Monday, October 28, 2013

The Freedom That Follows Disappointment


I was feeling pretty religious
standing on the bridge in my winter coat
looking down at the gray water:
the sharp little waves dusted with snow,
fish in their tin armor.

That's what I like about disappointment:
the way it slows you down,
when the querulous insistent chatter of desire
             goes dead calm

and the minor roadside flowers
pronounce their quiet colors,
and the red dirt of the hillside glows.

She played the flute, he played the fiddle
and the moon came up over the barn.
Then he didn't get the job, —
or her father died before she told him
             that one, most important thing—

and everything got still.

It was February or October
It was July
I remember it so clear
You don't have to pursue anything ever again
It's over
You're free
You're unemployed

You just have to stand there
looking out on the water
in your trench coat of solitude
with your scarf of resignation
             lifting in the wind.

~ Tony Hoaglund


  1. The way I feel, retired. I finally became what my old man always said I would be: a lazy bum. With nothing to do. . .

    1. Retirement is a very tough adjustment to make, more so than people think it will be. Until I bought this piece of land I had too much time on my hands, and some days still have to find new ways to fill the hours. Maybe that's why I started writing more poetry, such as it is. :)

  2. I've been retired since August 31, 2003, and at age 71, my days and weeks are filled to overflowing with activity and excitement. Currently, for example, I am scanning and labeling slides from the years I owned a 35 mm SLR. I'm finally up to the end of 1983; only 20 years to go! I'm also adding limbs and leaves to my family tree, using In conjunction with my genealogizing, I'm finally getting my large trove of black-and-white family photos from the 1930s to the 1950s labeled and organized. Then there's my ongoing reading program. By my bedside is a stack of 10 books, ranging from Shelby Foote's history of the Civil War (I'm midway through volume 3), R. W. Stallman's bio of Stephen Crane, R. L. Stevenson's Kidnapped, to an omnibus of Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics. I'm also an ardent fan of classic movies and TV shows, now working my way through the first season of Star Trek (watched 'This Side of Paradise' last night) and the Bowery Boys comedies. And then there's music, music, music. This week, I will be attending concerts Tuesday night, Friday night, and Saturday night. I could go on, but suffice it to say, I don't have enough time each day to do all I want to do. Oh, and did I mention blogging? :)

    1. You do know how to fill the hours ... I've long been a fan of Shelby Foote, the man and the writer. Good choices here. Most inspiring. I had to laugh at your collection of the Furry Freak Brothers comics. When JB and I went our separate ways, neither was willing to part with the entire collection, so we split it up. Sounds almost sacrilegious now, but it kept the peace ... :) Thanks so much for this great comment!

    2. Fearguth, You are un-frickingly unbelievable.

    3. I got tired just reading about his myriad activities ... :))) it was a good kick in the butt for me ...

  3. At first, I had somewhat of a hard time retiring. I still occasionally work..maybe 10 to 15 hours a week. Now, I really don't want to even do that! But I love my friends at work and we run around, see movies and lately been getting together to play marbles??? Can you believe that? I also have my photography friends and we get up early to head out in our search for photo ops. Then there's the mini trips with granddaughter and sister. BF just bought a 5th wheel, so now maybe more trips that include him??? Been knitting too. I have a hard time reading...after all this "stuff I do", I fall asleep almost as soon as I pick up a book.

    1. Marbles! I have thought Pick-up-sticks might be fun again... :))) a fifth wheel sounds fun, too !

  4. I have been retired for five years now and find every day a joy. The fun of belonging to a community that I didn't even know existed before, going out every day and riding the bus, working out at the local Y, visiting coffee shops, reading books from the library, and, yes, blogging... very full days indeed. Love that poem, Teresa. We've all been there, too. :-)

    1. There are some disappointments in life ... I love how this poet captured what follows so perfectly.

  5. Wow. This speaks to so many possible kinds of disappointment. And as I think back, I recall three very different situations where I was trying so hard to make something work--a relationship, a volunteer gig, a job situation--and when I finally realized it was never going to work there was that sense of bitter disappointment but also relief and, eventually, the ability to take a deep breath and stop struggling. As I type this I think, is that what it's like to finally accept death?

    1. I'm so grateful for your thoughtful comment, Nancy. Yes, disappointment comes in many forms in our lives and it's wearing that scarf, as the poet suggested, that says so much about how we come to accept them. with disappointment comes an open door waiting for us to walk through it. I hope I can be as accepting of my passing as I have been of other passages.

  6. Well, I certainly wasn't disappointed when I retired -- in fact I hurried it up a bit by taking early retirement. What a joy to now be able to direct every day to my own satisfaction. -- barbara

    1. You are so good at filling the hours with such interesting activity. I so enjoyed your visits to the back roads of Kentucky. And now you have a whole new area to discover. What fun!

  7. An interesting point of view and a poem that I enjoyed reading - thank you. I love your current header photo by the way.

  8. Hi Teresa, sorry to be away so long.
    I absolutely loved this!
    I was ... there.

    Hugs and hoping you have a great Christmas my friend, I love your blog.
    Jane x

  9. Jane, it's so good to hear from you ... I hope you're well. I think of you ... sending all good wishes your way ... hugs, Teresa