we orphaned ourselves
poor foolish monkeys
clinging to a metal frame
searching for comfort

we caged ourselves
barcode walls and copper floors
and the endless tap tap
on the keyboard

we shrank
to fit the small space
we had made

pulled in hands
arms legs feet
eyes down
eyes turned away

we called it freedom
and said we chose it
so it must be true

but oh

reach out now

I’m reaching out
my hand to yours
my fingers tip to tip
with yours

look up
look at me
open yourself
to the world again

I’m a guest host at Earthweal this week. I’m very excited to see what poems people produce. One of the things I really love about Earthweal is the fact that the prompt is open for a week. Those prompts are slow burners, the poems need time to bubble around down there in the subconscious. I wouldn’t normally post so early, but I had a heads-up on this one…


12 thoughts on “Orphans

  1. I admit to feeling a bit anxious freeing myself from my “small place” now. We keep our neighbours in sight, in touch, watch over each other as we’re all of that “certain age” but my fingertips don’t reach far beyond that (and family of course).


    • Yes, it’s hard not to read anything with the shadow of Covid hanging over it, isn’t it? I was thinking of the contradiction between the number of ways there are to communicate and the fact that there is this loneliness epidemic running under, over, alongside the covid pandemic. We are ultimately social animals, even if we can only communicate through our fingertips on devices at the moment. That wasn’t in the poem, I just thought of it. Or maybe the shadow of that thought was in the poem and I just hadn’t made the connection yet.


      • I actually felt that “digital” connection as I read it. Sometimes spelling things out limits ones ability to add their own colours. It’s a good piece of writing.


  2. Scathing characterization of the self-actualized boxes modernity exists in and the call to find a new family. (The title is so apt.) The poem is also a fine invocation of the challenge’s weekly work. Excited to see what it yields. Thanks again Sarah – Brendan


  3. Sarah, yes, we need to open ourselves to the world again – therein lies our healing. We hve lost our connection to the wild, especially those living in cities…………it hurts, to see Mother Earth struggling because of us. I so enjoyed your essay and the challenge, and maybe another poem will pop forth. I linked the one that rose instantly but, as you say, thoughts may bubble and toss through the week. Lovely having you do guest challenges. I look forward to more.


  4. I’m so ambivalent about the digital world. Without it, living alone, I would truly be untethered right now. But I don’t think I’m just being nostalgic to miss the time when we were less immediately but more deeply connected to both each other and the living world around us. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are so right about prompts that are open for a week being slow burners, and poems needing time to bubble in the subconscious.
    The image of the monkeys – I saw them on a children’s climbing frame – made me sit up. And when I recovered from that, I read the second stanza – another powerful image, especially as I’m tap-tapping on a keyboard right now, still my only way to communicate until August. What a wonderful light feeling escaped from the final stanzas! I can feel your fingertips. 😊


  6. There is such strength and clarity in your writing always – love the beginning and the sigh of the last stanza too. And thanks again for the prompt


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