By Robert Frost
The rain to the wind said,
“You push and I’ll pelt.”
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.
By Julia Fine
Stems refuse a staid wilt.
Blooms choose to revive!
Flowers lift up from brown silt
With a strength that betrays their size
And acute-angled tilt.
Gardens tend to be rebuilt.
What’s It Mean?
I showed a friend my new blog when he tilted his head to one side and asked “What’s the title mean? It’s kind of weird don’t you think?” He carefully chose his words. The question motivated this post, which explains why I named it “You Push and I’ll Pelt.” I thought it wise to write a post about the subject, as potential readers might pose similar questions.
Perusing for inspiration in a book of poems, I randomly turned to “Lodged.” This little known gem of a poem about flowers that take a beating from wind and rain was almost too apropos. Perhaps the title will attract other poets, Frost fans or curious readers? Though odd sounding, I instantly fell in love with the words, Push and Pelt. I had found my title.
The words, I think, are a gate keeping mechanism, or as some might even argue, protection for my delicate ego, since the title may not generate a ton of interest. I want curious, well-read, open minded readers. I respond well to constructive feedback, but stupidity is another story. I defend my values like a pit bull, and I’ve seen bloggers chased away from forums by angry, anonymous commenters. Since, I would get wrapped up in that type of fight, I liked that this title might appeal to someone like me—clearly not a marketing decision designed for the masses.
Also, it doesn’t sound like the names of other blogs. Being status quo is so dull. I believe most people aren’t as boring as they’d like to appear. For me, normalcy is a stressful facade, a mask we all wear at some point or another—some better than others. I take the road less traveled because it’s where I feel most at home, and I wear the normal mask when a situation demands it. Society prefers the consistency and reliability that normalcy offers. It’s comfortable for the collective. However, individuals pay the price in the form of lost creativity, connectedness and intolerance for our glorious differences.
Life Only Gets Harder
My mother laughed at my tears in high school when I threw tantrums about the kids making fun of me. I wasn’t popular enough, skinny enough, or rich enough for my tastes. I complained about having to wake up at 6:00 AM every morning, and Mom would sing out “Lazy bones, sleeping in the sun. How you ‘spect to get a day’s work done?” Then, she’d add, “Enjoy these problems now. Life only gets harder.” “How could life get any harder than 10th grade?” I thought, but of course, she was right.
There are times when Hurricane Katrina-like storms are unleashed upon us. When I cried to my father, who was fighting liver cancer, about life being so crappy he smiled and said, “Yeah but what’s the alternative?” It was meant as a joke, but there’s been times when I needed to remember that he smiled when asking the question.
The storm in my life brewed for years, and when it finally hit, its fury stunned me before I dropped to my knees. It twisted and turned me around so badly that I had to retreat. It was then that I seriously thought about his alternative. In the eye of the storm, I met other survivors. I found that nobody is alone with their struggles. Nothing can prevent us, rich or poor, healthy or sick, from trudging through tough times. “Lodged” reminds me that nothing escapes the shadow of seemingly bigger powers. We’ve got to make the best of it. We’ve no alternative but to get through the storm, pick ourselves up from the silt and rebuild our gardens. As much as events can push and pelt us down, great moments lift us higher. My sky brightens when I blast “Ode to Joy” in my car and cry, which is inevitably followed by laughter that I’m crying. Clouds dissipate when I spend sweet time with Frost, Burns, Shakespeare, Path, Lowell, Stevenson, Emerson and Wordsworth. The sun peaks out when I stand mesmerized before the dappled light in a Monet series. It gets even brighter when I finish a novel that tears at my heart; Steinbeck is the biggest offender. I once threw “Of Mice and Men” against the wall – HARD. The final sentence made and ruined my whole week in one fantastic instant. There are real people who’ve inspired me too. The sun would shine down upon us and the temperature rose when my husband would spin me on the dance floor. I always loved the way he moved. When my girlfriend and I could just sit for hours together without uttering a sound and still know what each other was thinking about. These are the moments that feed my desire to go on, to grow and that give me faith brighter days are beyond the deep valleys filled with tears.
Bring It On
Big snowflakes rarely last, driving rain storms taper quickly, and delicate things like flowers, egos and the human heart come equipped with flexibility enough for the rebound. My blog, “You Push & I Pelt” represents the first step in a personal rebuilding. The title honors what I hold dear: being slightly off-center, having integrity, loving poetry, respecting truth, and honoring the universe that guides me.
Like my add-on poem above, I’ve pulled myself from the silt ready to push and pelt right back. Bring on the next round. This time, I am determined, wiser and more focused. I am tough, but balanced by a more empathetic, experienced heart. My eyes and dreams are cast toward the light, yet I won’t forget how the flowers felt.
I am unabashedly proud of my unique perspective. I don’t care about popularity or meeting others’ standards. It’s time to celebrate my wins, losses, joys and propensity for melancholy. For years, I wandered lonely as a cloud rarely sharing my writing and never asking for help. From that journey, I’ve learned how flowers bounce back. They can do more than curl up and just survive. I am reaching out to join the thousands who line the garden path tossing their heads in this sprightly dance we call life in the 21st century.
Daffodils (an excerpt)
By William Wordsworth