PROMPT #403 – LIVING ON THE EDGE

Every day we inch toward the edge of a precipice. Summer is on the downward spiral. Daylight is a waning commodity. It seems we’re living on the edge of something. We’re looking over the edge to write our poems this week. Edge of sanity, edge of reason or the edge of a ledge, what fuels your poetry? Give us a view from your lofty position. It’s true. We’re living on the edge.

MARIE’S LEDGE:

On Edge

A young mom stands.
The four-year-old boy at her feet
sits in his unseen labels:
Autistic.
Nonverbal.
Sensory-impaired.
She holds one end of a leash.
The other is attached to a cute backpack
he wears, as he fidgets in a small spot of dirt
in an otherwise flawless lawn of the public library that is, 
today, being used as a venue for celebrating diversity.  

The morning is perfection.  
People of different cultures and languages together,
sharing their talents and being offered a public voice.
This mom does not move from her spot
for hours.
The darling boy pays no attention to the speakers
the music
the dancers
other children.
His focus is only on his patch of dirt.
He sits in it.  Lays in it.  Plays in it 
with his hands and feet.
Feels it with his cheeks.
He pulls a bit of the grass around it,
increasing his speck of space.
A woman with a long dress gets close.
He reaches out to touch the fabric.  It is the only thing
I see him pay attention to, besides the small patch
that grounds him.  
His momma tells him
don’t touch the dress.  

When I am leaving, I approach her. 
She stiffens. 
I smile.
“A sort of sandbox, I see,” I say.  
She tells me nothing soothes him quite like
a patch of cool dirt. 
She tells me his labels.  
I place my hand on her shoulder briefly,
and assure her she is a strong, good momma.
She says the only other woman
to approach her this day sternly told her, 
“I pay taxes for this grass.”

© Marie Elena Good, 2022

WALT’S GONE OVER BOARD:

THE STORM APPROACHES

In the distance, a rumble,
a tumble of thunder as the truth approaches.
Standing on the edge, the storm is here,
a torrent of rain coming to wash away the mud
and slime slung as the truth keeps brimming
to counter the lies pushing to level the people. 
Its ferocity will shake the world,
a swirl of wind in forceful retribution.
The solution is clear. Hear what you choose; 
what your heart wishes to believe.
Seek shelter from the storm.

© Walter J Wojtanik, 2022

156 thoughts on “PROMPT #403 – LIVING ON THE EDGE

  1. Oh Marie, what an excellent, awesome yet heartbreaking poem. Every line, every word. He snd his momma tucked in my heart forever!

  2. The edge
    Of the abyss
    Is clearly within view
    I don’t want to see what’s in there
    What if it’s the end of me?

      • I haven’t had a full night of uninterrupted sleep since the heart surgery in 2016. Kind of use to the sleep-wake-sleep-wake-sleep routine. Don’t like it, but still thankful to be alive.

  3. Marie, wow… you’ve taken this moment and painted it perfectly, I was on the edge from the first lines, waiting for the reveal, the opening of the hearts. So well done. Yes, like Pat said, this woman and child are unforgettable.

  4. AT THE EDGE OF VIRTUE

    I can feel the sharp painful edge inching closer,
    but in the reel of my mind—I’ve already fallen.

    The gross apathetic weight of gravity
    has already won its sour victim.

    I’m dusted, downtrodden, defeated, depleted;
    tasting the waste of life’s bitter agony.

    I’m living on the edge, teetering—yet I’ve fallen.
    Shall I rise yet again?

    I can see the sympathetic flailing skies overhead,
    the haughty point from which I’ve fallen.

    Yet at the edge of a supine mind, a creeping thought
    has fought, and was bred for this.

    That I shall not miss—
    this opportunity—to rise yet again…and again.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  5. IT’S NICE TO SEE THE BOTTOM

    Standing
    on a broad ledge
    of a gentle drumlin
    instead of a deep canyon’s edge;
    that’s what i appreciate.

  6. On the Edge

    She’s on the edge—
    Fire, wind, rain shut up in her soul.
    Not sure what’s ahead if she steps out.
    Is it holy indignation—
    Like Jesus upturning temple tables?
    Or something dark?
    She waits.
    Breathes.
    1, 2, 3…

  7. So much to applaud today…MEG, Walt, Earl, Benjamin, Connie…the words which arise for me are “strong and powerful and honest”. William, your gentleness strikes as equally powerful.

