This poem was originally written in April 1989 towards the end of two years of intensive psychotherapy, during which I learned that what created most of my problems in life was attempting to control the uncontrollable. This weeks prompt reminded me of the poem, and I reworked it substantially without changing the basic concept. This weeks phrase "Defenses Down" is a better title than the original was.
To view poems by other writers on this topic see One Single Impression.
Everything is going wrong.
The walls are closing in.
Wait. Stop. Start again.
Things are fine, but that might change,
So I am building walls.
I think I’m closing out the fear –
the raging beast engulfs, devours.
So build walls strong and high,
And don’t forget the battlements.
A reinforcement needed here;
Send archers to protect that breech.
What if fear tunnels under walls?
Or learns to fly? What defense then?
Hire on some engineers, draw new plans,
make a list?
Or, perhaps, I’ll let the fortress melt
And on the open, level plain,
I’ll court my fear—
not safe, not tamed,
and practice dancing with the beast.
revised 6 September 2008
The photography is of a dry stack stone wall dating to before the Civil War on Paris Pike in Lexington, Kentucky. Many such walls are found in the horse farm region of central Kentucky. The photograph was taken by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and can be found at http://www.contextsensitivesolutions.org/content/case_studies/kentucky_paris/#