Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Poem of the Week

I'm not sure why I'm sharing this poem. It was written in 1969 when I was twenty-one or 22. I hadn't looked at it in a long time. I guess maybe I'm sharing it because I still feel most of these things 40 years later. Little did I know in 1969 that things would just get worse and worse and worse and the days when I wrote these words would seem like the good old days. Boy. Now, I'm depressed. But I'm sharing it anyway. The little picture at the left is how I looked in my naive optimistic days in 1969.


I am young and do not know enough to write a long poem
I do not understand the evils that men do
That they see each other only cruelly
And thereby justify their own injustices
I do not understand why cages are so necessary
To protect us from each other
Or why, locked in those cages
We put on masks to keep back even those we trust
At the same time pleading to be loved
I do not understand what I can do in so big a world
Where we are all crowded so far apart
And where we talk, not to each other,
But to audiences, and majorities, and minorities
Where awareness and humanity are catch-phrased out for us
By mass media and men with charisma
I do not know what I can do
And I do not understand why even though I don't believe in fear
I sometimes feel it surging up inside me
So that I want to run and hide, to get away
I do not understand that I am useless
In a world that has so many problems left to solve
Yet I have no solutions
Easy answers, yes,
But I am just old enough not to believe them
And just young enough to still have hope
But still in all, I do not understand why fear can conquer trust
Or greed abolish dreams
And so I am too young to write a long poem
Which ought to have answers.

- Katherine E. Rabenau


Kim said...

I love it!

the teach said...

You speak from your heart, Katherine! You are very brave and a wonderful person. I hope you don't mind me saying that, don't be embarrassed!

Thanks for commenting on my niece's photo. She's so pretty isn't she? I won't be around until Sunday but I wish you Happy 4th of July and a couple of things are being posted automatically on my blog. :)

Carletta said...

Raven this is a wonderful poem. I see your talent for writing goes back a very long way.
Your poems are always so expressive.Like The Teach said, you speak from your heart. Many of the questions you ask in your poem are timeless and that makes it as relevent today as it was in 1969.
I love your work!

Jim said...

Hi Raven, this is a wonderful insight to the thinking of one young women. Later in life you have still don't have the answers, do you? I sure don't.
In fact I was going to 'run away' for a couple of weeks a few years ago at a traumatic birthday time.
It turned out I did run away, but with the two in my life I loved most, my wife and youngest daughter.
Karen was running the NYC Marathon and invited Mrs. Jim and me to go along. It was wonderful. And I did run away, but was not by myself.
It is also wonderful that you still have this poem. Guys, at least ones like me, have lost their earlier writings.

Odat said...

Wow...So insightful for someone so young. What a cute picture too.....full of what i see.


Raven said...

Hi everyone...

Thanks Kim... it's so good to have you back in the bloggerhood.

Maryt - I soak up compliments like a starving woman. I'm actually starting to be able to receive them without condemning myself for pride and vanity. So even though I do get a little embarrassed, your kind compliments are also helping heal deep wounds in my spirit. Thank you.

carletta - thank you so much... I have such respect for you and your gifts that your generous words - and the fact that you visit every day - means a great deal to me.

jim - hi! Nice to meet you. Glad you ran away with people you love. Seems more like you ran TO than away in the end. It is strange to me that I still hold these same questions now and feel more frustrated that I can't answer them. A lot of my earlier poetry - was lost. Long sad story about my mother scolding me for having two copies of everything... so I got rid of all the duplicates, then got infatuated with an older man at my first job and gave him the whole collection to read. He lost it. There was one very silly one in there that I've always wished I could recreate.

On the subject of birthdays - funny how some are more traumatic than others. I had a hard time with 33, 40 and for some reason am not keen on the idea of being 61 which will irrevocably happen despite my resistance a week from today.

Ok... I'll stop. This comment is longer than my post. Just one more thing. I think really nice compliments make me write long, wordy responses... sort of being flustered in type.

Anyway... thank you all. Funny thing is, probably nobody will come back and read this since I'm not a very loyal responder to comments. Ok... now I'm going to stop and post this. Have a nice day. THanks for your kind words everyone.

Raven said...

Hi odat - while I was writing my mini novel response to the others, you snuck your comment in. Thanks so much. I probably was full of hope. I think you have hit on what bothers me about how this poem makes me feel now. I think I wrote it with hope under the despair, but now I read it with a sense that maybe there is no hope. Except I don't believe that. There's always hope. We are at low ebb now - time for the tide to rise and bring in new life and healing energy.

WillThink4Wine said...

Love the pig-tails! Your insight at such a yound age is amazing. We're all still looking for those answers, I'm afraid.

Akelamalu said...

Your talent is evident in that poem - I love it, and the photograph of you.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Raven! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my poetry! I'm blushing now from your compliments. =) Thank you! I'm glad you like my writing!
I love this poem you wrote. It's not naive at all! Many of the same issues from yesteryear are still unresolved today. Thanks for sharing this awesome poem!!!


your words still ring true even now - 40 years on, it is hard to believe that the world hasn't changed

Michael Manning said...

Hey, I LOVED this! Man, can you write!!!!!! :)

Luiz Ramos said...

"Yet I have no solutions
Easy answers, yes,
But I am just old enough not to believe them
And just young enough to still have hope"


Dianne said...

you're still young enough! and always will be. I can't believe how wise you were at 22. I was saying crap like cool and groovy. remember groovy!?

you always amaze me raven, always.

The Texican said...

(applause coming from south Texas) I am about your age and I pulled out an old anthology of student writings from 1968 and re-read them the other day. They were full of the sentiment of the late sixties and youthful questioning of things happening then. I remember those sentiments and the feelings that were prevalent then, but years of reality have made me realize that man does the same things over and over in every generation. As one poet to another, great job. Pappy

Linda Reeder said...

I am just a few years older than you, but I know that in 1969 I could not have written such a poem, would not have had the awareness or the skill. But it still rings so true today, and it expresses many of the feelings I have now.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This one really touched me, Katherine. Thanks for keeping it and for sharing it. One of my greatest regrets is that I threw out most of my early poetry and prose during one of my periods of upheaval.
Do you still believe that poetry should hold answers? I certainly believe that poetry can provoke us to seek answers.
Lovely work.

Linda - Nickers and Ink said...

Recalling that young, world-beater feeling.

Well done.