  8. The Edge of Everywhere

    I reserve the right
    to find beauty in everything,
    in children, of course,
    and family, friends, neighbors,
    also in the catalog of daily living,
    in the exotic succulent,
    the mundane marigold,
    the common fern, 
    all capable of giving birth
    to beautiful themes.

    I reserve the right
    to believe, regardless the chatter,
    that truth will triumph,
    honesty will survive,
    love will trump hate,
    every time,
    each wonder-filled heart
    generously giving birth
    to beautiful themes.

    I reserve the right
    to be attuned to the moment, 
    open to all possibilities, 
    receptive to miracles, 
    aligned with love,
    in a safe place, constructed 
    on the edge of everywhere,
    too strong for problems to reach,
    the kind of place written about
    with beautiful themes

    I reserve the right 
    to trust that all the hurt, all the bad, 
    all the worry of the world
    could be swallowed up there,
    on the edge of everywhere,
    on the edge of nowhere,
    never robbing people of their God 
    without giving them a better one,
    full of harmony, receptivity, peace,
    taking time to celebrate what is right, 
    the small wins, what is going well,
    doing so in a perfect poem
    with a beautiful theme.

  9. Marie, your poem touched me deeply. I worked with Jerry M for 20 years who was autistic with supersonic hearing and remembered every person he met and their names, and could sing every country song he heard out of key but hey he was singing, but could not write his name until he was 14 years old. I worked with him until I was about retired and I had got him into a permanent placement in community training home…with five other young men and a wonderful staff. I used to transport him from outside Columbia to his former foster home once a month in Anderson county. We always stopped for ice cream…He greeted everyone in McDonalds and often embarrassed me because he introduced me as Mary Todd who took him from his mama. (He meant his foster Mama)I remember one kind older woman who did not cringe when held out his hand to shank it. what you did reminded me of that older woman… Jerry called me last Christmas while he was visiting that same foster family… Thank you for all those who love children like Jerry…and all they want is a bit of kindness.

  10. on a day fallen into shadows

    on a day fallen into shadows
    the patter of cold rain
    a love song without words
    resonance of a sad refrain.

    the patter of cold rain
    and stillness of the land
    resonance of a sad refrain
    waning days of september

    stillness of the land
    a country road glistens
    waning days of september
    the passage of summer

    a country road glistens
    raindrops like tears
    the passage of summer
    reflections of passing years

    raindrops like tears
    shed from sullen clouds
    reflections of passing years
    a leaf turned crimson falls

  11. I like to walk on edges…

    My mother in frustration
    Spoke hard words to me…
    “Why for heaven’s sake
    Do you always walk too close
    To the edge of things?”

    I looked into her blue grey eyes,
    That looked so sad,
    And I wanted to take away her fear
    For her last-born child…
    But I couldn’t.

    Within me is the need to seek
    The edges of things and if I can
    Push those edges farther from the center.

    It is a dangerous walk,
    And I often get hurt, but
    When I was three walking
    On the ledge of our roof
    Around my house…
    I found I loved the excitement
    Of conquering those edges in life.
    It is who I am.

    Still looking into my mother’s eyes,
    I wanted to ease her mind,
    But I have always been one to speak my truth
    Even when I am hurt.

    I took her face in my hands,
    And looked deep into the eyes
    Of my ever-practical mother
    The bravest woman I knew
    For she went against all wisdom
    To marry my father, a son of a murderer
    And a drunk…but she saw him
    Not his father.

    “Ma, I am who I am.
    Trust me,” and I kissed her cheek.
    She nodded her head, and
    I knew she wanted to cry,
    But she never did that in front of anyone.
    This stoic woman who was my mother…
    Never got my passionate nature, and
    In a whim, I kissed her other cheek, and said,
    “Don’t worry, I am going, and I will be fine.”

    She saw me pick up my bags
    To go on my newest adventure,
    And watched me walk out the door.
    I got into my car knowing she was crying,
    But so was I…
    I had to walk to that edge, and would
    And I would come home again
    And she would feel all was right in the world,
    But I would be dreaming of the next edge
    I needed to walk.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 11, 2022

  12. Emily Dickenson’s Garden

    a garden
    on the north side
    of the library
    a well-kept plot
    speaks of her love
    of summer
    her life
    a well-kept garden
    but today
    a touch
    of cold rain
    from sullen clouds
    as summer
    descends into fall
    it is a place
    where her poems
    were read
    and reflected upon
    a heartfelt passage
    of seasons
    this poet’s life

