Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Promises

I would have said anything
to make it easier for you.
I would have said anything
to make it easier for me.
Grief makes a good liar,
and I was willing to titrate the truth.
But now,

weeding through my words,
I'm stung by what's taken root -
nettles, proof
of the vows I've not kept,
needling and pricking me apart.
The promises you wouldn't have let me make
if you'd seen him
brush against me in the dark.

A bit of a rough draft for K's prompt at Real Toads

Note: titer is a medical term. It's a measurement of the amount or concentration of a substance in a solution.   I kind of liked using it as a verb, but I've changed to the more accurate (and grammatically correct) titrate.


Kerry O'Connor said...

There is a dark side to keeping promises - sometimes they a better served when broken.

Outlawyer said...

Hey MZ--there's a real feeling of pain here--especially conveyed by the second stanza, with all the "nettling" words, compounded by your "brushing" against him--and the him could almost be grief here, or another lover, of course--it all has a real resonance--

I wasn't sure if there was a typo in first stanza--titer the truth--whether you meant tilt, or alter, or tighten--all of which work and this may too--I ask because my computer does such weird things sometimes, especially with poetry where one is using words in unusual ways--

But the whole thing really pricks. Thanks. k .

Sylvia K said...

No one writes or expresses it better, MZ! Yes, I could feel the pain.

Björn Rudberg said...

Oh yes, those promises we break come back to haunt us.. especially if it is too late. I like promises I can keep.. but there are days you give away those words too easily..

Kim Nelson said...

Love your use of the word titer, here. I'm very familiar as my dogs have Valley Fever and we check their titers often. I felt the regret in not being able to keep the promise, sidling up to the excitement at the prospect of the breaking. Isn't that the way?

Marian said...

Titer, yes! I feel like I could touch the ominous surface of these verses... and like the other shoe is about to drop.

Fireblossom said...

The road to hell is paved with....well, you know the rest. This is sharp and painful and potent.

Anonymous said...

Grief makes a good liar,
and I was willing to titrate the truth.

Oh, yes, I understand this... so painful all throughout.

Anonymous said...

My reading of the poem was wholly in the direction of a lost (dead) other (that titration!) until the final lines. Deathbed promises ... can marital promises be as equivocal?

Susan said...

Whew! The hairs on my neck stand up to their own confession of convenient lies under compulsion--rare, but there. And when someone is not a liar, how to misplace and forget the lies? I always think confession is good, but sometimes it defeats its true purpose--like trust, for example.

hedgewitch said...

Those first four lines are a hammer for the nail of this poem, driving us into a confrontation with the shades of truth we wade through, discard or present, and the darker need for a private one--great new word also, thanks.

Jazzbumpa said...

this is so powerful

i'm a chemist by long ago education
and am a bit nonplussed by "titrate the truth"

maybe i'm too literal

that last line hits like a hammer


Sherry Blue Sky said...

So honest and painful it renders me speechless. You have said it all, MZ, to perfection. As always.

Ella said...

Pain lurks and I, too like titer as a verb-very clever, MZ~

Susie Clevenger said...

Broken promises leave such pain...a beautifully written piece about pain

Sioux said...

"Grief makes a good liar." This is one of the wonderful lines in this poem.

Shawna said...

My goodness. Just ... wow.

"Grief makes a good liar,
and I was willing to titrate the truth."

"I'm stung by what's taken root -
nettles, proof
of the vows I've not kept"

"if you'd seen him
brush against me in the dark."

Margaret said...

… so many times we hurt the other even more by trying to make things easier… So well penned.

grapeling said...

whew, that is a killer final couplet ~