Between War and Peace

The stories we hear
Of war and peace
May cause us concern
Or relief
And yet
Reality
Is most often
Something inbetween


When orienting at the prospective new care home last Wednesday, a resident started talking unquietly about the war in Ukraine. She was quickly calmed by a staff, in as simple words as possible, suited to her intellectual capabilities.

That night, I heard an airplane or a helicopter fly by very low over my current home. I thought, perhaps influenced by the woman in the other home, that it was a jet fighter. “Are we going to war now?”, I asked the night staff when she responded to my call button. She put my mind at peace, saying someone had probably booked a night-time helicopter flight over Raalte. I took her story at face value and went to sleep.

The next morning, I found out that both of our stories are probably equally unlikely and reality was something inbetween: the helicopter had been called in a medical emergency to resuscitate a baby. Thankfully, the baby survived.


This post was written for Friday Writings, for which the optional theme this week is war and peace.

Poem: What Color Is the Sun?

I wonder
What color is the sun?

Is it red like fire,
Shooting flames across the sky?

Is it orange like the fruit,
Splashing its rays all around?

Is it yellow like a sunflower,
Fully blooming in midsummer?

Then again, how do I know
What these colors even mean?
Fire isn’t red or so I’ve heard
A sunflower’s heart and seeds are brown

As I look up to the sunset
My eyes wide open
I see nothing
Light nor darkness

And I wonder
What color is the sun?


This poem was written for this week’s Friday Writings, for which the optional prompt is “sunset”. I’m also joining dVerse’s OLN.

Poem: The Book Called “Me”

Endless streaks of time (or so it seems)
lie ahead of me,
as I turn page after page
in this book called “Me”

Until one day (possibly still far from now)
I will have reached
the page I pray concludes
with a happily ever-after

In six days, I will turn 36. I am hopeful that I am still not halfway through my life yet, but then again I recently learned that the life expectancy for someone born in 1960 was 52. I just Googled the life expectancy for my birth year, 1986, which was 74.8 years. If this is true, I am just under eighteen months shy of midlife. I am not the healthiest either, so to be fully honest, I probably can’t expect to live that long.

I didn’t want this poem to be fully about doom and gloom either, because, as a Christian, I do believe in eternal life for those who are saved. This is why I ended this poem on a positive note.

I am writing this poem for this week’s Twiglet, which is “turning page”, as well as the Go Dog Go Cafe Tuesday Writing Challenge, which is to start a poem with the word “endless”.

Poem: Are You Now Here?

Are You now here?
Or nowhere?
That’s the question

The answer, the ultimate determiner
Of life’s purpose
Your value in this world

So
Are you now here?


This poem was written for this week’s W3 Prompt. The idea is to write a poem inspired by the previous week’s winning poem, with a few added rules. This week’s rules were that your poem must contain 16 lines or less and the first and last line must be the same. In addition to being inspired by last week’s winning poem, I was inspired by a phrase from Lisa Genova’s book Inside the O’Briens, in which Katie, who is a yoga teacher, has this mantra that you are either now here or nowhere.

Poem: Take Shelter

It’s safe here,
guarded.
You can cuddle up.

It’s cozy here,
comfortable.
You can be secure.

Nightie-night.
Close your eyes.
You can rest now.

I hope you sleep well,
taking shelter
in the abyss.


This poem was inspired by one of the prompts in Reena’s Xploration Challenge #226. This week, Reena gives us a series of book title suggestions as inspirations for our post. I decided to use the first one as inspiration for this poem. I am also joining dVerse’s OLN, as well as Friday Writings #22. I didn’t quite understand the optional prompt for this week and the part about reusing words to craft a piece that’s of higher quality than the original, feels a bit, well, paradoxical to me. After all, I’m pretty sure I screwed up the original intent of that book title generator quite badly with this poem, but oh well.

