Waiting for the Lights (the published poem)


I know this is hard to read, but it was hard to write the heart out of my original poem.

Posted on November 11, 2013, in Poems and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’m so intrigued to compare this to the original. It would be interesting to understand the motivations and decisions involved in the editing process too, if it’s not too hard to talk about?

    What were your thoughts on the published version? I think it’s a beautiful, evocative price of writing but it doesn’t sound like you – it has the depth of imagery but not the depth of emotion I’ve come to love so much in your poetry. X

    • Pooky, I’ve got to get ready for a doctors appointment so only have a moment. I just had to say Thank You. You noticed what’s missing, the emotion, the thing that for me gives life to my words. I’ll write more latter. xx

      • I hope the doctor’s appointment goes okay. I’m intrigued to hear more about this – why did you write the emotion out of it… And how? Were you asked to? Did you want to? Many questions.

        It’s 11.30pm in London so I guess I’ll learn more in the morning. I hope you have a good day Tricia xxx

      • Pooky, I wrote the original poem in the middle of the night back in 1998. I’d had an experience in the city that day and I couldn’t sleep because it was preying on my mind. It’s a long poem but it just flowed from my pen onto the paper. When I showed it to my son he wept and said it had to be published. I sent it around but no one would publish it. That’s when, Ken, decided to turn it into a short film. He died before he’d gotten past the story board phase and I didn’t want anyone else touching his work.
        It sat in a drawer for years and when each anniversary came along I’d think about it and one year decided I’d do whatever I had to to get at least an inkling of if published. I took it to a 6 week poetry class with an Australian poet and Waiting for the Lights was how it ended up. And it was accepted for publication.
        I’ll post the original, Darkness Before Dusk, now. I have to do it on my main computer in the study because I don’t have it on my iPad. It might take me 10 or 15 minutes.

  2. I must have missed the previous post, Tricia, but I just went back to read and get caught up. I’m somehow surprised that your freefall writing isn’t more publishable. I’m probably very naive about that. I do so readily respond to the “guts” of your poetry. I never feel that the emotion is gratuitous. There are artists who I sometimes feel use words or images intended to shock, but they don’t do anything for me. That’s never the way with I feel about your words. They open me up to better understand the physical pain associated with grief. This published poem is still very meaningful and it’s really beautifully written. It must be very hard to be told to “tone down” such incredibly personal poetry. I’m glad you shared this experience with us as I’ve felt for so long that you SHOULD be published. Now I better understand why that is difficult.

    I was so glad tonight to see you’d posted, Tricia, and hope that means you’re feeling a little better. I hope the doctor’s appointment went well, too. I think of you so often and always say a little prayer that you’re finding some untapped strength and renewed health. ox

    • Dear Debra, your comments mean so much to me. I’ve come to realise that because the majority of my writing is subject specific, it doesn’t fit in the mainstream. Although this once caused me anguish, I’m now at peace with it. There’s an Australian television program titled First Tuesday Book Club. A few of months ago they had a couple of publishers on and one said something along the lines of ‘God save me from any more grief laden manuscripts’. This for me summed up the literary worlds opinion of my ‘in your face’ style of writing. And in the final analysis being published by a mainstream organisation is an ego thing.
      A member of my writer’s group is now working part time in the area of self publishing, and is encouraging me to put some of my work together and he will help me publish it. My energy is so limited these days, but I am thinking about it. If I do decide to go ahead I’d like my book to be part about chronic illness and part grief, with a couple of more light hearted poems included. I often feel many people think I’m an unhappy person because of the poems I write, but I’m at heart a joyful, bold, mischievous woman. Yes I miss my husband and son with every fibre of my being, and at times I weep with frustration at my disobedient body, but I also laugh a lot. I play with my bears, take delight in saying outrageous things and have a lot of fun with family and friends.
      I write as I do because I feel strongly that people want to sweep the hard stuff out of sight and this ends up making reality much more difficult to deal with when we are suddenly faced with it. So I’ll keep on pushing my barrow and finding fulfilment in both my writing and the comments of people like you, my dear Debra.

  3. Very powerful Tricia, even though edited. I look forward to the original. I shiver when I read poems such as this, as being a recovering adict, I could well have been the female equivalent of the person in this poem, and was actually well on my way there. I just happened to wake up in time before Iended up at the terminus.


    • My dear friend, you’ve walked a hard road, and I’m so pleased you have your hard won sobriety. My Dad made the mistake, after 10 years sober, of thinking he could be a social drinker. It only took a few months for his ‘social drinking’ to spiral out of control. Although in truth his social drinking began after he was diagnosed with the same illness I now have and was pronounced no longer fit to work. It would possibly have been a temptation for you, after your MS diagnosis. I’m so proud of you my precious friend.
      My Dad was a special man and I loved him very much. I still miss him. Addiction is an illness, but one where the sufferer has to fight for their remission. They have yet to find a cure. I know in my son’s case his depression was a trigger for addiction. I wonder how many others this is true for.
      Much love
      Tricia ❤ xoxo

  4. Thank you Tricia, for your kind words.

    I think depression is often the trigger for addiction. In my own experience and from what I have heard in the rooms of AA this can be confirmed.

    Mine is a long complicated story which I now know involves the MS although I didnt know it back then. In the 80s and 90s I developed some very strange symptoms, very frightening ones, which the doctors all put down to anxiety, even a neurologist, and I was given valium and Ativan and all manner of other horrible drugs. (I have attempted a poem about all this which I may post at some point, but its a bit clumsy so it may end up as a piece of prose).
    Anyway, I know I wasnt anxious at all but when they kept telling me I was, I actually became it and started having panic attacks. This led to depression, which then led to alcohol. I know blame isnt the answer for anything but Im afraid I do blame the medical profession for refusing to listen to me. After quite a few years I clearly went a very long peiod of remission with no symtoms; this is what remitting relapsing MS is I now know. This is a very long story cut short.

    To move on to my years in recovery from alcoholism, these became the best years of my life as I was actually introduced to myself and gradually got to know who I was. The 12 step program has saved my life, it actually gave me a life and I incorporate it into everyrhing I do, It has become an integral part of my existence and helps me to manage MS in a way that is healthy. (Most days!!!). For me active alcoholism plus MS would have certainly led to death. Now I have the tools at my disposal to take a very different path and to live!

    I spent many years going to two or more AA meetings a week, I used to chair meetings, and for three years I was the health liaison officer for our region and spent a lot of time giving talks in hospitals, various care centres and charities. I even went back to the ward where I spent six weeks as an inpatient for depression, to talk to the staff about alcoholism and recovery. I think that was a highlight pf recovery for me. I dont go to many meetings these days, because it is difficult as they are mainly in the evening when I am simply too fatigued. But I am in touch with an AA group on facebook and I know if I feel I need a meeting then I will rest during the day and go in the evening.

    This has been a long reply! If youbmanaged to read ro the end, then I say a big thank you!

    Lots of love and huge hugs

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