New Poem

To Do’s Undone

Because the rain is unrelenting
Because our neighborhood is built over a stream
Because this much water has nowhere else to go
but inside, uprooting us from our foundations,
all I can think of is my To Do list undone,
pinned under the smiling faces
of a refrigerator photo magnet.
The milk and apples
unbought at the market,
The toys strewn on the floor
unput away from today’s play
not to be played with tomorrow.
Think of the poetry book as yet unread,
the stiff pages that will not reveal
an almost circle—
a half smile
drawn on the chapter opener
in orange crayon.
The cross outs and strikethroughs
the second thoughts and changes of mind,
not to mention the unsaid—can’t
say enough about the unsaid.
No day is promised. No guarantees here.
No one to tell the untold story about
the stream under the house, the high
water table, the coolness of rocks,
the certain disbelief, the murky possibilities,
the hole in the floor where the sump pump sits,
the sound of water draining out of the basement
that keeps us unsettled and listening.

Copyright 2006 January G. O'Neil


Alex said…
Lovely poem Jan. I especially like the line " all I can think of is my To Do list undone." I hope you guys are drying up over there.
liz elayne said…
i love how this poem is accessible and beautifully creative at the same time. poems like this are why i started reading poetry...the words resonate...

thanks for sharing your own words today.
I agree...the layering you do here is very evocative. The "done" and the "undone"--the "said" and the "unsaid"...the poem has a body and moves in both light and shadow. I love this.
Lynn said…
This is wonderful. I love all the detail, and the things you leave unsaid but can't say enough about.
Susannah said…
ooh i loved this, you could have been describing my day - the unsaid, the unwritten., wonderful. i'm so glad to have found your blog, will be back again
jim said…
Really wonderful, and the last half of the poem especially takes me to new ground. Thank you.
January said…
Thanks for the comments. That means a lot considering how new the poem is. Can't wait to read your blogs.
paris parfait said…
I can identify with the unread, unsaid, cross-outs and strike-throughs. Lovely poem!
chiefbiscuit said…
I could get used to reading your poetry! Fantastic. Love the voice in your poems.
Jennifer said…
more good stuff, so glad you are sharing with us...
bb said…
These are the thoughts that keep me awake at night! Eloquently expressed with a beautiful rhythm. Thanks for sharing.
J.Valentine said…
I love the line about the sump pump keeping you unsettled...I love the simplicities and complexities at the same moment...and I too, can relate to the to do list. I am a mother to 5!
Deb R said…
Your poem is very unsettling (in a good way). I love the part about not being able to say enough about the unsaid. Yes!

Hope you and your family are ok amidst all that flooding.
January said…
It seems like every time we dry out a bit, it rains again. I'm so over May--bring on summer!
Soulless said…
No day is promised. No guarantees here.

That line, together with the last seven lines... how apt an illustration of how wisdom and remarkable ability in handling words can so meld in poetry. ^_^ I echo the sentiments of the previous comments. You have a gift. Thank you for sharing it. ^_^
January said…
Thank you. Maybe it shows but the last lines of the poem were the easiest to write.

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