Poem: The Monster

Sometimes
It screams
Loudly
Telling me
To give up once and for all

Other times
It whispers
Softly
Luring me
To take that final step

Sometimes
It seems silent
Just for a little while
But it always returns
The monster
Wanting me to die


This poem was written for Friday Writings #14, for which the optional prompt this week is to write about monsters. I am also joining dVerse’s Open Link. I’ve shared poetry about my depression and recurring suicidal ideation in both linkies before. I often refer to this state as “the monster”, so this theme came to mind when I read the Friday Writings prompt.

Flash Fiction: Can I Go?

“I just want to go to a friend for two nights,” Patricia yelled, asserting her words with some colorful language, as she grabbed the nearest chair she could reach. “You are NOT going to treat me this way,” nurse Nancy replied with more anger in her voice than she probably intended. More calmly, she added: “If you want to go on leave for longer than originally agreed upon, you need to discuss it with Marjorie, and she’s not available right now.” At that point, a blonde nurse in her mid-thirties entered the ward. As Patricia saw her, her anger rose and, heaving the chair off the floor, she threw it at Marjorie, barely missing her. Turning to the nurse’s station, Nancy told Patricia, not even looking at her: “Here are your meds and the address for the homeless shelter; for your severe aggressive behavior, you’ve been suspended until Monday.”


This piece of flash fiction is based on a true story from a fellow patient at the locked psychiatric unit back in 2008. I always felt rather conflicted about patients, especially those without a home, being suspended for severe challenging behavior. In this case though, the patient got exactly what she wanted.

I am joining the Six Sentence Story Link-Up, for which the prompt this week is “Shelter”. I am also linking up with Friday Writings, even though it’s Saturday. The optional prompt is conversations you’ve overheard. Though I didn’t exactly overhear this conversation, as it was told to me by the fellow patient later on, I thought it’d be fitting enough.

Poem: Locked Up Inside

In my bubble
I sit
Staring out
At the world
Outside

From around me
I hear
People talking
To me
But I can’t respond

Through the invisible wall
I try
To reach out
To someone
But I can’t

A tight grip
Of panic
envelops me
Because I know
I’m locked up inside


I have had the concept of being “locked up inside” in my head for a few days now. I first came across the phrase in an E-mail support group for parents of children with selective mutism, a disorder in which a child is unable to speak in certain situations due to intense social anxiety. I have never had this diagnosis, but as a teen and young adult, did experience periods of mutism due to anxiety and dissociative freeze responses. I use the term “locked up inside” for a feeling of intense anxiety which causes a freeze response that leads to an inability to speak and sometimes move. The feeling of being “locked up inside” is particularly frequent and intense lately.

I am linking this poem to dVerse’s Open Link Night.

Dear 2021…

Twenty-twenty won
That’s how you begun
For good or for bad
All that we had
Back then, you would continue
And you did

For most, it was probably a sad thing. COVID wasn’t over with. In fact, it’s likely here to stay.

For me, it was a good thing though. At the end of 2020, I was approved for the right level of one-on-one support for a year. I just found out last week that it got approved for another two years to come. I am so relieved! For me, I am more than happy that twenty-twenty won. At least in this respect.


This piece was written for Friday Writings, for which the optional prompt this week is “Dear 2021…”.

My Perfect Lover

I think my husband is perfect. He is the ever-most-beautifullest, ever-most-lovablest
person in the world. That’s why I chose him as my lover.

My husband and I can finish each other’s sentences and it doesn’t get annoying. Or sometimes it does. Then we say “banana spider” and the other knows we’ve bored them out of their mind.

We joke that, when we get old and suffer with dementia, only the two of us will still understand each other, since we have so many special phrases and words between the two of us. At least I hope we’ll have something to laugh at ourselves about then.

Honestly, it’s too bad that my blog is in English and my husband and I communicate primarily in Dutch. After all, our expressions sound even better (or should I say even weirder?) when written or spoken in our native language.

Written for Twiglet #257: “Even Better” and FOWC: “Lover”.