By Shana Liddell
Sink or Swim
The divide appears so wide It seems impossible to swim to the other side But you must keep going So you swim on against the tide You had always believed that being all knowing Or having the right zip code or connections was your ticket to growing A life of success, the ultimate win A life of admiration and power showing But in a time of sink or swim You understand how true strength comes from within A force you never even knew you possessed Radiates through you to begin The biggest fight of your life, the true test And you swim feverishly and obsessed Until you reach the shore Determined in your conquest And you make it, your lungs burning Your muscles languid and only yearning For your loved ones and rest The state of your laundry so utterly unconcerning..
Only This Moment
The woods are stark like my childhood memories Old wise trees Speak to me Outgrow me Long snarly branches snatching Like old lady fingers The morning sunrise infinitely reborn signals another day Pink and violet The bleeding of a child's watercolor painting One day the bleeding of a broken heart The translucent snowflakes fall Unrepeatable beauties Before they fade into the background Never to exist The frost indented by my footsteps From beginning to end Eventually untraceable I breathe in life I exhale the fear And stay in this moment
Today is a new day! A great day to learn and play! Hurry up and brush your hair But brush your teeth with care And pick out an outfit to wear Now that you are dressed And looking your best It is time to eat some breakfast and look over your spelling words for your test After you rinse your cereal bowl and give your mom a kiss You hurry to the bus stop so you don't miss Your ride to school for this Big day to prove your knowledge and continue to learn Taking in new information at every turn And always trying to earn Good grades and accolades But most importantly what never fades Is being a good person in everything you do Because each day is an opportunity to be the amazing you!
Open Your Mind
Open our minds Embracing opportunities of all kinds Believe And we will achieve No matter what gets in our way Keep building a little each day Take advantage of every hour Knowing we have the power The path may be worn But don't feel the need to conform Keep pushing the pedals Envisioning those medals Surpass our fear Keeping our supporters near Letting go of those that undermine Never giving up our radiant shine
Sitting at my desk piled high with looming projects due My mind wanders to days when work was only graded I can still feel the satisfying crunch of the first fall leaves under my sneakers laces double knotted as I walk to the bus stop I sit next to the new boy with green eyes, Our tan and scrapped knees touching He offers me a stick of gum Which I decline In sixteen years he will ask me to be his wife and I will accept I take out my pencils and notebooks carefully labeled, The start of my OCD Ms. Volpe's animated voice Instructs me to write about my summer vacation My mind goes blank As I stare at Julie Brown's perfect French braids In front of me, Behind me Bobby Shore groans at the absurdity of being asked to write something In math my cuticles bleed as I pray that Mr. White won't call on me The smudge on my paper grows From erasing my hesitant answer Throngs of excited chatter Echo through the halls Laughter and screams ensue Until the bell rings Reigning us into the next class A class spent Daydreaming Or attentively taking notes Worrying about not being asked out Or restlessly tapping Anticipating the next test score Lunch is a turkey sandwich An apple some carrot sticks And a broken cookie With a note from my mother Telling me she loves me That she is proud of me Sydney Stuart leads the conversation at the head of the table Or rather a monologue As all the girls gaze at her wantingly I could care less I run as fast as I can But still the slowest Not having been gifted with my sibling's athleticism My lunch bouncing in my stomach "Go Sadey, go!" They cheer And I try to go faster Then I fall And I want to cry Not from the pain But from the embarrassment Knowing that the new boy with green eyes Had witnessed it. But then his hand reaches down to me And he lifts me up His face full of concern The face of concern I will grow to know all too well From such a tender hearted man And then my phone rings And I am brought back My husband lets me know he will pick up Haley after school And then I take a deep breath and start writing
More than Things
A pair of running shoes that saw him to the finish line A beautiful gown that projected her femininity once clandestine A blanket in her great great grandson's school colors she knitted with feeble fingers for his graduation A book he "accidentally" dropped which his now wife automatically retrieved when they first met at the train station A blazer jacket she wore with confidence to her third interview and solidified the beginning of her successful career A tiny pair of pants he took his first three steps in before landing promptly on his rear A mug with a small crack that ensued when moving into their first home A desk he did his homework at countless nights until his parents found him far too worldly and grown Designer jeans she saved diligently for with her babysitting money now a fraction of the cost A tent that provided shelter and family camping memories never to be lost
By the Sea
Soft ocean breeze Whisks away our worries, Instantly putting us ease Infinite grains of sand Elicits such a wonderful feeling for the lost at sea or simply the burnt out to land Ever changing tide Evolving but never leaving our side The contemplation of life as vast as the ocean's abyss Suspended by the clear laughter of children in pure bliss Suntanned skin Temporarily reminiscent of where we have been Ceaseless, powerful waves Etching the coastline as our memory engraves These indelible moments by the sea Where we are always drawn to be
I Am Thankful…
For the feeling of warm sunshine with an intermittent cool breeze And those who still say "bless you" after a satisfying sneeze For our potential to be open minded with the challenging of paradigms And the constant evolution of progress even in difficult times For the fulfillment after an intense and nearly painful laugh And the way a glimpse in time can be captured in a photograph For the way a good book or series captivates us late into the night And how we can at least count on our favorite pair of sweatpants fitting just right For our capacity to forgive and move beyond our mistakes And our desire to succeed no matter what it takes For how we get lost in space and time when we find our flow And how this world of wonder keeps us learning every day, humbling us, we will never truly know For that feeling of accomplishment when we check off another chore And the relief when we finally let go of keeping the "perfect score" For those who take the time out of their day to really ask you how you are And our potential to stay in touch with our family and friends, whether near or far For the ever-changing beauty of the seasons and sky And the year-round gift of giving with the annual occasion of pumpkin pie
My Hope for the World
A life without violence and unrest Hatred, bigotry and detest Towards those with different values, cultures and interests Will be the ultimate and true test To use our strength in words and divest Our egos while fighting for the oppressed Finding a place in our home and hearts for the dispossessed Helping the vulnerable and distressed It is not too late to redress Our wrong and progress Appreciate our distinctions while we still coalesce As one united in our mutual quest
I feel the fall leaves Jumping into abundant piles Crunching under my knees The satisfying stomp walking the couple miles To school, backpack slung over one shoulder Laden with books The weight of being older Yet still oblivious to the potential deceit of propaganda and acceptable looks I smell the scent of bonfires lingering on my clothes Contained for only Roasting s'mores The fire dances and glows Dissipating before it roars A sky splattered with stars Endless universe and possibility Before undue pollution and scars And the superseding need for survival and stability I hear wind whooshing, trees teetering just so Their branches like knobby, impossibly old fingers Reminiscing of when they just wanted to grow And yet time lingers Eternal days to fulfill Now we're reluctant to turn another year So savor each simple thrill And hold these pure memories near
Words are love Encouraging us to keep going or take the step to begin Words are weapons Penetrating even the thickest skin Words are beauty Expanding our senses beyond tangibility Words are ugliness Triggering devastation beyond manageability Words are wisdom Inspiring us to believe, to achieve Words are shallow Sucking meaningfulness with every breath we breathe Words are truth Allowing us to be moved by verity, Words are lies Perpetuating undeserving asperity Choose your words carefully
One thought on “Sink or Swim and Other Poems”
Wonderfully insightful and uplifting. I would wish to know more about the author.