Driven

He lost his head that day.
Disappeared into green lush woods,
the gardens of his mind.
Some nurturing space of his own design
between the borders of insanity and reason.

City engineer.
Day in and day out
he plotted and planned.
Highways, byways
throughways and roundabouts.
Traffic control,
exit ramps and entry lanes.
Cement road-snakes for autopilot mannequins.
Metal caskets on wheels,
rushing here and there and everywhere.

Head full, he just stopped.
Could not cope.
Could not recognize
patterns, directions,
escape routes from today
into the morrows.

And so he stared,
that morning at his desk.
Never moved.
Retreated into a nowhere,
his forest of nothingness.

IMG_6094

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today, Grace is hosting and asks us to use the word “border” within the poem or in the title. And, extra credit if we write somehow about a mental state.
Sculptur i
s in the de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln Massachusetts. Eternal Presence by John Wilson, 1987; a study for the full size, seven-foot tall sculpture which stands outside the National Center for Afro-American Artists in Boston.

 

48 thoughts on “Driven

  1. Grace August 22, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    Goodness that is some retreat,a forest of nothingness ~ I can empathize with the drive, rushing here and there ~ We must take care of our mental health, because that can lead to severe health problems. Good one Lillian ~ Extra credit for your amazing response ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:18 pm

      I think of the “rat race” that we can so easily get ourselves into during our careers/working life — and sometimes the stress can just be too much. Doesn’t necessarily have to be in a career either…what’s that old saying? It’s important to stop and smell the roses! I also think that with the barrage of news these days — from so many sources — we can be on 24/7 just like CNN and again….we just need to escape and take care of our selves so we can remain sane and calm and kind 🙂

      Like

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:19 pm

      Thank you Bjorn. Glad you enjoyed. I knew when I saw this sculpture that it would ignite a poem and oh yes….. stress can shove us over the border, well past sanity and reason.

      Like

  2. kim881 August 22, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    Wow – that’s different, Lillian! I wonder how many people fell that way and retreat into a forest of nothingness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:20 pm

      I think perhaps, there are times for everyone, when we just need to get away — whether to luxuriate in a bath, or take a vacation and unplug. Sanity and reason need to be nurtured.

      Liked by 1 person

      • kim881 August 25, 2017 / 1:51 am

        Like me last night with the nagging toothache – I wen to bed and escaped with a book.

        Like

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:21 pm

      Ah yes…..it’s why we all need a vacation every once in a while….and not just for those in some type of job…but also just from the harried pace that daily life can suck us into.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Frank Hubeny August 22, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    It is probably good there are gardens of the mind “between the borders of insanity and reason”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:21 pm

      Yes — for me, somehow, it’s always by the water. To see a lake or ocean or sea….that calms me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Glenn Buttkus August 22, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    Like the doors of perception, these gardens of the mind can be functional. While a wage slave & city dweller, I felt like too many rodents in a maze, that leads to madness & cannibalism. Retirement, for me, has been a sanctuary, as I observe the traffic getting worse & Trump supporters materializing out of the chaos. What will historians make out of Trump’s reign? Be like the mad King George I suspect. Nixon is grateful that finally there is a President even more eccentric than he was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:24 pm

      Hah! Yes — Nixon must be somewhat gratified…but my father, a Republican of the old guard, must be turning fitfully over in his grave. And — oh yes — rejuvenatement (never say retirement) has become an oasis for me. Blessed are we that we can experience this piece of life. Sadly, many cannot because of financial reasons….or because they just get so caught up and put off retirement and then their lives are cut short. What is that old saying? No one on their death bed says “I wish I would have worked more.”

      Like

  5. kanzensakura August 22, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    Being a retired engineer, I can sympathise with him. that is some thick border around his mind!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:25 pm

      I think maneuvering through all the roundabouts on our lovely 5 day trip to Western Massachusetts, and then seeing this sculpture, were the motivation for this poem.
      Sometimes we all need to escape to protect our sanity! 🙂

      Like

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:25 pm

      Thank you, Carrie. So nice to read your reply here. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Like

  6. charlotteash August 22, 2017 / 5:52 pm

    Your opening is really strong, the poem flows well throughout with a story that sticks. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 24, 2017 / 5:26 pm

      Thank you! The prompt just seemed to go with this scupture that we saw in Western Mass last week.

