A long time ago

Paula listened to REM’s Everybody Hurts on the work radio

the lyric cut her chest open like a sharp hunting knife

and a wild cat storm of tears found their escape

I let her cry

She kept the baby

lost her job

lost her life

but lived to feel another day.


Some time back now

I drove by a dead cat on a road

blood streaked eyes stared blankly

then, the head lifted

and the eyes glared at me

I drove on.


This week

my son is sick so gets extra

cuddles and chicken soup

my daughter wants time

alone with Mummy

because her brother can be annoying

we eat cake at the coffee shop and giggle over iced chocolate

I do what I can.

29 thoughts on “What do you do?

  1. I really should not have clicked that link! An excellent poem, Gabrielle. Perpetual poetry. It is like a triptych of a pendulum swinging.

    1. Maybe I am letting my imagination run away but here’s a thought. I would like to commission you and Benedicte to collaborate on a triptych that incorporates the words and images in your poem. 3 panels that I can hang side by side on my wall. They do not need to be physically hinged because they will be connected by the movement of the pendulum from left to centre and then to right. Sound like a plan?

      1. I was lost in my urban totem, looking for them and spent less time online.
        The link does not work from here due to restrictions. I thought the web was meant to be connected worldwide!

        When I red Brad’s comment about the triptych I nearly fell of my chair. It is so uplifting to be thought of, thanks, to both of you.
        To go back to the idea of the triptych I just saw, when reading, a mobile, with 3 pieces, moving and interlocking at one point. The pendulum effect could be add too.The 3 pieces would be flat, with text and images.

  2. at first i was not sure if this is a poem or s story you are sharing.
    it hit me hard though. the last stanza with its casual tone and daily life of a household in contradiction to the first strophe with its sad lines and strong ending..


  3. this is very moving gabrielle. . it takes strength to get through sometimes. especially when sadness, difficulties, dead cats are part of it all.
    the best we can do is keep on and give what we can to help. to me that is courage.

  4. Ah so Gabrielle keeps track of the dark side very closely.
    We do what we can, indeed. Lately though, I have the feeling that we all need to step it up or we might not be around too much longer to do or not to do anything.
    Giggle while we can….

    1. The trick is to know when we can make a real difference, and we can with environmental and other political issues if we have enough people power. Thanks for stopping by 47whitebuffalo.

  5. Gabe, I think this is right up there with your best work. It really picks at the seams of our own morality… bur as you say, we do what we can.

  6. I experience the good. I experience the bad. And still I keep on going. It’s what I do. It’s what we all do. Your observations of life are always spot on.

    ‘lost her life

    but lived to feel another day.’
    That line is profound. It suggests great loss but also the promise of renewal. Such is life. You are such a great poet!

  7. Key words:’Cuddles, time, giggle’. You’re doing what you can and that’s enough. We all ‘live another day’ if we remember that all things pass. Well expressed, as you continue to do!

    1. Thanks Stafford. Sometimes a person can only stretch themselves so far – I’d love to help everyone but not at the expense of my own survival and sometimes a person needs to make their own decisions without outside influence.

  8. This is beautiful Gabrielle – so many stories that all somehow come to the same point. It’s a sad poem, but I also find it somehow hopeful. I hope you post more poetry!

    1. It’s only sad if you listen to the song Maxine – hahaha. It’s supposed to be hopeful or at least a nod to how to survive in this world. Poetry is my main thing so more to come, for sure.

  9. Now that was exactly like a life! Up, down and a couple of zig zags that slap you around. I LOVED THIS! Seriously hardcore goodness Gabrielle. That first one was the deep aching hurt in life, the second the dark strangeness we try to avoid but can’t and the third the tie that binds them all together. Damn good.

  10. gabrielle,

    i agree, that after reading this. i am still feeling the lacerating feel of this poem. it’s nice to read a poem, brimming with heart and speaks within. only few poems had this quality. and this poem is one of it.

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