Scorched Earth

I say ‘I don’t know’ to all of the above.

Not knowing – or telling you that I don’t –

erects walls and

stops me from crawling inside and

means that I don’t have to search and

find that there is nothing there;

because that would mean

I am merely a collection of bones –

skin stretched over and

wrapped around thin air.

Perhaps I am a vaccuum.

Perhaps I am strong

because I haven’t imploded under the pressure

of emptiness;

because I haven’t scratched myself raw;

because I haven’t sucked my bones dry.

Perhaps there is more to me than I think.

Perhaps I’ll know then,

what that moment feels like.



This week, on dVerse Poetics, Marina Sofia has asked to write poetry about our identities, and has pointed us in the direction of Bhanu Kapil’s book ‘The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers’.

Ugh. Tricky. We are always changing, going through transitions of one kind or another, but after seeing Bjorn’s helpful early morning post and poem on this, I was determined that I’d not be taking part today. As you can see, I changed my mind…

In short, I haven’t got a bloody clue who I am and today, I don’t feel wonderful about that fact. As you can probably tell from my offering above. Tomorrow, it will probably sit better with me.

Marina Sofia asked us to look at four questions in particular:

1) Who are you and whom do you love?

2) What else are you, that no one has seen before?

3) Describe a morning you woke without fear.

4) What lingers when all is said and done?

I hope you enjoy my piece – please do visit dVerse to read the wonderful poems form our diverse, dVerse community!



47 thoughts on “Scorched Earth

  1. ha. that is part of the fun is exploring who you are…it may surprise you…and i am glad we dont have to stay the same but can change…i think that is richness and gives depth to us…the fear is real though in what you might find…and emptiness is not always a bad thing…

    1. Yes, it’s all about perspective isn’t it, and what mood you are in when you lift the lid on ‘you’. I too wouldn’t want to be the same as I was. I guess not knowing does allow me to start from scratch… 🙂

  2. Of course there is more to you than you think. Although, I must admit,that, sometimes it is very hard to go beyond the feelings that overwhelm us and prevent us from seeing the real us.

  3. i think there is always more than we think and dare dream… exploring ourselves is one of the most adventurous things i can think of..smiles

  4. The courage come and go.. we usually know more about something about ourselves.. and there are always things we wish for and want to do.. but there is a danger in exploring ourselves. After I had written my little ditty, I wrote the darkest poem I think I ever written…

    1. I saw your dark poem, Bjorn. It’s not your usual style – more mine!

      I agree – the courage does come and go – sometimes, it can be tough when the courage disappears for a while…

    1. That’s a good point – and the risk involved in revealing the real us to others does take my breath away – that’s where the courage lies, I think, in being vulnerable. Thank you, Anthony.

  5. Love the unfolding epiphany in all those ‘because’ lines. I guess walls are both safe and scary at the same time. Terrific title.

    1. Indeed they are. I don’t like building those walls, to be honest, especially between me and others, but sometimes I sleepwalk into the same old behaviour… Thank you, Linda.

  6. Each individual atom of our Self, is mostly emptiness, the nucleus like a pea in a football stadium; yet we perceive, we dream of mass, and through strengths undiscovered, hidden, we construct worlds, galaxies, universes; as poets we are embedded with the warriors, reporting on the strife without & within. I can already see the light in your tomorrow.

    1. That’s a great way to see it – being embedded with the warriors. To be honest, I feel that I write better, or in a way more true to what is ‘me’, when I am on the dark side. Sure, I can write in a frivolous way, but it’s not my preferred way of expressing myself. I’m glad you can see the light – I do feel like I am inches away from ‘it’ – I just need to dig a bit more!

  7. i suppose some of the darkest moments of my life..are the times when i tried to micromanage an understanding of what i am at a detailed level of parts as such…

    i would rather be than know the details now..

    The picture is only now..the rest can take care of itself..

    Now is enough for me..

    The past and future..almost killed me after all..

    Now is almost harmless as far as i see knowNOW…

    which is a limit i take..

    TG for granted now..
    finAlly NOW…:)

  8. I think that there is more to the speaker than she imagines. These are not the questions or reflections of someone who is not brave. Haunting, sweet, and sad write. Excellent job Freya! Hugs.

      1. I agree. Flat is good for tabletops, but not necessarily people.

  9. this is fun to discover our identity…the journey is amazing….I love how you begin and close..
    the line “Perhaps there is more to me than I think” rings so much truth…

  10. It is hard to know ourselves… we lie, deceive, make excuses, embellish and wrongly judge ourselves, but it is a meaningful and important pursuit to try. Honestly is the first step… well done

  11. These answers – if there are any – change all the time. I am not the person I was this morning. But I agree, it is scary to look inside: I think that’s why most people keep themselves so busy, are constantly checking their iPhones, emails, Facebook – so that they don’t have to look at themselves too closely.
    Thank you very much for taking part, Freya – this is such an honest, heartfelt response. As someone who has suffered from depression (don’t know why I’m using the past tense here, but still…), I know these questions can provoke anger at times.

    1. Yes, we fill our time with all of these distractions, and it just stops us thinking… hmm, ‘television, drug of the nation’!

      Thank you for the prompt – it was cathartic, actually, to take part. I do feel that things happen for a reason – so I was obviously meant to take a look and express what’s been on my mind. As for depression – yes, I understand.

  12. I suspect that most of us worry that we are just skin wrapped around bones with no true substance…I think, though, that your poetry reveals that you are a heck of a lot more than mere flesh and bone. Wonderfully introspective piece.

    1. Thank you so much, Bryan. I’ve been pondering a lot lately on what life is all about – you know, the small questions… This introspection is all part of that.

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