Brief Poems for Desperate Times

In times like these, filled with screed and greed, it is so difficult for me to be. Seemingly all that I see consumes the better parts of me; drags me screaming into a future I fear. Hope eroded and rasped away with each headline, soundbite and tweet. I wish that I didn’t care. I want to fight. I want to flee. I want to blame. I try to ignore the worst. I cannot see goodness and love that I know is there. I try to sit. I try to breathe. I want to shut out the world (even those that care the most about me). I try to let it go. I try to let it be. And I cannot.

Sometimes it’s a smile or a hug from a friend sitting round these uneven tables where we sit in mismatched chairs. Sometimes a photo or video of a grandchild with a face dyed purple and red with the juice of berries ever so sweet. Sometimes it’s the klutziness of our crazy cat or the puppy eyes of a dog staring up at me.

I pause and I begin to see. I return to the source I find within and without. For me, Nature, streams, ponds, prairies, meadows, mountains, and forests are sacred refuges, divine sources. I seek these among the thousands of poems I’ve written in good times and bad. I find solace. I find peace. I return to the source.


I sought refuge
Respite from the rage
Shelter from the storm
But the refuge and respite
I so desperately sought
A mere temporary escape
Yet another prison
Without need of bars
One that I alone made


In a forest dark
Which way to turn


The stream raged as never before
And I wept for all we lost


I sit by the still forest pool
Mud settles after the storm


I heard the cranes calling at dusk
An ancient song of hope beyond the horizon

About the Author

Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.

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2 years ago

This is lovely. Had a brief discussion about simple poems that anchor us. One favourite is the Emily Dickenson poem about hope. “Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all – And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard – And sore must be the storm – That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm – I’ve heard it in the chillest land – And on the strangest Sea – Yet – never – in Extremity, It… Read more »