It’s All the Same

Yes or no; right or wrong.
In or out; short or long–
Whether in print, or online,
Or spoken aloud, or in my mind–

It’s all the same, only different in name.

You’re with them or against us,
You’re a liar or you did what you must.
We have two teams–for everything–
Everything! A side to pick; an anthem to sing.

It’s all the same, different only in name.

Choose where you stand and plant your flag,
Keep your heart strong, don’t let your head drag.
An opinion is yours, it cannot be changed
Admitting defeat is the worst kind of rage.

It’s all the same, different only in name.

So many ways to divide ourselves,
Ways to sort, and to order and to shelve–
And now the lines we’ve made we cannot sway:
I just wish I’d find a shade of gray.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

Rowdy Little Boys

Dirt on jeans and mud between toes
And scrapes now patched with blackened scabs
Are souveniers of time well spent.

Toothy grins and smudged cheeks
And hair sticking up in all directions
Are simply life for these rowdy little boys.

Rolling eyes and constant shushing
Don’t mean much and won’t douse
The mischeivious glint in their eyes.

They’re too busy having fun–
Too busy making the memories that will
Fill their hearts in years to come.

One day–sooner than they know–they’ll be men.
But now, they just have scabs and mud,
Mischief and untidy hair.

And thank God for that.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

The Dream of a Long, Long Drive

“Just take off and go for a long, long drive,”
He mutters to himself alone one night.
Just pack all you will need and leave the rest–
Leave the no’s you’ve been collecting
Like butterflies perserved in glass.
Leave the doubts and the regrets
And just get in the car and go.
And go… and go… and go….
And maybe one day come back.
Or maybe not.
Maybe find somewhere new
And collect new no’s and doubts and regrets
And when those get too heavy,
Drive away again.
Just drive.
Just leave.
Again.

“Just take off and go for a long, long drive,”
He repeats, almost rising from the bed–
Just start a life of leaving piles of the past
Dotted here and there along the highway,
In different small towns or crowded city corners,
Like a bee leaving pollen, from one plant to the next.

“Just take off and go for a long, long drive,”
He whispers one last time
Before closing his eyes and trying to sleep,
Staying.
Because of course he’s staying.
But he can dream of a life
Where no’s, and doubts, and regrets
Really do stay behind,
Rather than worming their way inside of you,
Burrowing into your heart.
Stuck.
No matter where you go. Or how far you drive.

“A long, long drive…” he mutters one last time
Before finally falling asleep.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

The Rules for Adults

Why is it that we tell children to play nice?
To be respectful?
To say please, and thank you,
And to think of others?

But once we grow into adults,
We don’t have to follow the rules?
We can yell at employee,
Or post a nasty comment,
Or push our way to the front of the line?

Why do we shrug off rudeness with:
“The customer is always right;”
Or event “It’s just not worth the fight?”

Why do we hold children to higher standards
Than we hold ourselves?
And then expect the next generation
To make our world better?

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

Why Should We Be Nice?

“Why should we be nice?”
His daughter asked
As the evening news played
Yet another story of violence,
Of dissent, of anything but “nice.”

He didn’t know how to respond.
Why should we be nice?
If everyone else was going to fight,
Or demean, or argue…
Then why should we be nice?

She was waiting for an answer.
He didn’t have one.
If everyone else–
He paused.
If everyone else wasn’t, then….

“Because they aren’t,” he said.
“When others aren’t nice
Then it means even more
That we be nice in their place.”

And she accepted that:

A simple answer to a question

That was anything but.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

“Sorry”

If I could see Sorry for what he is–
If I could unmask his delicate ruse–
Would I discover his loving caress?
Or fragile bones too feeble to use?
Does Sorry convey the deepest regret,
Dressed as a mourner in funeral dance?
Is Sorry sweet honey for aching distress
Who whispers at every possible chance?
Is Sorry a lover? Is he a sham?
He’s spoken so often, or never at all–
Is he the weakness for which we’re all damned?
Or does it take strength to answer his call?
Sorry, himself, waits mutely alone
Speaking forever, or silent as stone.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

The Crow and the Sun

Why are crows always drawn to shiny things?

