Messages After Midnight

© 2023, Sheralyn Pratt. All rights reserved.

book cover: Messages After Midnight, by Sheralyn Pratt

My mom always said,
“Nothing good ever happens when you
venture out after midnight.”

And my grandma liked to say,
“Poems often arrive like leaves on a breeze –
fully formed and ready to catch
if you happen to have a pen and paper on hand
to jot them down before they move on.”

Being a rebel, I challenged both their claims
and learned that, in life, midnights are relative
but poems passing through do, indeed, fade.

I found that all truth is experienced
and it’s not that people mean to lie,
it’s that what’s true for one is not true for all
and our “truth” is our vibe.
And my vibe is – whether true for you, or not –
to sit beneath the moon, pen in hand,
and write the poems that blow through after midnight.


Respect the journey and all of its players
Seek excellence and joy in all of their flavors
Limit regret by choosing love over fear
Do what you love and let others choose what they will
Play the game in a way that invites others to join you
Release hoarding instincts and retain only what serves you
Receive, sow, reap, repeat:
This is the path of a life that is sweet.


Wisdom never talks down.


The secret of life is
to escalate everything until
you are moving in pace with space and time
like a river that’s flowing,
like a tree that is growing,
or like a free verse that accidentally rhymes.


You must release something
before you can receive it.


There is room enough
in this universe
for your will to be etched
on the walls of time,
yet this begs the question:
What is your will?
And what are the etchings you’ll leave behind,
either by happenstance or grand design?


Take up space today.
Don’t get out of the way for anyone.
You’re not background music,
you are the solo.
Fill the room with your melody
and make the world your YOLO.


If you can give, give;
if you cannot, do not.
This is the law of fair flow—
for there is enough for all to thrive
so long as the few resist
the temptation to have it all.


Remember: Being joyful and brave
is always an option
as is being a pearl-clutching shut-in.
Whatever your mood, choose thy vibes wisely
for they are your footprints in the universe.


To worry
is to pre-suppose
a negative consequence—
to anticipate a harm…
to watch for it—
pouncing on its appearance,
thereby snapping the trap
and forcing fears to become real
by way of obsessive reactions
to what otherwise might have passed by
harming none.


Pay attention to those
who find you
when you’re lost;
they are life’s messengers.


Never get so lost in what is
that you forget what could be
beyond the fog of “reality.”


You are the starry-eyed child of chaos
—a dream that has yet to come true,
otherwise, you would not be here
feeling the rumblings of chaos within you.
For this is the place where dreams come to try
—where spirits are tested and bested and proved—
this is the space where your vision can thrive
if your vision stays true and your heart has the drive.


The question is not:
Who are you?
The question is:
Who would you like to become?
The purpose of life is not to be who you are
but to find out who you can be
when you start where you are
and build up what you dream.


Loneliness is holding onto
that which has let you go.
Sorrow is clinging to connection
that has passed through a veil
into the unknown.
Anguish is forgetting that
for everything there is a season
and every season has its time
and that the trick of joyful living is
growing blossoms from pain’s rhymes.


Leave experiences in their proper time and
don’t carry them around like bricks in a backpack
you’ve been tasked to guard since the day of the crime.
Unpack your bag and leave things where they belong
accessible, as needed, in their proper space and time.


It’s not that I don’t want you
it’s that I only want you
and am waiting for you
to feel the same way I do.


Two wrongs may not make a right
but they often make for a great story.


Fear is worrying that you can’t
make it to the top of a mountain in a single leap;
courage is knowing that a path doesn’t favor the weak
as you embrace the climb to surmount an impossible feat.

MARK 9:43

Sometimes, parts of us die
and try to take the rest of us with them as they go.
In these moments, you have to decide
if you can exist without that
which seeks to make you unwhole,
or if you can shed the shell of a trauma you’ve known
to reveal the fresh skin of a new you below.


It is the way of fear
to make you feel very small and helpless
in a world of infinite possibilities.


It’s an awkward truth that
wisdom is obnoxious to those
who embrace ignorance as a source of comfort.


Love does not fear
nor can it, lest it
cease to be love and become
pity or judgment.


Never fear what is;
plan for it.


Have vision.
When the time comes for your solo,
take it.
Own it.
Lure others into your dream and
gift them with a distinct experience.
Shine so that other can join you.
Be the boost of something extra
that is distinctly you and unforgettable.


That which we hide
we amplify disproportionately
outside of time.


Stuck is a feeling.
Ready is a decision.
Progress is a commitment put into action.


You are not here to
hover in mediocrity,
nor to stall out of the gate.
When you hit rough spots
and wonder if there is any dignity
in sharing your light
or if the universe has spoken
and your time to shine must wait
for some future destiny,
remember this: there is no set future,
nor a concrete past,
there is only the present
and what you choose to make of it.


We are not here to ascend;
we are here to dive like stars
into the abyss of night
until darkness surrounds us
so we can release our light—
unveiling the unknown
by bringing it into sight.
No, we are not here to retreat
to the glory of our former homes,
but to transcend the void like adventurers
mapping paths to greater roads.
So, dive, my stars.
Descend to unconquered depths
to plant your beacons
on the path to what’s next.


All excess has a dark side.
Remember that
the next time
you tell yourself
you have to be perfect.

THEre is
no END




If you are still scrolling, there are actually two more poems, but they have f-words and I know many of my readers would prefer not to see them.

But if you’re okay with course language and adult themes, check out these two Bonus Poems: