The day seven poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenge was for me to list my different layers of identity (son, father, grand and step-grandparent, retiree, white male, septuagenarian, poet/writer, hippie, etc.) — ways I could be described. Per the prompt, I divided those identities into two lists: what makes me feel powerful; and what makes me feel vulnerable.
I wrote a poem in which one of the identities from the first list (man) contends or talks with an identity from the second list (sensitive man). This poem reflects the doubt seemingly inherent in that conflict.
A Pocket Full of Doubt
Walk tall and proud to be our one man
Carry strong your body, mind, and be of good spirit
Hold on to what’s yours as tight as you can
To be a man, my son, inside you can’t feel it.
It ain’t me. It ain’t me. But a man I must be.
Stand honest and truthful, be a real man
Sense love and sadness and touch with your soul
Let go of yourself, as alone you must stand
Into the soul of men, you must never there go.
Can’t you see? It just ain’t me. Like so, a man I can never be.
So, of two minds you continue to fight?
Two spirits, one soul we continue to see
Where is the truth to set this man right?
Conflicted as such, you’ll never agree.
Let you be the man. The one we can see.
…….A man such as this can never be free.
(Bill Reynolds, 4/7/2018)
Look both ways if you’re of two minds.
In the gaps lie the answers, so mind what you find.
Click link to National Poetry Writing Month
4 thoughts on “Poetry — NaPoWriMo: A Pocket Full of Doubt”
Interesting concept for a poem. I like how you show the two parts of yourself in conflict. A conflict we can all relate to. Well done😊
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Thank you, Sue.
This breaks my heart. If only mothers had the power to defeat the societal messages of masculinity, the power to address the whole manchild even after that manchild goes into the world. If only fathers had the power, the courage to model real human response to their children of both genders. Through experience and modeling the future would be a far, far better place if every child could be himself. You touched a sore spot, Bill. Well done. Live the life you love, be the man you want to be, and teach your grandchildren to do the same. 🤗
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Thanks, Maryann. I hope all is well with you and yours.