Poem: carey shreve

Poem: carey shreve


Fifteen days after marching in - head beyond “high”,

I slink back out, crawling the daunting distance

to home - fearful of old haunts standing at the ready

to pounce upon my fragile body of insecurities

as I struggle to define what it means to feel

the agonies and ecstasies life has to offer.


 And, how am I to refuse such a ludicrous offer?

For years, I’ve flitted and floated among clouds so high

that I lost all sense and my compass for how to feel.

Yet, you willingly draw me near -- closing the distance

between us, as I wallow in burgeoning insecurities

while they bellow and bristle until I grow ready.


For what? How is one ever to know they‘re “ready”?

Especially when the shell of me has so little to offer

against the tide of my meaningless, mindless insecurities.

I must learn to let fear go and hold my self up high,

to stretch beyond the limits of a self-imposed distance

from me. To finally, fully embrace all I’m given to feel.


Or, deeper still, to acknowledge that you also feel,

as you grace me with your kindness—ever ready

to take a risk and scale the gaping distance

between us with your genuinely made offer

to help me, hold me, guide me to a clean peak on high.

You, a beacon beckoning me – bearing no insecurities.


Whereas, I’m inundated with inane, insatiable insecurities,

my soul bared, badly bruised, bartering – why must I feel?

Can I learn to crave more than a false and futile high?

Find other pinnacles to crest – challenged, yet ready

to stretch my hand out tautly to you?  To offer

to travel far while facing an indeterminate distance?


Such a gulf, an impasse, this horrible numbing distance

wanting to tear me from you — you free of the insecurities

that render me crippled, cobbled, and unable to offer

more than the bare bones of my being. Yet, a nudge to feel,

a mere flicker, a slight shiver is tapping me to be ready -

so we might ascend – together -- to a hope beyond any high.


How dare I traverse the sheer distance to so noble a high?

My insecurities rail at the husky whisper, but boldly ready

to ascend, I offer to march on - a warrior waging her battle to feel.


about the writer: carey shreve

Carey lives on a dirt road in Paw Paw, Michigan surrounded by the woods, and she divides her time between working with Special Education young adults, supporting other women in recovery (which in turn supports her!), and spending time with her granddaughter, Maddi, who is wise in the ways only a 4-year old can be. When a free hour presents itself, she loves spending time in the woods - preferably with paper and pen in hand, weather permitting. And she never says "no" to a decent piece of dark chocolate.  

writer’s note:

This is my first attempt at writing a sestina, which follows a specific pattern for the end word in each line from stanza to stanza. My older daughter has been writing and raving about sestinas for some time, and I was inspired by her shining example. What great fun to give a sestina a whirl!

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