Two Houses

Bedtime prayers,
gentle preludes to peace,
little tinny voice and
tiny tin drum tucked
away, little mind drifts
away on tinted waves
of music and magic.

Pretty penny
pick it up,
balance on a finger tip,
flip it, catch it,
turn around,
no need to hide it
if on the ground,
it’s not nicked if
it is found.

Insidious nightfall,
no solace found in silence,
no light to split the gloom,
all attention fixed on closed
doors to quiet rooms.
Limbs twitch, sweat pours,
chased through sleep
by phantoms and rhymes.

English: Large amount of pennies

Pretty penny
pick it up,
balance on a finger tip,
flip it, catch it,
turn around,
no need to hide it
if on the ground,
it’s not nicked if
it is found.

© John Edwards

Written for the Sunday Whirl for the above photo by John Edwards at IGWRT.

photo credit: david anderson : da-photography via photo pin cc



Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

20 responses to “Two Houses

  1. nothing about this really feels right yet…feeling somewhat stuck with it…decided to post and come back to it later…suggestions, critiques welcome

  2. Just discovered your writing. Good stuff. You asked for input on this piece. My initial impression is that it feels like two different works striving to share the same space. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

  3. Mark, I favour the refrain throughout this piece. It gives it a somewhat surreal feeling. But heck what do I know being a novice myself.


  4. hedgewitch

    It does have a tense, suspended feel to it Mark. I’m getting images of childhood and adulthood of the person,reflected in the penny, but it could also be two entirely different lives, contrasted. Either way, it’s full of material for cogitating, especially the italicized refrain.

    • thanks HW, I could not get the grave stone picture out of my mind, the idea of losing a child…ended up with the thought of how different an evening would be at two houses side by side in which one had a child and the other had recently lost one. Children that had probably played together.

      • This explanation nails it for me… In my heart I could feel something was sadly out of synch and sad in one of these places. The refrain echoes in a surreal and uncomfortable way. A stunning surreal bit of writing.

      • Like vivinfrance it took two readings to start to get the feel of it but don’t you think a lot of the best poetrycan be like that?
        As the parent in the second house I think it’s an excellent summary of what it’s like. I’m assuming you haven’t had the experience in which case it is a very skilful piece of putting yourself in other shoes.

  5. Interesting to read something about which the poet is still pondering. Wish I could offer some food for your thought.

  6. For me, the penny represents luck: “See a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck..” This becomes linked with childhood games, the tin soldiers, bedtime.. and on to a more lasting nightfall, illness and death. The undercurrent is felt through our associations with your words, so I think it turned out very well.

  7. It started so light-hearted, then twisted its way down a different path altogether. Any time writing surprises me like that…i find it successful. I like the italicized bits about the penny.

  8. So beautiful and sad. The child’s song sings along with one precious child’s passing…the grief he could never sing it.

  9. I re-read it after reading your explanation: the first read was puzzling but I was swept along by the rhythm and the charm of your words. Then the sadness crept in. I think maybe you could extend it using the scenario you describe into a very powerful piece. The refrain is particularly effective.

  10. ohhhh. a child’s dreams, the nightmares of parents who have lost their child. that’s what i ‘m getting here. just this weekend my daughter learned about receiving good luck when she found a penny heads-side-up. maybe you can work on this a bit but you’ve got a strong foundation here, with the penny and the chorus. i think i’d take away the photos, to tell the truth; for me they distract a bit from the heaviness of the piece.

  11. Touching thoughts with a side drift of unhappiness. A provocative and powerful read.

  12. I’m with Viv on this Mark – now that I’ve read your process notes, I too think you could develop this into a really poignant piece. There’s nothing to compare with the loss of a child but to live next door to people with a child the same age as the one just lost? Especially if they were friends? I see the possibilities of going many places with this but that’s just me … Oh, and the refrain is perfect (actually, so is the photo of the grave – in my view) but it’s early days … this is one of those poems you might find yourself messing around with for a long time. Some famous poet (whose name escapes me) said, “…a poem is never really finished, just abandoned…” I used to scoff at that notion until recently when I found myself rewriting a poem I’ve had published … hmm, who knew?

  13. Mark, don’t give up on it. It reads fine and expressive to me, but you would know what you wanted it to convey. You work magic with words, and I have no doubt you will find the endearing part of what you seek.

  14. little mind drifts
    away on tinted waves
    of music and magic.

    Of all this stood out to me Mark!! Great writing!

  15. Hello Mark – just thought byou might like to see my blog posting which refers to how much I loved this poem, thanks, John

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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