Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Poem by Tom Sheehan

Artwork by James Conant

When All Your Life Goes Down

When all your life goes down
By the wayside, when the floorboards
Fall out, the walls disintegrate,
The jostled joists tear free
From every timber you’ve believed in,
Think of all the company you’ll have.

Darkness can be a broken femur, an arm
A tree fall happened to, a cousin who
Swan dived onto a lake-hidden log,
A perfect dog’s burial in the sepulcher
Of your own backyard, one young sister
Your father forgot to write a poem to
All the February of a violent storm.

Misery takes some handling, kid gloves,
Temperance of a barroom ax-smith,
One eye closing before the other.
It’s the ability to breathe uphill,
Or when the roof is coming down
Atop the last cubit of clean air
On an August afternoon of pain.

It’s not as if you are tired or empty
Or withdrawn, but now, when the chill
Air reigns over you, when the umbrella
Of darkness fills like a mushroom growing
In a sterile atmosphere, and your arms,
Usually hard as oak limbs or an old ash
They make bats from, go limp and flaccid,
When darkness monsters up like chocolate
Or corners or backstairs or scented attics
Buried under debris of sundry lives,
Think of the controversy of your success:
You are not alone in the visible realm.