID myheartslovesongs.com said...

quite the journey, Jim! and one that i quite envy for you describe a very full life and a very ful-filled life. if we miss out on doing the things we say we want in life, it is often because we don't try. and i love the flow of your words. great write!

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 5:51:00 AM, Blogger Grace said...

I love the use of the refrain Jim as it echoes a constant pattern in the life ~ are you listening to the voices or ignoring it ~ The do list before you go is very admirable - travelling, studying, finding your loved one, losing her in the end & now finding your spiritual center ~ Keep yourself active Jim, there's still a lot of things to do ~

Thanks for participating with Sunday's Challenge and wishing you happy weekend ~

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 7:20:00 AM, Blogger Arushi Ahuja said...

Jim what a awsome collection of memories ... M thankful to your ghosts as well ;))

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 9:03:00 AM, Blogger audrey` said...

"All the things my mother asked me to do, above all to heed the Lord" is the best advice from a mother to her child, Dr Jim :)

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 10:01:00 AM, Blogger Susan said...

Great! Those voices, or ghosts, speaking throughout your life are also God. If this is your story, I believe you were with God all along.

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 10:57:00 AM, Blogger Karen S. said...

Wow, you totally and completely set the stage here, like a most memorable journal to keep for loved ones. Brilliant writing, and even more inspiring, the thoughts and valley of senses you offer here.

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 10:57:00 AM, Blogger Karen S. said...

Also, I wondered early on Saturday where you were with your 6WS now I think I know you were inspired to write!

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 11:47:00 AM, Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

I LOVE!!!!!!! this poem - and that you saw all the places you wanted to see, did all you wanted to do - AND found Mrs Right. Wonderful, Jim!

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 12:50:00 PM, Blogger Kerry O'Connor said...

I think it is just amazing how the words of a poem inspired you to write this piece. I rings with honesty, and a life well lived. I really enjoyed the read.

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 1:45:00 PM, Blogger R.K. Garon said...

I'm exhausted, but, well traveled :-)
ZQ

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 6:48:00 PM, Blogger Magaly Guerrero said...

Honorable trip.

 
At Sunday, July 13, 2014 8:14:00 PM, Blogger Mama Zen said...

I really, really enjoyed this, Jim.

 
At Monday, July 14, 2014 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Helen said...

Jim, the lesson in your (great) post is we should all be writing our memories/ghosts of years past.

 
At Tuesday, July 15, 2014 7:51:00 PM, Blogger Margaret said...

"Those retired too late, who died before a year was up.
I'll not do that said I."

That is awesome. Enjoyed this.

 
At Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:38:00 AM, Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

I'm back for another read, Jim, after your thoughtful comment on my blog. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend - and the ghost box you carry of that young girl from times long gone. We all have our ghosts, our sorrows. Your poem captures all of life - and wonderfully.

 
At Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Herotomost said...

That was quite the undertaking, both the poem and the travels and the memories. You really hit the nostalgic feel of those things and people that come and go through our experiences with grace and crazy texture. Whew made me start thinking about my own and the refrain was as good as it gets. Thanks for coming out, this was amazing!

 

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