Difficult Degrees

How strong the wood is

how heavy the water

how fire burns you and saves you

how we can suffocate in space.

A leaf knows no direction

and it cycles.   How I slip across

a plank of moods

how I gaze so far in my small mind

how I am not this sick body,

but a cycle–a circle, a painted sphere in orbit

given to touch–to feel–magnitudes.

I know no direction.


The dark, the light–two poles of a whole.

Balance: I pull you too far down and then too high,

but at such lengths I wander beyond myself

examining the weight

the burning

the constancy

the continent

of such a life.




13 thoughts on “Difficult Degrees

  1. Amy, I am so far away from myself. What you say here above describes you. I can’t even get close to describing myself. I keep thinking I’m on it. I’m better. I’ve got it figured out, but I can’t write a word that means anything. I’m going to steal some of the these quotes on your blogs. They are brilliant and I don’t know why I don’t have them in my own cache. I collect great quotes. Health and love to you my friend.



  2. Keep the faith, it’s a road and worth writing. I can’t remember which poet said that Dante got through Hell “wrapped in the meters” of Virgil — meaning, when you’re going through hell, keep writing. And don’t stop. Lots of interesting terrain on the way, anyway. (Purgatorio is SO much more fun than Paradiso.) I did a post recently on “Madness and the Creative,” really about the Va. Tech massacre, but the essay suggests that madness and creativity are destructive and productive faces of the some same thing. If you care to read: http://tinyurl.com/4mvw5oa . p.s. I think life slows us from mania into meaning, but it takes years. And meds. And grace.


  3. I really love your line (because it really is you!) “How the darkness is, in a sense, also a true light”.


  4. I can relate to a lot of this. Thank you for being open, honest, and not sugar-coating. ‘Tis the stuff of reality, and teh grit of good poetry. To hell with the flowery crap…

    thank you Amy



  5. Hi Amyjo~

    You have never met me, but I feel like I know a lot about you. I have had the privledge of watching you grow through your sister. I want you to know you are an inspiration and I am so relieved you have found your will to not only survive, but to truly live! ……..only those who have experienced such depth of unbearable pain could so eloquantly put her words into such a graceful art form. Congratulations to you! Karen


  6. been ambling around your site here, and have found so much of beauty and hope in this little virtual “place” where you share your process. thank you so much.


    1. siubhan, thank you very much! It means a lot coming from such a talented writer. Thanks, I’ll be ambling around yours today–your “Epitaph for the Soulless” blew me away–it’s incredible.



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