  13. Truly On The Edge

    “There’s something wrong with the world today
    I don’t know what it is
    Something’s wrong with our eyes
    We’re seeing things in a different way
    And God knows it ain’t His
    It sure ain’t no surprise”

    From “Livin’ on the Edge” 1993
    Aerosmith, Get a Grip Track 5

    Lyrics before their time
    Accurate beyond belief
    So applicable today

    The world is upside down
    Yet many refuse to see
    If only they’d open their eyes

    There’s no God in this mess
    Yet those who trust in Him
    Can see thing plain as day

    What can we do to wake the woke
    And help them see this ain’t no joke
    Something’s wrong with the world today
    And we know what it is

  14. God’s Clock

    God is on the edge of His throne
    Waiting for our next move
    For our actions determine when
    He orders the trumpet to blow

    Christ is on the edge of His throne
    Waiting for God to command Him
    To saddle the white stallion and
    Ride out of the Eastern sky

    Christians are on the edge of our seats
    Counting the prophesies being fulfilled
    Knowing the end is edging closer when
    We’ll disappear in the blink of an eye

    It’s eleven-fifty-nine and counting
    Or so one would have to believe
    Every tick brings us closer
    Every tock brings us hope

    But it’s God’s clock that’s ticking
    Not ours
    For no man knows the day or hour
    So stay ready
    Stay strong
    For I have a feeling it won’t be long

  15. A BOLD MOVE

    what if she let her imagination soar
    out to the edge
    passed her childhood definitions
    beyond her parents hopes
    further than her whole family’s picture
    of the future they wanted for her
    carrying with her whatever
    edgy idea
    she had
    to completion
    until that ‘dare not go past here’
    concept
    actually arrived
    thrived
    survived
    bringing the very pulse of it
    into view
    as only her biggest vision
    could do
    and if that
    were to manifest
    as she guessed
    would her bold move
    have been worth it
    after all
    responding to the call
    to go big
    or go home
    or would they still think
    she’s too edgy
    too much a dreamer
    a schemer
    to have ever thought of it
    before
    it became this real
    if not ideal
    touching and transforming
    anyone who feels it
    a positive affect on their heart
    like a mystical, magical fluid art
    now that it’s here
    maybe it’s time to ignite it
    and start

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2022

  16. Blackness waits.
    She stands at the edge.
    A quick step,
    footing lost
    would send her spiraling down
    if she could but choose.

    Hovering
    at the precipice
    wondering
    what she’d lose
    besides herself. Why isn’t
    that reason enough?

  17. AT THE EDGE OF DAY AND NIGHT

    What lies at the edge of the simmering sea?
    Between the cusp of night and vanquish of day?

    There isn’t a battle of wills, as one might suppose,
    but rather a handshake between them without delay.

    It appears that darkness has bled well into the light.
    That triumph of sun has quickly fled in defeat.

    But I tell you it’s the daily treaty of night and day—
    a game of thrones, each party sharing the one seat.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  18. THE TRUE MARK OF MAN’S BLADE

    At
    the pointed edge
    of sword and steel,
    there is always something
    dark.

    At
    the heightened peak
    of a trained knight’s
    blade, the clang of conflict’s
    spark.

    At
    the deadly fringe of
    life and death’s ponder—
    upon conscience, will it leave its
    mark.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  19. AT THE EDGE OF THE PEN

    At the edge
    of a ball point pen,
    there is
    something…

    A letter,
    a phrase, an idea,
    a poem again.

    Words,
    are atoms, molecules,
    proteins and polymers,
    like ordinary businessmen.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  20. OLD MAN’S EDGE

    Me and old man’s edge
    are just old, old friends.

    I couldn’t tell you
    exactly where we begin.

    But,

    I tend to lend an eye on the spacious canyon
    of the deep. Where he always tells me,
    “it’s very steep. So don’t get too close.”
    As my wonder sweeps from one side
    of the abyss to the next.

    There,
    I lay on my side in peace. It is there I mingle,
    sigh and sleep. Set up camp. Cut the firewood.
    Making my bed on the ledge—netherward.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  21. ON THE VERGE OF HAPPINESS

    (A poem of depression)

    There am I—sitting on the verge
    of happiness.

    I can see the myrtle trees dance in the valley.
    The musical rhythm of their hue is calm itself.

    The magnitude of their petals are so precious,
    luscious even. Their branches serve faithfully.

    Their roots sing praises, dig down into royal ground.
    They bear fruit upward, toward a blue royal crown.

