Grade Me

I hereby invite you to critique me on a poem I drummed up last night.

Please feel free to post a reply and tag me, since I don’t have comments activated here. I’m happy to have people see your insights.

DEPARTURE
by: Sheralyn Pratt

Goodbye—
not farewell.
This is a good bye.
I never heard the difference
until now.
Until you.
Until I fared you well
when I should have bid you goodbye.
I didn’t know…
I thought they were the same.
I didn’t hear the difference
‘til I paired them with your name
… a goodbye vs. a farewell…
two compound words
with very different flipsides.
And the truth is,
you have fared well enough
and to survive
I must bid you goodbye.

___

Revisions:


Goodbye—
not farewell.
This is a good bye.
I never heard the difference
until I fared you well
when I should have bid you goodbye.
I didn’t know…
I thought they were the same.
I didn’t hear the difference
‘til I paired them with your name
… a goodbye vs. a farewell…
two compound words
with very different flipsides.
And the truth is,
you have fared well enough
and to survive
I must bid you goodbye.

Edits suggested by: Cynthia Miller

Dream Beaches

By: Sheralyn Pratt

In nature,
hundreds of thousands of sea turtles
lay millions of eggs each year
in prime beach sand.
90% of their eggs will hatch.
but only 1% will survive
and thrive in maturity.

I’ve found that dreams
can be much the same
— mesmerizing
as they emerge in tiny perfection
before sand-crawling their way
to the great sea of possibilities
where predators lurk,
challenges never flinch,
and competition doesn’t blink or share.

It’s no wonder we often hold
our dream hatchlings close
when they first emerge from their nest.
It’s a rough world out there
and so few dreams survive.
It makes sense to want
to play Peter Pan
and hold on to every tiny possibility
like a child…
but the truth is
we must let dreams go
— let them crawl the beach
and swim —
and know that those that brave
the sea of life will evolve
and bring new life again.

One Sheep

One of my favorite poems by my grandma is “One Sheep.”

In truth, I have many “favorite” poems by my grandma. I was around 20 when I first read it online. The internet was just becoming a thing and my uncle posted all my grandma’s published work on his website.

I was manning a receptionist desk when I discovered “One Sheep” — reading it again and again while marveling how well she captured a sentiment I think nearly everyone can relate to.

Below is a scan of the poem, as originally published, followed by a recording of me reading it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

One Sheep

God, I don't know how to start
or what to say.
I do not know the language of a formal prayer
so long it's been since my heart felt the urge to pray,
so long I've made believe no need to pray was there.
But, God, somehow I don't believe You are the kind
to hold a grudge for what I have or haven't done,
and if I just start praying I know You won't mind
or worry much about the way my prayer's begun.
It's over. I've been wrong and I'm not going to make
a lot of fancy promises that may not last,
a lot of crazy vows I'm weak enough to break.
You see, I have discovered mem'ries can be short,
and even tho right now my feet are on the ground,
it's hard to keep them there, so much comes to distort
my sense of values and to twist my views around.
I don't know yet if I can find the way to You,
I am afraid I'm apt to falter now and then,
but I will do the most that anyone can do,
if You'll have patience, honest, God, I'll try! Amen.

Verse by: Kathryn Kay

One Sheep. All rights Reserved. Copyright 1941, 1997, 2019.

Disempowerment 101

The 2016 election caused a bit of a social kerfuffle in the US.

Uncounted conversations with friends in the aftermath led me to this write this poem:

DISEMPOWERMENT 101

by: Sheralyn Pratt

It is old wisdom
that the way to weaken a people
is to get them to think
outside their sphere of influence.
If it’s beyond their horizon,
it is but a play on a stage.
Spectators can watch
but they hold no true sway.
They can only cheer
or speak outrage
to claims and hearsay
—hands tied,
thoughts bound
to a place far away—
until those far-away thoughts
disrupt their own day-to-day.
This is no accident.
It is all a design
to train the masses
to have impotent minds.
For unempowered souls are easily led
and when the 99 feel helpless…
well, you know what comes next.
The good news is
returning to power
is a flip of a switch.
Every animal does it—
it’s that easy to fix:
Tend to your sphere
and all you can touch.
See to its care
and make it top-notch.
Then, perhaps, if a call
leads you to go far-and-wide,
you can go,
you can give,
and improve what you find.

Here the poem is as a shareable image:

It is old wisdom 
that the way to weaken a people
is to get them to think
outside their sphere of influence.
If it’s beyond their horizon, 
it is but a play on a stage.
Spectators can watch
but they hold no true sway.
They can only cheer 
or speak outrage
to claims and hearsay
—hands tied,
thoughts bound
to a place far away—
until those far-away thoughts 
disrupt their own day-to-day.
This is no accident.
It is all a design
to train the masses
to have impotent minds.
For unempowered souls are easily led
and when the 99 feel helpless…
well, you know what comes next.
The good news is
returning to power 
is a flip of a switch. 
Every animal does it—
it’s that easy to fix:
Tend to your sphere 
and all you can touch. 
See to its care 
and make it top-notch. 
Then, perhaps, if a call 
leads you to go far-and-wide, 
you can go, 
you can give, 
and improve what you find.

Disempowerment 101: Copyright, Sheralyn Pratt 2019

Talking Poetry

Ask anyone who’s known me all my life and they’ll attest to the fact that I have never self-identified as a poet.

Yet as I get to know the fictional characters I write for, I find myself describing their POVs (points of view) in poetic fashion.

Or, as I like to call it: Poetisophical™ — philosophical bedrock that allows you to deduce the state of heart.

This is a little different than traditional poetry, in my opinion. Maybe it’s actually poetry upside-down.

Poetry is known for its invitation to sit for a moment in someone else’s experience. Good poetry inspires sympathy or empathy in the listener — transporting them into a vicarious experience that allows them to see something in a new way.

My “poetisophical” poetry is a bit different in that the genesis is often the motives of fictional characters in a story. They might be the good guy, they might be the bad guy, or they might be some form of chaotic neutral in the middle.

But they have their points of view and their motives, and the poems I write often speak to the bedrock of their character.

Then, to beat the character in the story, you must beat their bedrock.

Here’s one such poetisophical poem that has most people split 50/50 on loving it and hating it.

What do you think?

CHASING DOGMA

By: Sheralyn Pratt

A truth
becomes a lie
the moment it arrives.
For truth cannot be stopped
—sometimes it is,
sometimes it’s not—
it holds its space
and plays its part
but holding still
is not its art.
For truth is on the move, you see,
it has things to prove
and places to be.
So if you spot it once
and proudly mark its plot,
remember this:
 truth cannot be caught.

Like the poem? Here it is in a shareable image:

A truth
becomes a lie 
the moment it arrives. 
For truth cannot be stopped
—sometimes it is, 
sometimes it’s not—
it holds its space 
and plays its part 
but holding still 
is not its art.
For truth is on the move, you see, 
it has things to prove 
and places to be. 
So if you spot it once 
and proudly mark its plot, 
remember this:
 truth cannot be caught.

Copyright: Sheralyn Pratt

Like it? Hate it? Start a conversation.

Chasing Dogma, Copyright Sheralyn Pratt 2019