He asks himself as he watches her,

Knowing that she will never see him.

She is light and laughter;

She is destined to shine in the sun,

To claim her place in the daylight.

He is not.

He is darkness and heavy metal

And poems written in black ink.

He doesn’t know why he is drawn to her;

They’re so different, and yet….

And yet.

Why are crows always drawn to shiny things?

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

I Always Said No

I always said no.
Never yes.

To the speed dating,
And the ghost hunt,
And the hike,
And a million other
Opportunities,
A million other times
My best friend asked,
“Do you want to go?”

I always said no,
Never yes.

And I would stay in the dorm,
As he went out,
Laughing and joking
With others more adventerous.
Others who were better
Than the shy kid
Who preferred his computer.

I always said no,
Never yes.

And now he’s gone.
And only a grave remains,
And an obit in the paper.
Rock that will crumble.
Paper that will yellow.
And both will fade
Like the memory of a friend
Who always said yes.

I always said no,
Never yes.

That changes today.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

Giving Some Credit to Inspiration

I’ve been a little bit busy here lately (the aforementioned, you’re-probably-tired-of-hearing-it Summer Reading), so I don’t have a poem quite ready for this week. But I thought I’d try something a little different: Today, I’m going to share some of the words that have inspired me. For me, music plays a huge role, especially when it comes to poetry. Here are just a few lyrics from songs that helped me find the poet in me. In short: These are all moments in songs that made me go: “Whoa… words can do that.”

“You can go through motions with your magic spells/ Buy all the potions that Fifth Avenue sells/You can try to call down all the stars above/But you can’t make love.” — Don Henley, “You Can’t Make Love”


“People speak of love, don’t know what they’re thinking of/Wait around for the one who fits just like a glove/Speak in terms of a life and a living/Try to find the word for forgiving.”–Jackson Brown, “The Shape of a Heart”


“Oh, life’s a maze of doors and they all open from the side you’re on/ Just keep on pushing hard, boy, try as you may, you’re gonna wind up where you started from.”–Cat Stevens, “Sitting”


“And it comes to you how it all slips away/Youth and beauty are gone one day/No matter what you dream, or feel, or say/It ends in dust and disarray/Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass/Waves rolling in with the tide/Dreams die hard and we watch them erode/But we cannot be denied/The fire inside.”–Bob Seger, “The Fire Inside”


“Don’t you hear my call though you’re many years away?/Don’t you hear me calling you?/Write your letters in the sand for the day I take your hand in the land that our grandchildren knew.”–Queen, “’39”


“I’ve really learned a lot, I’ve really learned a lot/Love is like a flame/It burns you when it’s hot/Love hurts.”–Nazareth, “Love Hurts”


“Walked out this morning/Don’t believe what I saw/A hundred million bottles/Washed up on the shore/Seems I’m not alone in being alone/A hundred million castaways looking for a home.”–The Police, “Message in a Bottle”


“If everything is nothing, then are we anything?/Is it better to be better than to be anything?”–Counting Crows, “Einstein on a Beach”


“I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good.”–Pearl Jam, “Wish List”


“Now I think I know/What you tried to say to me/And how you suffered for your sanity/How you tried to set them free/They would not listen, they’re not listening still/Perhaps they never will.”–Don McLean, “Vincent”

Do you have any lyrics that really connect with you? I’d love to hear them!

Welcome to the Real World

“Welcome to the Real World, can I take your order?

Oh, I’m sorry, we’re fresh out of easy.

No, I’m sorry. We’re out of relaxing too.

Yes, we do have fun, but I’m afraid not much.

You could get a small order of that

With a side of responsibility.”

You never know how childlike you are

Until you become a full-fledged,

On-your-own, no-turning-back-now,

Everything-is-up-to-you

Adult.”

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021