    I can almost see the breeze meddling in the fields.
    Their spring burst of pollen abounds in the air.

    I can see their beauty. Almost taste their brightness.
    I can feel their pleas, their dire thirst for rain.

    I can see the endless flowering clouds of myrtle trees.
    Playing, laughing, swaying back and forth.

    There I sit. On the verge of happiness.
    Seeing. Observing. Desiring.
    But I cannot touch.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  22. I was given by my pastor to write the history of my church Ruhamah Methodist Church is 200 years old. then he asked me to write a poem… about the church… I just wanted to share it with you guys….

    Love and Mercy

    You could not give mercy
    Without love in your heart.
    God loved us.
    He gave us mercy
    For nothing we can do
    Can right our hearts with God
    Except He gave us mercy.

    Jesus was that mercy.
    He paid our debt and
    Removed our trespasses…
    In His act of giving His body to be broken
    He gave us forgiveness.
    Mercy was obtained for us
    In that act of love.
    All we have to do is accept that love
    And ask for forgiveness.

    The people who founded this church
    Wanted a name that spoke of God’s love
    And of His mercy…
    Ruhamah meant that mercy
    Had been obtained through Jesus…
    It was with love that name was given
    To this church.

    Say the name
    Ruhamah, Ruhamah
    Hear the mercy!
    Feel the love!

    For God loves this church.
    He has loved this church
    Through wars and depressions,
    And unrest and
    Through it all He sent to us
    His love, His mercy, and
    Has blessed us
    With people who loved
    And gave mercy.

    This small church
    Has obtained as much mercy and love
    From Jesus
    As any of the large churches…
    For He has a purpose for us
    Right where we are…
    We are here to pray
    To love and give mercy…

    We are blessed abundantly
    For we are faithful, and
    And we are a family of believers,
    And always have been…
    Look at the people who come
    To celebrate this church…

    They came because
    It was here at this church…
    Not the buildings
    But this church
    Made up of people who have
    Always loved and gave mercy,
    And taught those that were young
    The value of giving love, mercy, and
    Forgiveness…

    Ruhamah, Ruhamah
    Feel the love!
    Feel the mercy!

    May we continue
    To give love
    To the strangers we encounter.
    May we continue to welcome
    Those that need to find a place of rest.
    May we continue to give mercy
    To the broken ones who enter our doors.
    May we continue to pray
    For those who worship here,
    And those we do not know…
    For our very name means
    We have obtained mercy
    Through the Love of our God.

    Ruhamah, Ruhamah
    Say the name
    Feel the love!
    Feel the mercy!

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 12, 2022

  23. My anger is showing in this poem… so you may want to skip it…

    On the Edge…

    I fell into a chasm of darkness…
    Grief had broken me.
    It seemed as if every person
    Whom I shared my life
    Had left this life…
    And me.

    The void was filled with cries in the darkness
    Not knowing if I could pay
    The next bill…
    If I could heat
    My house
    Or would I sleep
    In the cold, and go hungry
    Because I did both
    Before…
    And I don’t want to go
    To that place again.

    The price of groceries
    Is robbing me….
    The price of gas
    Is eroding what little I have.

    People say
    We need to save the earth…
    So, they buy electric cars
    Without looking to where
    They get their power…
    They say no more plastic
    And so, they say we can use paper…
    Without thinking where paper
    Begins… and they cut down our forests
    Which cool the earth
    And clean the air, and
    Give us oxygen…
    And prices go up
    For those short-sighted people
    Who look at themselves and
    Say look at us
    Saving the earth.

    I look across
    The sea of people
    And it is not those people
    Who have nothing that waste…
    It is those that have much
    That do.

    I am on standing on edge of an abyss of darkness
    And one stumble and I will fall
    Into that place I once was,
    And I am fighting against
    Myself, who is trying to give in
    And give up
    But it is not me.

    I have been cancelled, rejected, and negated,
    But all within me will not give up
    For I am valid, worthy, and a person of value.

