A posting, on Viv in France’s excellent blog, mentioned that she was wanting to write a longer poem, something over 50 lines. I have always written short poems for two reasons. One, I’m afraid my drivel couldn’t hold anyone’s attention for more than a few seconds. Two, subjects with enough elements for a long poem elude me. Still, the idea intrigued me until I remembered a short story I wrote before I became serious about poetry. It was a piece in which I created a composite of the many losers, cheats, liars, grifters, cons, thieves, deadbeat dads, drunks and dopers I had worked with over the years, and depicted their destination late in life.

This is a VERY ROUGH DRAFT, and I hope to return and clean it up because I like what it says. I also have enough material to add another three or four stanzas, but it turns out my attention span is about the same as I expect from my readers.

Update, revision number one. 2/20/11

WELCOME TO MY HELL (revision one)
by Mike Patrick

Flickr image by Noel Zia Lee

Ah . . . hello. When did you arrive?
Sorry, you rather startled me.
I’m always here, all alone,
No one visits here you see.

Won’t you please take a seat?
You’re welcome in my hell.
I personally laid each damning brick,
Which turned my life into a cell.

The door you entered has no bars,
At least, none you can see,
But they are there, and that’s for sure,
And here, inside, trap me.

My building blocks were made of lies,
And evil deeds beyond compare.
The walls are thick and reach the sky;
A million bricks I had to spare.

Three windows in that outer wall
Are holes, which pierce my life:
The smaller ones, my children,
The larger one my wife.

The bricks around them, large and strong,
Are sins, which placed them there.
Cheating, lying, drugs and booze,
That truth has since laid bare.

The overlooked, forgotten dates
The kids will not forget.
Birthdays, recitals, baseball games,
Are the times I now regret.

The years it took to grind them down,
While they begged for me to stay,
Were finally more than they could take.
They simply turned away.

Their mother’s love was very strong,
As she forgave, forgot and let me be,
Until at last I crossed a line,
Which hurt her more than she loved me.

So now I sit within my cell
And contemplate my doom.
I fear I’m stuck within this place
Until it is my tomb.

One thing, I guess, does give me hope.
A friend came by and left a Bible here.
Each day I read and learn some more.
It says there’s naught to fear.

Since I’ve been reading, hope I’ve found
That something precious lies ahead.
A crack, along that corner, has appeared,
And a brilliant light is shed.

When I kneel down and look outside,
A lovely sight I see.
Someone waits over there,
And says that He can set me free.

Is there a force, which has the strength,
To tear these damning walls apart.
For freedom, I would give my life
And more; to Him I give my heart.

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19 Responses to WELCOME TO MY HELL

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Mike, this merits more than just a brief comment – the potential is there for a powerful poem. As you say, it needs work – there are occasional hiccups in the rhythm, but nothing that a little tweaking can’t put right. I look forward to reading it again.

  2. This is great. I don’t think you have a worry about holding folks attention. I was completely engaged by the character and his story, his feelings and his potential salvation. Good job.

  3. cloakedmonk says:

    A wonderful poem with truth. You will polish it up beautifully, I am sure.

  4. Melissa says:

    Mike, I’m so glad to see you join the circle of poets who share their poetry on the web. This is fantastic. High emotion, imagery wow, soulful.


  5. thingy says:

    If this is the draft, I can’t wait ti see the finished piece.


  6. tigerbrite says:

    For a rough draft this is stunning.

  7. Jessica says:

    Very well composed, the idea of that crack through which you glimpse a saviour is a great idea. I enjoyed the description of the construction of your ‘hell’, in a perverse way!


  8. A.B. Thomas says:

    Great first draft!

  9. ladynimue says:

    My reasons for writing short poems is same as you state before .. And also that most of my readers prefer to read them short 🙂

    but this was engaging .. Loved reading it .. And i really was so engrossed that i did not realize any faults here .. but no poem that doesn’t benefit from editing .. go for it 🙂

  10. Jingle says:

    awesome efforts..

    the image is powerful and vivid.


  11. Kim Nelson says:

    I agree with both Vivi and Jamie. Form and flow need a bit of refinement, but the story told is compelling and engaging.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Aye, and I appreciate their critique more than I could ever say in words. It is great when one can get two respected writers, who know how to Write (that is with the capital “W”), to take the time to help someone still struggling to write with the lower case “w.” I love these poetry groups.

  12. This can be read on more than one level. We’ve all created our own cells, hell…whatever. Hopefully we can learn to free ourselves. Your rhyming flows seamlessly.

  13. I always WRITE first, let it flow and then go back and tweak it – and sometimes, obviously, not enough. But I agree, this poem deals with an intriguing issue. I would love to think that people in jail for long periods or life truly are touched by faith. But I hear such horror stories… I look forward to seeing this poem again!

    • Mike Patrick says:

      I don’t know, Margaret. I began haunting your blog the first time I saw one of your haiku entries. First, I was captivated by your photography, then by your writing. It has always appeared flawless to me.

  14. trisha says:

    This is a masterpiece Mike, you should try some longer poem.

    It reminded me of les miserables a little.


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