Life is too short to hold a grudge. Yet, sometimes it is not so easy to let go of that toxic heat cruising through the veins.
In the following poem, poet Jeffrey McDaniel uses a brilliant extended metaphor to capture how sometimes a person nurtures anger, even extending and sustaining it within the heart:
I watered the grudge,
not with the fervent devotion
of a nun clutching rosary beads,
not with the destructive clockwork
of a drunk spilling vodka
tumblers on the cactus erupting
through his heart, but I watered it,
went out there at midnight,
with a can of spittle, moon dangling
like a lightbulb from its frail cord,
and I dripped the dark
nourishing fluid into its roots,
my face pulsing like a blister
as the venom petals bloomed.
How many of us have “watered” a grudge, or a jealousy, or any sort of negative feeling inside? The poem is ironic in that its underlying message may be that in the case of a grudge (or something emotionally destructive), it is actually best to let this certain something wither and die. The poem forces us to step back and look at ourselves, and maybe, hopefully, avoid the outcome of “venom petals” blooming in our lives.
Address correspondence and poem submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Neil Carpathios, Shawnee State University, Dept. of English & Humanities, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH 45662. (740-351-3478).