11 July 2014


Helen Keller Portrait with Vase, 1909
Library of Congress, via Wikipedia

Perfect is a violent word.
Mea culpa:
I used it quite often for delight,
approval and
brevity but

Few asked  Perfect what? choosing not
to break the spell
of the bouquet of happiness
each neat petal
stunning and whole.

I tried to earn praise perfectly
without stopping
to smell roses or winter days
for years before
noticing that

I saved empty vases where dried
flowers should be, 
perfectly dusted but vacant
beneath my framed

In this relatively carefree
twilight I toss
all but one vase for my daily
bud—having done
what I was told

I laugh often, spit out word pits
I swallowed once
and refresh myself with great risks
like falling and
rising again.

Posted at Poets United 

Poetry Pantry #209

Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast


Brian Miller said...

ha. we both used vases and flowers today....smiles...
ah, i think we often chase praise and achievement...it makes us feel good in the moment
but has little sustaining value....i would much rather live in the day....

Mary said...

Sometimes the desire for 'perfect' can be a curse, I think. Especially when a person tries to attain someone else's idea of perfection...as it is always just out of reach. "Perfectly dusted but vacant" seems like a very lonely place.

kaykuala said...

and refresh myself with great risks
like falling and rising again.

Resilience is the name of the game! One fights back in the face of odds which can be overcome by and by. Great write Susan!


J Cosmo Newbery said...

Leave perfection to the Gods. A rose can be bruised but still beautiful. Nicely captured.

Grace said...

I adore that opening verse: Perfect is a violent word, such a deep & meaningful line ~ I think we should smell the roses before all is an empty as a vase ~

I also admire the word play here: I laugh often, spit out word pits ~Have a good weekend Susan ~

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love the relaxed tone of this poem - I envy you the strength to get rid of extra vases and just keep one. I only USE one, but have at least four backups, ridonkulous. I love "I laugh often, spit out word pits...." I do love this time of life. Who knew we would be so free?

Natašek said...

the last three lines are perfect :)

rallentanda said...

The last stanza made me laugh too ! You know falling and rising can become an art form in itself LOL

Sumana Roy said...

striving for perfection could be nerve wrecking...it's much better to take risk and fall and rise.... I love the energy of the last three lines...

avalon said...

Perfect is what a Virgo thinks he or she can live with.
It doesn't mean anything.
Like in the Perfect Tense, literally it means 'Done', though in my case never 'Done and Dusted' :-)
[I don't dust out of principle.]
Nice lighthearted dichotomy.
Perfect for a Sunday morning.

Anand S Unni said...

'I saved empty vases where dried
flowers should be,
perfectly dusted but vacant
beneath my framed

the emotion within these four lines shall know no end! great write.

Celestial Dreamz said...

aahhh this so far is my favorite read!

Gen Giggles said...

Such vivid imagery you used. I like the way you expressed the concept.

dsnake1 said...

stunning work, Susan.
the first line grabs me straight away. trying to be perfect may be good, it motivates. but getting too fixated on it can lead to intolerance, and that's why i think you used the word 'violent' here. I am not sure i am making sense here. :D

ZQ said...

Hmmm! Incredible!

humbird said...

I should toss my all vases too even they are of dif. colors...ah....it's often we leave the living to ..later...and just get preparing for the day when we will ready and perfect...but it's never get so, because every day - the life, each moment ~ I like the 'great risks', taking myself too...~ Powerful lines!

Myrna R. said...

How beautifully you express the process of really growing up, of releasing the old values that fed the ego. I'm so with you on this. Some has to do with aging, but mostly I think it shows a life of reflection and openness and ultimately a lot more freedom to just be.

Truedessa said...

choosing not to break the spell of a bouquet of happiness..sometimes we have to break the spell
to really smell the flowers and feel the texture of life..great poem..

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness - that last stanza - very powerful conclusion to a wonderful poem - K

Nicholas said...

falling and rising again. dignified is the person who does this, the reference to vases makes me smile. beautiful and empowering poem. :)