Lineage of Pain

You were easy to vilify
with your detached and selfish ways
and your clenched jaw and eyes ablaze,
but your life was your own deny,
Dad.   Years of pain were amplified
by you; no soft place was offered.
But my worth totally shattered
because you also had been hurt
by a man detached, cold and curt,
alone where no love was proffered.

Join me at dVerse Poets for Meeting the Bar, Thursday 3PM EST where we try a Latin American poetry form called the décima.

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56 Comments

  1. Heartfelt poem Gayle.. So often that pain is passed on.. Love and Blessings your way Gayle.. xxx Sue

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Anonymous

     /  April 20, 2016

    Wow! Chains of pain. Glad you have broken it.

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  3. I can’t wait to try this form, though I am uncertain if it will be in time for the prompt. We are preparing for our desert exodus which happens soon after I host OLN so I’m trying to get ready to leave, take care of a couple of things before Thursday. But then, there is OLN. Thanks for being such a good teammate. Heartbreaking poem that illustrates so well the horror of pain passed on from generation to generation. We watched Unbroken last night–there I picked up on that same theme.

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    • I haven’t seen that movie yet but would like to. Some people have such a strong and resilient spirit don’t they…such an inspiration. I know that even my teammates have lives and other things to attend to besides prompts. I’ll look forward to reading your decima when you’re able to write it and share, Victoria…perhaps for OLN. I appreciate you as a fellow teammate and friend too, and thank you. xoxo

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  4. Good insight into the ways “hurt people hurt people”…sorry for your pain, seems you’ve overcome!

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  5. I found this very insightful too. you’ve turned you pain into a well crafted piece.

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  6. I have always wanted to be born at 21 because I would rather have no childhood More porridge please?

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  7. This one touched my heart, how painful when that hurt is passed through generations ( I did get my part too.. though in less amount my father did)

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    • Thank you, Bjorn, and I know you experienced some of this too…so hard to grow up with the disconnect. Alcoholism was a big factor in the picture too. There were a lot of alcoholics in my father’s family.

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  8. Whew, so often pain and hurtful relationships transfer from one generation to another, doesn’t it? Someone has to break the cycle; and I trust, Gayle, that you are one who has! Good prompt. It got me writing. Thank you.

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    • Yes, they sure can, Mary, and I think I did break that cycle in caring for my own daughters. And I’m thrilled that this prompt has you inspired to write, Mary, you’re welcome!

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  9. There’s that pain that feeds our strength. The passion is intense.

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  10. Glenn Buttkus

     /  April 21, 2016

    Heartfelt & insightful, this one touches us all. The form is well illustrated as well. I never knew my father, but my three stepfathers believed in the law of the hairy fist & the belt. I chose, as do you, not to pas on this misplaced rage.

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    • Thank you, Glenn. I commend you for your choice to behave otherwise and also for your positive spirit and enthusiasm that you exhibit. It’s wonderful. I’m glad that you persevered in spite of that missing father and three raging, bully stepfathers…ugh!

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  11. This is so sad, and yet there is hope in the recognition of the pattern, and hopefully forgiveness and understanding.

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    • Being aware of the pattern is helpful and I think it brought me more compassion and understanding toward my father. And that is a good thing. :) Thank you for sharing, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

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  12. Wonderfully skillful the way you worked in this song of childhood pain and its source. There were always routes back and forth, weren’t there. There never was a golden age, just glossed over memories. Excellent piece.

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  13. PS. Thanks for the great article. I didn’t know this form!

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    • Thanks so much, Gay, I appreciate your kind compliment. Yes, there’s always a way to track those traits and so true about the “golden age”…not so sparkle-y for some of us. It’s still hard for me to gloss over the memories but I’ve tried to put it in perspective. I’m glad I came up with a form that was new to you. :~)

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  14. This is such a beautifully heartfelt poem.. I can sense the pain and resentment here… hope that you have overcome.. sending you love and hugs!

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    • I’m glad you liked it, Sanaa. Sometimes it’s good to share some of the darker experiences in our lives so others know that they aren’t alone. It can serve as a comfort sometimes. That’s what I hope anyway. Thanks for coming by…hugs.

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  15. This is very strong. It’s wonderful to break those chains. I must tell you that you captured the feel of the decima with a little tinge of defiance. Great!

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  16. Oh, Gayle. This is heartbreaking. The isolation of the word “Dad” is spot on. So well done.

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  17. I recognise and feel that pain, so well conveyed in your decima, Gayle.

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  18. So much pain in this. The enjambment in this prevented the rhyme scheme from detracting from the serious nature of the poem. Nicely done.

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  19. Such pain is generational, but thankfully you have broken the chain.

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  20. I had problems with my father too Gayle. He was proud and always right and back then I didn’t think about how it must have been for him. Great insight and sadness. I’m sorry to hear you had a hard time too. Big hug! Bekkie

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    • Big hug back to you, Bekkie. I’m sorry for your difficulty too and thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. It took me a long time to consider that he being abandoned by his father created his pain that he then passed on to us. He didn’t have the awareness or skill to do otherwise. It did help me soften my heart towards him.

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  21. That really hits me where I live. The cycle of estrangement and abuse, passed on… painfully sad. Skillfully written too

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    • I’m sorry that this issue has affected you too, Barry…too many people seem to experience this. And I appreciate your compliment, thank you.

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  22. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

     /  April 23, 2016

    Painful subject, excellent poetry!

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  23. Your poem is heart-breaking, Gayle, and at the same time, deep, wise, full of insight and kindness. And yet, there’s that endless pain that you have to endure, which you’ve converted into a beautiful poem.

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