what we are

for T


I don’t read tarot any more
or enumerate names,
but there is safety in archetypes
predicting the obvious
and blaming a planetary dance
for the outcome.

What we are is more real
than a construct of cards fanned flat
on my grandmother’s scarf can tell.
This us requires more than guessing,
a substance fired into the house we grow,
slow in a row of nows, a mortar of yes,

and any future that needs reading
is solid, not scribed on these palms
dry from gardening and strong soap,
but etched in the curve of my mouth,
suggested in the corners of your eyes
when you smile.  We are past blueprinting
forever and build it, brick by brick
and stone solid.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to what we are

  1. Fantastic piece Susan, even though I still consult my cards quite regularly;)

  2. davidtrudel says:

    I love this. Great write.

  3. Yum yum yum – that’s all 🙂

  4. nelle says:

    Nice… build it!

  5. mobius faith says:

    Rock solid.

  6. George Ellington says:

    So well said, Susan. I have no doubt that there are people in this world who possess far greater sensitivity to levels and shades of existence that are quite beyond my ken as a simple man. I am quite in awe of such abilities. And perhaps a little intimidated by them. But I am equally committed to this belief: You build your life. You construct your own future step by step and brick by brick and the moment you allow anyone else to dictate it, predict it, construct it for you, then have you abandoned the necessary act of responsible living that makes your life your own.

    • George–and I am in awe of what you have said here, as well. So true. I am a simple woman, and when I write of my love, I seem to use clay and bricks to do it lately. Perhaps a way of communicating its solidity, its reality. Hmmm. Now you have me thinking.

      • George Ellington says:

        Perhaps in using clay and bricks to write of love you are seeking greater permanence. Or at the very least–stability. The world around us reveals such splendor in its changing colors and flowing patterns, and yet there are some things the human heart prefers to remain stable. Unchanging. Isn’t it reasonable that we might seek to assuage the sometimes frightening vulnerability of love with something more stable, more secure? I am nearly 50 years old, Susan, and I find my heart can still tremble with longing but also with fear. Time does not bring stability, but it can bring understanding. I hope.

  7. Alice Keys says:

    “a mortar of yes” This is the way to build a right life. I seek the “mortar of yes” every day. Very nice, Susan. Thanks for this reminder as I swim through this ocean of change.

  8. jeglatter says:

    Love this.

  9. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    “there is safety in archetypes” – something tells me you are Jung at heart, darling! I enjoyed this very much — your language is beautiful, and your description of building a solid relationship firmly rooted in reality is wonderful.

  10. BroadBlogs says:

    Lovely poem.

    Kind of off-topic in that this isn’t your point, but I do read tarot, not for fortune-telling but because it helps me to get in touch with how I really feel as I interpret and respond to the cards. Tarot can also jar me into a new perspective when I get a card that’s unexpected.

    • Thanks, Georgia. I used to read tarot, and probably would still if I had a deck. It is a good centering tool. Have to admit I also love to use the tarot images in poetry.

  11. I can’t get away from my Tarot stories, but futures? They are what we build from our own smirks, as you say : )

  12. brian miller says:

    really great set up in the opening…we do like to blame the stars for the consequences we face….there is a cool intimacy in that last stanza though…the curve of mouth and eyes…and hte brick & stone…like that much…

  13. Ray Sharp says:

    lovely, and substantial.
    btw, My daughter’s going to a summer week in engineering program at Cornell. I see you’re in NY

  14. Susan says:

    past the blueprinting stage, trusting the deviations as they roll …

  15. Ah we share views on reading the tarot. and safety in archetypes really sums it up.

  16. Poet Laundry says:

    Love it Susan. We build it don’t we? Choices and actions, brick by brick. Great piece.

  17. There is a safety in archetypes. There are patterns in all facets of the world. We can use the information they release as signposts along our way, if we have the eyes to read them.


  18. When I was young my grandmother read the cards for us—and this piece brought back those memories–lovely, lovely piece–each bit of it is to savor

  19. Grace says:

    I listen to tarot cards and predictions but don’t give it much importance ~ I believe that we build and shape our own future and outcomes ~ Happy day Susan ~

  20. Mary says:

    I have never believed in tarot cards. Just a skeptic here, but who knows really about any of these things? I think it depends on one’s experience. I like the idea of being past blueprints and building brick by brick and stone solid. This sounds more grounded to me and is something I can more identify with..

  21. nico says:

    I loved this–I agree with you, love isn’t in the cards, it’s in the common life we build, brick by brick. Great work!

  22. kelly says:

    This speaks of real love to me… Growing past the fantasy into the strength of the real thing. A great piece.

  23. Akila says:

    Agree agree very true! they are more for solace for the constant wanderign mind worrying, we all tend to do that! we are what we arem built brick by brick…

  24. Tony Maude says:

    The future is what we make it with every decision we make – or fail to make – and every step we take in our lives. Perhaps the real effect of tarot and astrology is that some people choose to give weight to the cards/stars when they are making their choices – and others don’t.

  25. janehewey says:

    I love the tarot story. I’ve learned more from my own experience, though, when it comes right to it. There is a strong grounding in this poem, Susan.

  26. scotthastiepoet says:

    Terrifically strong and sure-footed piece of work, Susan – which I really enjoyed reading… Especially liked: “blaming a planetary dance for the outcome.” “What we are is more real than a construct of cards fanned flat…” “etched in the curve of my mouth…” “We are past blueprinting forever and build it, brick by brick and stone solid.” I will be back for more… With Best wishes Scott http://www.scotthastie.com

  27. Candy Morrow says:

    Relationships are intense things, much like the future we’d like to peep into in order to influence our decisions today.

  28. Pingback: Praise From Caesar — The Dilettante Edition, May 19, 2013 | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.

  29. Exquisite! Love these lines:
    “and any future that needs reading
    is solid, not scribed on these palms
    dry from gardening and strong soap,
    but etched in the curve of my mouth,
    suggested in the corners of your eyes
    when you smile.”

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