The Moon, the Sun, and the Stars

When I stopped drinking alcohol almost 13 years ago, I was left to face fears, anxiety, regret, guilt, shame and depression. It was overwhelming. The universe that I had lived in for so long was quite small, often a room with curtains drawn and the ringer and e-mail/text notifications off.

I had retreated from everyone and everything. Now, sober, my universe is expansive and full of wonder. When I began to allow myself to experience the world around me, it reminded me of my paternal grandfather, my Papaw, a remarkable man. Self-taught in myriad ways, he was curiosity unbound. I’m grateful for the seminal role he played in my life.

Sober and now a grandparent myself, I’m even more deeply aware of how important he was in my life then and now. He lived with my grandmother on our little farm. He taught me much about nature and about life. I’m often reminded of our walks at night looking up at stars.

I was terrified of the dark, sleeping with lights on for many years. My dad demanded courage, berated me for my many irrational fears. My Papaw took me for walks, pointing out mythology in the sky and calling owls in close. He was in many ways, the soft, quiet, source of strength that I took refuge in as a scared, anxious, confused child. He never forced me to face my fears alone. Rather, he allowed me to feel safe with him by my side. He is the person that I try to be today. His curiosity, child-like wonder inhabits these poems and me.

I

I spin and I turn 
Between Venus
And Mars
Spinning round
And round
On Mother Earth
As she takes me
About the Sun
I’m filled with 
Wonder and Awe
At such a marvelous thing
Living and life
Impossible it seems
Yet here I am
Here we are

II

The waxing moon
Draws me near
Beckons me
Slow my pace
This a precious 
Interlude between
Day and night
The haunting call
Of a screech owl
Pierces the silence
As darkness falls 
I breathe and I sigh
Grateful for moments
Such as these
The richness 
And the beauty
Of these my lives
And my times 

III

I remember looking up 
Full of wonder and awe
Gazing deeply at a star-filled sky
Oh how wonderfully small I felt
I remember how the dark
Seemed to swallow us whole
And how I wanted to hold your hand
But eight was too old for that
Aldebran Sirius Venus and Mars
You pointed out to me as we walked
Telling me stories of the seven sisters
And how to find Orion by his belt
You told me to follow Cassiopeia’s arrow point
To the brightest of bright and I’d never be lost
The North Star would always be my friend
I wish I could tell you that it always worked
Helping me countless times along my way
But it was your love in the telling of your tales
That I remember when I’m lost in the dark


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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Lois W
Lois W

This reminded me of my father. Thank you