      Like

  7. Dr. Crystal Howe August 22, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    Amazing piece! My favorite lines:
    Cement road-snakes for autopilot mannequins.
    Metal caskets on wheels,

    escape routes from today
    into the morrows.

    Retreated into a nowhere,
    his forest of nothingness.
    –so wonderfully written!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:38 am

      So glad you enjoyed! Always happy to see your name among my replies 🙂 Thanks for being a reader of mine!

      Like

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:39 am

      I think there must be an “in-between” place too — where we can retreat for some moments and daydream our way out of our current state. 🙂

      Like

  8. Adda August 22, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    What a wonderful poem! There is something dark yet lively about it but I suppose that is going from reason to insanity. I really like your description of an automobile – metal casket on wheels – i traveled hundreds of thousands of miles in several different ones and kinds and am grateful they never became mine. I think I have had moments like this, where my head was full, struggling, and I just needed to escape into my “forest of nothingness”. Excellent description. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:42 am

      Oh yes….I think we’ve all been somewhere, sometime, when the world encroaches too much. I do think there’s a “middle space” where we can retreat and daydream of other things to regain our centering. For me, anytime I am near the ocean or a lake, I tend to do that. Or sunrises will take me there. 🙂
      Yep — those descriptive words about cars just slipped out from my pen to paper. Perhaps it’s that I was hit as a pedestrian by a car a number of years ago … to this day when I hear a backfire, or a car screeching or squealing breaks I jump a mile. I’ve learned to control the anxiety attacks which did happen for quite some time afterwards. I still see automobiles as weapson because of that. And now, with the horrors in the news, they’ve truly become that.

      Like

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:43 am

      Sure could be…..I was just so struck by the sculpture in the middle of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum…

      Like

  9. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar August 22, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    A warning for sure. “Some nurturing space of his own design
    between the borders of insanity and reason.”… I suppose some insanity or withdrawal is a self-preservation of sorts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:44 am

      Oh I definitely think so. I think there is that “middle ground” when the world is moving too fast and we retreat by daydreaming a bit…or closing our eyes and taking stock. For me, anytime I am near the ocean I seem to relax and get more centered.

      Like

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:45 am

      Thank you, Bryan. A wonderful comment — truly appreciated.

      Like

  10. coffeecatspoetry August 23, 2017 / 3:36 am

    Love the connection between the photo and the poem, and also the ‘lush green woods / gardens of his mind’ – as an avid daydreamer, I can connect with this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:46 am

      Daydreaming is also an escape mechanism. Anytime I’m by the ocean I tend to slip into moments of daydreaming and they are centering indeed. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. rosross August 23, 2017 / 4:11 am

    Ah yes, the boundaries of mind which help us to remain ordered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:46 am

      Yes….I do believe we all need to retreat every once in a while to maintain our sanity. That’s why we have vacations….and library books! 🙂

      Like

  12. mandibelle16 August 23, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    It sounds like this forest is his “safe place” his escape from the realities of life! Wonderfully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. sarahrussellpoetry August 23, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    “Metal casket on wheels…”. Wish I’d written that! And yes, now and then you have to say “STOP!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:48 am

      Oh yes…..taking time for ourselves does indeed keep us sane. Sometimes I just pick up the newspaper from in front of our door, set it on the table, and the next morning put it in the recycle pile without even reading it. Our news cycles have become quite disturbing. A retreat, in whatever form, is a nice respite.

      Like

  14. dornahainds August 24, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Reminds me of Alice and the cartoon version, view of her encounter with Quien of Hearts and her guards. Quite the Psychedelic Trip. 😎😎😎🥀🥀🥀

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 25, 2017 / 7:49 am

      Glad to take you trippin’ along with me! 🙂

      Like

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