by Pete Marshall

We walked along the beach today;
the waves lay calm and lapped the shore
but joys were gone for little ones
who traipsed to school  just like before
their dreams had come and warmed our home
where fire hearths had gently glowed
and song was sung and peace was known
but now its gone, we’re home, alone.

We took the tree down today;
as winds blew forth through open doors
that brought the angel to the floor
with sparkles boxed and stored once more.

I shed my first tears today;
as letters fell through broken doors
that crept like claws through darkened jaws 
and laid upon an unswept floor.

I went to bed today;
and pulled the covers close & tight
and waited for the little ones
to come once more and bring forth light
that’s left this house we still call home
where fires died and never glow
no songs are sung now peace has flown
and Christmas next, at home, unknown.


Today my children went back to school, we took the decorations down and said goodbye to Christmas. Yet still I remain unemployed…and wonder whether this Christmas will be the last in our home!

This poem is for One Shot Wednesday, at One Stop Poetry, which opens 10pm UK time tonight.

image courtesy creative commons flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/joygant/

49 Responses to “>Unknown”

  1. >Your emotions are so palpable here that I have goosebumps from reading. This is incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  2. >Thank you for the lovely heartfelt poem. Thank you, also, for being so transparent. I learned a long time ago to offer my words, especially the ones about pain, to a higher power-maybe just to a grand tree outside your door or to the clouds rolling by overhead- and then to trust. The only way we ever learn about trust is thru the "school of hard knocks". But trust makes us strong even though it doesn't look like we are "doing" anything. Over here, in America, many people are in the same boat as you. This is a time for all of us to become more real, more humble and pay attention to what really has meaning to our hearts.By the way, don't forget that you are making a difference right now by holding a positive space and forum with your website.I will send you prayers, Pete, in my own way. Take care.One Love,Tiger Windwalker

  3. >God Pete, I'm so sorry to hear that – it's a tune so many seem forced to sing these days. And it' terrible, and it's awful, and made worse by the fact that there seems so little to do about it…or so little the world is willing to do about it.Potent, heartfelt poem, really ringing with emotion and the deep shadows of a life put to such position. It resonates anguish, but still, deeply grasps at the power of family, especially children, to heal, to bring warmth and light…even into the deepest dark. I wish you all the best, Pete. I really hope things start looking up for you.

  4. >Soul-stirring……..

  5. >Your poem speaks volumes about your circumstance and your courage. It touched my heart.I wish you the best. Many blessings.

  6. >pete i got goosebumps reading this and i could so feel your heart. no easy place to be with all the questions and pain and no easy answers as well but i know there is lots of strength in you – otherwise you couldn't write a poem like this in all its vulnerability – you'll make it, i'm sure

  7. >life sucks and then it doesn't and then it does and then it doesn't…I felt this theme in your poem today as you described how your children bring light and joy into your life and when they leave so does the light and joy and back again…this makes me wonder…if I were to focus just on today like kids do, would light and joy be more apt to shine forth from me? It will all be ok, I promise. Your poem was magnificent in its rhythm, depth, and execution in describing some very painful anxieties that many parents experience.

  8. >Gosh, Pete! This poem really hit home. Such a poignant and well written piece. One of your best.How I wish things would work out for you. At least the children bring some joy to your life. Christine

  9. >fark dude…this rips my heart…dark, hard place…praying for you all in the new year…nice one shot

  10. >Beautiful and heart wrenching my sweet Pete. I know your pain all to well. Thank you for sharing and reminding all too many of us that we are not alone in this struggle to just make it. Much love to you. ♥

  11. >A poem that shines with suffering and love. I once read that suffering is drawn to poets like metal filings to a magnet–but it makes their work. All my wishes that this coming year provides the means to climb from the pit of unemployment into the welcome drudgery of a job for you,above and beyond all the work you do here and at One Stop to inspire and support others. Hug those kids for me!

  12. >Very touching..You say so much with your words..Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. >Your words tore my heart apart and the stars from the sky. I wish I had suitcases of money to send, endowments to bestow, movie offers to make, gold bars in Swiss banks, numbered bank accounts in the Caymans…well maybe not that much; I'd have to figure out how to do too many good things with it; but I do wish I could help you out and wish I had more than a modest retirement account of my own. Your words, so poignant so sad; and I am replaying "It's a Wonderful Life in my head" .. there are angels there for you too, dear Pete.

  14. >Beautifully crafted words. Atmospheric and emotional.

  15. >Well crafted and sad in the current sense of the word…my post was sad, but it was just a memory revisited and long since overcome…bkm

  16. >this is awesome! Your poetry has an alluring quality that transports me to a time long ago. It is filled with a lot of thought and true deep emotion. thank you so much!

  17. >a work of love and family and laughter. . .all gone, and the empty left behind. great job, pete

  18. >It's a beautiful poem, Pete. I'm opraying about work.

  19. >You are in my prayers.

  20. >This really stilled me Pete. Not always easy to share these deep fears and feelings but I'm glad you did. We can only hope that the new year brings new hope and new beginnings for so many people.

