Within What You Endure

You have likely read the columns recognizing that T’s mental and emotional development is that of a seven year old. That did it for me.

It’s reached the point where my concern for the republic has turned into resentment that I have to be concerned for the republic. I want to be concerned for what matters in my world: wife, daughter, friends, family, dog, cat, the annuals I planted last week, my Pittsburgh Penguins. You know that’s what matters–our worlds, governed by our love.

Trouble is that this week all the recent disclosures plus the overload of various activists asking for my 876th signature and accosting me for not pledging a mere $25 to their 876 causes sent me into one helluva dark place, and I ended up displaying a similar infantile rant at those who in no way deserve to witness or be bombarded by little boy Jack. What I needed was a time out.

Within What You Endure

Beneath the quilt you lie
still in the chronic morning

light, eyes on the ceiling’s blank
canvas. You paint your father

in a dark blue shirt kneeling
in his garden, you sitting small

beside him, he handing you
his trowel and a seedling,

as if to say, “You plant this one.”
And you imagine you do. Then

you paint your own house
half-built at the foot of a gentle

rise within the quiet landscape
of a stagger of pines higher

than the roof. The sun is half way
up. You put down your brush,

and welcome the day, your day
spreading out into its question.

-Jack Ridl

Published in Third Wednesday and Poet Lore

30 thoughts on “Within What You Endure

  1. Great question…how will I paint my day? Reading about the seven-year-old, or something else? Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Man, it means a lot to this ole scribbler to know a poem entered that great good heart
      of yours and also rocked your world in the way we hope. Hey, we gotta get together!

  2. Beauteous – Jack poems are always an antidote to indignity. And, I sure feel connected to the world when I hear of others who need a time out too. Just so ya know – the music, tone, quality of your poems help a lot.

    • Wow! And antidote to indignity–can you know what that means to me?!!!! Oh my. Thank ye!
      You are always, ALWAYS, one who sees within the poem what it is trying to “do,” or heal or
      touch or whatever it’s trying to do. And you hear the music and tone and how I try to
      have it fit the language and that’s what you do masterfully and movingly and I am
      soooo grateful for my dear pal. Remember in school when the music was the first
      thing taken from us with poetry? That’s what we so need to hear, the music, the tones.
      Thank youuuuuuu

  3. Loved the poem but also loved what you said in your comments. I feel so strongly about so many issues and then they all ask for money and more money and more…then the guilt sets in! Thanks Jack!

    • Yeah! My gawd! Can you imagine our having to dish out our cash for something that never should have happened.
      I want mine going to create good not expunge this madman. Sigh.
      Thank you for letting me know that this project matters in personal ways. That’s what I hope and hope
      and hope can happen.
      Breathe! NO GUILT!

    • Vivian,
      Thank you for your gratitude. It helps keep me from dreading facing another late Wednesday evening! : )
      If I am helping you breathe, I am gratified. Anything good to keep us walking on.

  4. Good Morning Jack,
    No matter what, your poems take me back to everything that matters. I keep going back. Especially to the love.
    One by one I savor them. I am able to take them in more fully one by one, and within the context you are sending them. I know this must be very hard to do, but please keep them coming!
    I’m attaching an article about the importance of ‘norms’ . I suppose it states the obvious, but I thought you might find it useful.
    (Today is my little butterfly’s 6th birthday🦋and the day she made me a Mother. Onward to stir together carrot cake for tomorrow’s party!)XO Dawn

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Dawn, I have always believed that a birthday should be a double celebration: offspring and mother. And actually a threesome: dad, too.
      But especially mom.
      Please know that your telling me that what I’m trying to do matters lifts this spirit, keeps me believing in the project. I never can
      quite grasp that my scribblings can be helpful, emotionally useful. So hearing this from you enables me to take a breath and believe.
      For you to recognize that, yes, it IS hard to do really moved me. Thank you so much for seeing that. But of course YOU would
      recognize that side of it!

      Now—–Here’s a magical happy birthday to that magical butterfly. Oh how we adore her. Be sure to tell her that the magic beans are
      thriving and any day now this Jack is gonna be climbing the beanstalk to visit with the giant!!

  5. Best thing I ever did as a mom of 4 young children was put myself in a time out. I announced it to my crew and they immediately went into someone-is-in-time-out-so-we-must-be-quiet-so-they-can-rest-their-mind mode. FB is my only news source (unless I am intentionally hunting) and I frequently must take breaks from it in order to remember to breathe. Never on Thursdays though–bless you and your poems!

    • Meg, what a loving story this is. What a great good thing it would be if we all
      as parents learned this from you way back when. Hey, it’s not too late.
      Breathe. Yes yes yes, breathe. Julie reminded us yesterday to “Breathe. We
      are going to be upset, so we must breathe.”
      It helps me so much to know that what I’m doing is “worth it after all.”

  6. We all need a time-out, a time-over, a time-inside, a time-up…hell, let’s just say it, we all need and want more time. Especially to read more Jack poems (my new name for your poems). Jack me up, Jack Ridl. Thanks for providing a little sanity in an otherwise improbable and dangerous world.

    • Dave, do you know what this means to me? Do you know what you mean to me.
      I always wanted a brother. And there you have been, all along.
      And you know too that we all need Dave poems; we sure do.

    • Thank thee! And today I learned that psychology says the age is actually five !!
      We are sooooo hoping to get to hang out with you cherished souls.

    • Ohhhhh amen to that. And I’m so glad for your response, Beth. It is the kind of poem
      that your sensibility would enter and open out! Thank you. So very much!

  7. Thank you, Jack. Lovely and thoughtful. ❤

    I differ slightly in the assessment of 45's developmental age, put forward I believe by David Brooks. Seven is too old. Ego-centricity more closely resembles a 5 year old but the narcissistic wounding happened earlier than that.

    • Ahhhh. Good to have the facts. They are rare! Five. Yes.
      Thanks for your thanks and kind words. Very much.
      And wishing you many lovely moments. Big hi/hug to Bailey!!!

    • So good to know, Donna, when we are not alone when these things invade us.
      Thanks for letting me know. To know I’m a tiny bit helpful keeps me and
      this project going.

  8. The perfect timing of this post and your poem can only be seen in the light of Divine Order. Thank you for the words that brought me back to center in this moment.

    • Thank YOU, for telling me that the post was this helpful. When I learn this kind of
      thing, it sure helps me keep going and believe it matters.
      So appreciative!

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