    This warrior is one the edge,
    And waiting for the conflict-
    For I will go out fighting…and
    To heck with all those short-sighted people
    Who walk by those in need
    Not wanting to be touched by them.
    They won’t walk by me.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 13, 2022

      • Yes, and being ill with a stomach virus has not helped. The line cancelled, Rejected and negated came from something that happed last week. I had a supervisor for 16 years who spent most of the time making fun of me, treating me as stupid and I saw her and because I am a polite person, I walked over to speak with her. There was another woman whose back was to me…turns out she was a friend of mine and she lives about two hours away. Becky said to her after I spoke to her, “She didn’t even speak to you.” My friend said, “I don’t think she knew it was me.” Becky never even spoke to me. When my brother Jimmy died I was working under her. I called and told her when my brother’s funeral was. She did not tell any of my coworkers until after the funeral when it was. My other two brothers had friends at our brother’s funeral, and I had no one. Writing this poem is my start towards healing. I won’t go speak to her again.

  24. On Edge

    How plainly may I speak to you
    as you stand on the crumbling edge, a plateau in your  mind?

    Will my words nudge you to the brim
    of indecision, or reckless whim,
    or prompt instead a step away
    from danger, fear, morose dismay?

    How plainly, truth in love, may I
    say what I want to say?
    I sigh for all I have not said before.
    My heart speaks whispers at your door.

    How plainly can you hear
    as I come near, come near,
    the crumbling edge, a plateau in your mind?

    © Damon Dean, 2022

  25. They said…. I answered

    They said
    I would walk where angels
    Feared to tread,
    And they were right.

    They said
    I stood on my principals,
    And had to be convinced
    To let them go.
    They are right.

    They said
    I was a loyal to a fault,
    And that is true
    Unless you burn me,
    And then I burn that bridge
    And don’t look back.

    They said
    I took too many risks
    And pushed the edge
    Sometimes I lost,
    But most times I won.
    That would be about right.

    They said all these things…
    And that sums it up…
    But
    What they don’t say…

    Is that that it is lonely
    On that edge,
    And I long for company
    To share a cup of tea,
    To laugh and have conversations.
    What they don’t say…

    Is that being different
    And listening to a different saxophone
    Than the tune everyone else is playing
    Makes people shake their head
    Move a bit farther away.
    What they don’t say…

    Is that tilting at windmills
    Makes you seem a bit crazy
    Until someone realizes
    What you are doing
    Was right all along.
    What they don’t say…

    Is that when others
    Head off to do something fun
    You will be left alone
    Because they think
    You won’t really care
    If you are not included.

    But I say…
    I am myself,
    And I like the edge,
    And
    I am loyal
    Because it what
    Is the right thing to do.
    And
    I do care
    When I am forgotten,
    Or they laugh and say
    She isn’t like us,
    And she won’t mind
    Because on that they were wrong…
    I did mind.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    September 13, 2022

  26. ODE TO A PINECONE

    As you sway, I quietly listen
    In the sun, you softly glisten

    Hanging on the edge of a branch
    This could be it, your last chance

    Currently, you’re way up high
    Dangling precariously in the sky

    You have no thought of when you’ll fall
    Most likely in autumn, you’ll hear the call

    A chipmunk could run up the tree
    Grab your stem and set you free

    Pine needles below could act as a ledge
    Once you drop off your heightened edge

    With courage you grew there on your spot
    Who knows when you’ll land or finally get caught

    You trusted your nature, followed your journey
    What happens next, we’ll have to see

    For now, I’ll just enjoy the view
    It is what I love, it’s what I do

    I admire you as you grow so free
    Blowing in the breeze as far as I can see

    Illustrating that being on the edge might be wise
    Even if it leads to our demise

    It may mean we did what we came to do
    We lived our lives to be real and true

    We trusted each edge we found ourselves on
    Shining in the sun, until we were gone

    A full, complete cycle of life in the air
    Thank you, dear pinecone, I value all that you share

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2022

  27. TENSION

    The edge
    of a soft chair
    can feel like a sharp knife
    when stress and strife combine to dredge
    despair.

  28. You Walk the Precipice

    picking your way along
    the rocky path dust swirling
    around your feet

    on your left the sheerness
    slickened by memories
    moments a veritable morass
    where dying grasses yield
    to clay and shale’s constant
    calving into the stream below
    choked with Lady’s thumb
    and the detritus of dreams

    now and then you look down
    but you already know
    the bottom having slid
    to the cattails bordering
    the branch, clawing your way
    back up more than once
    your face and hands full
    of much and more dried
    later into resolve until
    it crumbled tumbling
    again and yet again

    and now you allow yourself
    a sidelong glance heart thudding
    at the silver ribbon so far
    away, watch bits of rock
    skidding down writing stories
    before they plink, disappear

    but right now you’re up top
    jabbing your cedar trunk
    into the rocks to secure purchase
    one step one second at a time.

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