  21. >unknown…for sure.up and at emdon't give up.

  22. >You have this rare ability to express emotions *and* flow *and* rhyme well–it never feels awkward. I am a big fan, and I know things will get better. I know it may not look that way now, but look at all the people you've brought together with your poetry site. Thanks again.

  23. >Also…My five year old handed me this fortune today, but I believe it was meant for YOUhttp://hgstewart.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/fortune.jpeg?w=490&h=326

  24. >Oh, Pete, this tore at my heart. You use your emotions to create such beauty.

  25. >and some tears sparkled in my eyes Pete,your words touched my heart.such a heartfelt poem!but you know,it will be alright. no matter how harsh it may look like, just hold on and the sun will shine again for you :)May this year only brings you more happiness and God bless your children, they are your real treasure 🙂

  26. >You know I'm going through the same thing Pete. Felt this one hun, really did.S

  27. >Heart-wrenching piece. The simplicity is such a plea for mercy. I really hope your situation improves soon my friend.

  28. >Lots of things to be done on a sinle day!But all so felt and pognantly… I think when things are done, sad or not, if they are great when done with love and the support of all the rest of the members of the family… THAT IS what makes the big difference… others , not only don't they have a tree, but also they have a place or a faily and so onWEll… I really meant to say this is beautiful… as evrything you write , but then the topic touched me as it has touched you…Great One ShotPETE!

  29. >I never let myself stop on negativity-I do like this piece a lot. Your message flows throughout. Trust that "This too shall pass" Thanks for posting.

  30. >Stay the course, Pete….life is complex..complicated, but things will change….and improve. Your poem ripped my heart…been there..and I can say, that little by little, things do improve.Your poetry is some of the best rhyming verse I have ever read. You have a brilliant grasp on this….rhythm, etc. I wish the world would pay $$ for the privilege of reading such verse…Hugs and Hope from Here!Lady Nyo

  31. >Pete,It's a moving story-line. There is always the silver lining, the openings. It'll come when you least expect it. Best wishes for the ensuing year ahead!

  32. >A tough read, Pete… well-written, but very emotional. My heart goes out to you.I hope 2011 will bring good news to you and your family.Keep your chin up!

  33. >Such an emotion laden poem. Very touching…Here is my One Shot:musical whirlwind

  34. >Such a sweet, warm feeling I get while reading, I loved it!

  35. >Pete: So real, and love the traditional form (I'm no good at it). Our feelings move across time and space to rest here. Bright prospects for 2011, dear one!

  36. betweenhearts75 Says:

    >This just brought me tears!!! So well written, so strong these emotions. I know this may not obviously help…but please view…& hold some hope! Just posted this on twitter as well… Golden-Voiced Homeless Man Captivates Internet – Amplifier http://yhoo.it/hrfNNq <might need to copy & paste the link. ~Best of luck in all of heart! ~April

  37. >truly evocative– thank you for this– i too have that emptiness in the wake of all that sound, color, hope, intensity– you will be in a wondrous new place by next season…xxxxj

  38. >That was very deeply felt, my friend.. It's good to know that something's unknown..that way, there's still something left to explore, to fight for! I guess it's better to have somethings unknown and leave a chance for hope, rather than knowing that there is no hope at all.. May this new year bring joy and peace to you and your family, Pete… May the best be with you, and the worst leave you forever…Wish you a VERY HAPPY 2011!

  39. >A truly excellent piece. I can relate to the emotion of this all too well. Seriously good work.

  40. >It must be difficult to live with this problem.Bad luck doesn't last forever though.These feeling are well expressed in this poem.It's the unfortunate truth.Pain breeds brilliant poetry

  41. >Very touching and emotional!

  42. >To have written this poem and kept the rhyme somehow gives shape and form to the pain and foreboding you express. That makes you a poetic hero for me, Pete! I can't imagine I could have written antyhing if faced with the last Christmas the way it has always been. You've got a 'brave heart' and a gift of wholeness. How can't not the skies listen to your poem? I'll echo your voice in my pleas.

  43. >The anonymous was me, Pete! Alegria

  44. >Pete – emotional piece. May your tides turn lad.

  45. >A brave poem from a brave soul

  46. >evocative piece, Pete. Emotive and somewhat saddening to read, but I sense you are hopeful also. I can't know how much is fictional and how much reality, and it isn't my business, but aye things'll be looking up. You know every single year, January is the hardest, I find. Spring is a powerful force, bring it on…Cheers mate, glad we can express these things with our poetry – one of the greatest modes of personal expressions, no? Luke

  47. >Ouch-effective work. Keep fighting for the dream – it needn't be a dream, despite political/corporate thuggery.

  48. >thank you as always for your kind supportive words…when i write poetry these words flow and take me to wherever my mind is…yes that day was a sad one and the poem captured it well…its not until i read the comments though do i realise its effect…thanks for reading, supporting and being friends..all the best Pete

  49. >You have tapped into the post-Christmas blues and created this outstanding poem, filled with the pain and worries of real life beyond holidays. The stanza in which the tears begin to flow is so moving.I hope 2011 has some positive changes in store for you and your family.

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