This Poem was Submitted By: Rick Barnes On Date: 2006-05-22 18:04:11 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Haunted houses make up this town. Boarded up windows And walls torn down, Nothing but wind in the street, And a sky so empty, The sun’s retreat Over those imprisoning hills  Complete the void. Hearts full of winter, Tattered old gown Of an expressionless face. Arms full of nothing To take the place Of the abundance lost to such A graceless space.    We must not look back, We must not lose track Of a destination We can not possibly know Until we have all gone clear. We must move forever forward, Toward, “Not Here”.                   ...For Mell

Copyright © May 2006 Rick Barnes

This Poem was Critiqued By: Moira Grace Hamel-Smith On Date: 2009-06-14 00:32:20
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
I taught my 6 yr old the meaning of "destination" in the deep end of the pool today. I learned the transition to what "We can not possibly know" floating on my back in same pool. Not Here is best embraced while floating and looking up at what we'll leave behind. What's with the symbols in the boxes.

This Poem was Critiqued By: Nancy Ann Hemsworth On Date: 2006-06-05 06:59:01
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.85714
Oh Rick this is so powerful and full of insight and strong images. I can feel the hollowness in this and yet hope as well. Like the rhyme you have chosen and it suits the write very well. Beautiful sadness expressed here within your chosen mediphore.
This Poem was Critiqued By: arnie s WACHMAN On Date: 2006-06-04 13:32:19
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.92308
Lovely tribute. I have nothing to add except she was one fine lady admired by all.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Dellena Rovito On Date: 2006-05-23 14:54:00
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.66667
Rick, How wonderful to hear from you. You sound sane! How rare is that! TPL's been a ghost town as a fact! Losing Mell was culmination of the misery. Mell was a friend and teacher to us all. For the love of Mell, let's continue full throttle on till its our time to be 'not here'. I enjoy reading such different viewpoints. We're all such an unusual mixture of folks. Don't be gone so long, your a touchstone for me for one. Much love to you, hope your good! Dellena
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2006-05-23 06:56:20
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Rick, When I saw your name on this, it was like having my Dad's home made fudge candy when I was a little girl. A special treat that seldom comes along, but when it does, oh wow, it is so worth the wait. And so are you and your work, dear Rick. This work is a thoughtful tribute to Mell, but more then that, is a clear message in a world of uncertainty. Mell always lived in reality and kept her eye on where she was going, no matter what horrors she had to endure. One must keep on going, there is no other choice. This is a message to all of us, pointed out in a most magnificent way. The descriptions within are fresh and real and touching. And that's how we know it's a Rick Barnes original. But it means much to me because I'm not only an admirer of your poetry, but also because she was a mentor and friend to me and I miss her work and spent many an evening exploring her "jewels" here on TPL and praying for her health. With stinging eyes I realize we must go on from here doing exactly as you say, move forever forward, Toward,“Not Here”. Thanks for this Rick. I'm sure Mell is thanking you as well. Best, Jennifer
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2006-05-22 22:20:23
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.72222
Hi Rick, First of all, thank you for posting again. I am glad that you are back. And so nice of you to go back and started this tribute to our beloved departed. Mell I'm sure is glad that we remember her, especially you make us feel her presence here. The tone of the poem is a kind of a sorrowful one but glad to note there is a realization of courage to move on. In every unwanted happening we regret and refuse to face but everything has its own purpose, I for one believed it. You described about expressionless face, emptiness, nothingness and the like, and yet your poem if full of meaning! I hope you post again. Jordan
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2006-05-22 20:42:13
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Rick...this is absolutely beautiful. I want to believe Mell knows all the love that has flowed out of this site and into her arms. She was such a wonderful mentor to me. She would always start out by saying..."I hope you don't mind if I tinker with your poem!" She taught me more than I could have learned on my own in a life time. Your word choices are so soft and lovely with a dash of magic which is delicious. I am so glad you are still writing as it has been way too long since I read one of your poems. since Mell isn't here to say Thank you..I will do it for her...Thank you. My best...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2006-05-22 19:38:30
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Rick, I am gravitating between speechlessness and a thousand words. I think that the part of your poem which struck me hardest is “we must not look back.” I can’t take a lot of strength from that, and I’m going to take it, as offered. I am not going to ‘critique’ this, for as you said, not so very long ago, “a poem IS.” I haven’t deviated very far from that ideal. I want to say a lot of things to this poem, for as you said, it has a life of its own, needs to be addressed as such. Haunted houses make up this town. Boarded up windows And walls torn down, Nothing but wind in the street, And a sky so empty, The sun’s retreat Over those imprisoning hills Complete the void. I feel as thought the poem describes ‘this town’ – this place we have made with our combined focused attention, or as it may be in many instances, inattention. The haunts are real, old cowboy boots lined up against the wall, maybe a cow skull or two in the dirt, glasses in the saloon turned over and the spills long ago evaporated. The wind howls. You already said it best. You painted a picture of emptiness, something longing to be filled with the life once present. Why are the hills imprisoning – because we must ‘look up’ to see them, and our ability to look up has been hampered by our looking down at our feet, or back, over our shoulders at what once was? For Mell, as she was, when she was simply being herself. But she's Not Here. Hearts full of winter, --- this line is searing, it aches Tattered old gown Of an expressionless face. ---with such an ache Arms full of nothing To take the place Of the abundance lost to such A graceless space. “Arms full of nothing” could be the entire poem for me. It seems redundant to repeat the entire poem back to you, since you know what you wrote. It’s just that you wrote what I would have if I could have found any words, but empty ones. These fill that void. The last line above seems to condense everything I thought and felt for the last few months into three words. Grace=elegance, refinement, polish, style. Mell had all of these. Gave these as gifts, as adornments. How can you hold tight to such gifts as these? They are delicate ruins now, but perhaps you are asking us (me) to take another look. We must not look back, We must not lose track Of a destination We can not possibly know Until we have all gone clear. We must move forever forward, Toward, “Not Here”. But Rick, we won’t want to have the conversation about the destination by the time we have all “gone clear.” I would relish you and I having an old-fashioned argument about this, once more. I won’t care by then, but I do care now. And you give me something to ease that caring-which-wants-to-look-back (and maybe be angry). Maybe stay angry, ‘forever backward.’ How did you happen along just when I was feeling so stuck that I’d stopped caring? About moving forward. It’s just like you to come around with a poem like this, when it’s needed most. At least by me. There’s something in this poem that feels to me like clemency. And typically I don’t think you’d take credit for it, but you need to know that I feel it. I almost forgot what it is like to want to write something. For Mell, as if she were reading. Thank you, with Lilacs Joanne
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