We dreamed in degrees
of desperation,
each thinking the other
should be persuaded
by our own particular vision
of happiness.

I asked her once
if it was her heart or her head
which caused her to stay,
or some tribute
to the ideals of love
and commitment.
It seemed a period of years
before she answered.

I stay because of vows uttered
and moments remembered.

I stay because children should
not suffer from a rash decision.

I stay because I refuse to believe
a life is nothing more than things
nestled into a corner of the floor.

I stay because I still cry when
your space at the table is empty
or your side of the bed is cold.

I stay because I long for the future
we planned, and I have never
longed for another to hold my hand.

I stay because I believe love that was
can be again, if we wish it to be.

We dreamed in degrees
of desperation.


for the Sunday Whirl Wordle


Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

22 responses to “Degrees

  1. Mark, I really like how you brought this back to the beginning. It reads nicely.


  2. How poignant this is as the subject lives her life in hope, duty and faithfulness regardless of cold wind of despair.

  3. Completely exquisite and heartfelt. I love this.

  4. Your poem is authentic – in showing how people let relationships go on and on.

  5. Very beautiful and touching.>KB

  6. This is beautiful poetry – the kind I aspire to write but soemhow never quite do

  7. Laurie Kolp

    Heart-wrenching, Mark. I know you (or whoever it’s about) can get back to that if both want to. It might not be easy, though.

  8. Sentimental creation. I liked the verse that said love that was can be recreated.

  9. This is so sad and brought tears to my eyes.. still that hope which make contrast the desperation…

  10. This feels real, though these two souls seem to be missing each other somehow.

  11. “It seemed a period of years
    before she answered”
    ..particularly fond of this image, of the delayed response that was perhaps answered wordlessly. Nice write Mark.

  12. Wow, this was so very emotional and touching, I really think that anything I have to say would not even be good to stand in its shadow. Thank you very much for sharing this piece and thus giving me a chance to read it and expirience it.

  13. i love her answer…it’s honest and real… and enough reasons to stay.. i love the hope as well… there is some kind of sadness but for me the hope is much louder… and she builds with bricks and mortars not with dreamfloats…i like that

  14. Ah to be so honest! Great job with this one, I really felt the yearning for the potential of reignited love

  15. whew…powerful piece….why do you stay….and her words to you…i believe in love as well…and that is a powerful statement itself…among many in these words…..

  16. I lost my husband after 27 years of marriage. Your words are words I wish I had said when he lived. I’ve thought them every day he’s been gone, though not as beautifully or as concisely composed as this poem.

  17. It seems to me that love is all intent and little reception, if you will..I loved your words as it made me ponder there with you I think…

  18. Mark this is such a loving tribute, and yes sometimes it takes years to answer those questions, but not really because the answer is in the doing not the saying. What a great love poem that has the grit of real and taste of staying together.

  19. Mark, this piece shouts, “I will not go gently!” Commitment and passion go hand in hand, and you sir state the case extremely well. I’m glad I was steered to your blog.

  20. Wonderful poem. Good reasons for continuing a relationship and a litany that would make it impossible to leave…the grass is brown on the other side compared to this lush green lawn!

  21. I could cry and applaud at the same time. This is poignant and very moving especially in a world where relationships seem to be disposable more often than not. Excellent work.

  22. This is powerful in its simplicity and portrait of human nature.

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

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