Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Promises



I have a theory about promises ... or perhaps, I'm simply superstitious about them.  Late afternoon is a bad time for a promise … Not as bad as night, of course.  (Sensible people, of a certain age, almost never make promises in the dark of night.)  But, late afternoon, is not an optimum promising time, either.  It is not, nearly, as good a time, for example, as early morning.  Early morning when the stuff of life has not yet, had the chance to clutter-up, re-schedule, frustrate, gloss over or intoxicate a rested mind … is the odds-on-best promising time … Or so I’ve always believed. 

People seldom make promises to me, anymore.  When you are young, promises are a dime-a-dozen.  Sometimes they are kept … Sometimes they are forgotten … and … Sometimes, they are broken.
  
When you are young – promises come from parents in exasperated hisses.  They come from educators – spat from mouths that look like they’ve just eaten a bad clam.  (Those promises are, usually, proceeded by “or-else’s”.)  Occasionally – when you are young – promises drift to your ear in whispers between embraces … gossamer promises … the lightest promises of them all … breathy declarations that morph, subtly, into the lilt of a question … in the space of a few short words … as youthful promises are prone to do.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

By late afternoon, what little sun a West Coast February day has to offer up, had packed it in replaced by a lovely, woods-of-camelot haze.  A few fat drops of rain had fallen in widely spaced intervals … so that, I couldn’t be sure if it would cease, altogether, or quicken to a deluge. 

We had walked for ages and a rain speckled wooden bench, with wrought iron arms, beckoned.  It was risky business, but we sat down, gingerly, and waited to see if dampness lurked below the surface, ready to rise-up.  It did not – though it sent a cold shiver, in its place.   The droplets that had gathered on the iron arms appeared as smooth, ebony beads.  I stared at them as, slowly one by one   they slid together … growing in size spellbindingly until at last, a great black blob perched, precariously, on the iron arm edge ... and then ... it slithered over the side and splashed to the ground.

My voice shattered the misty idyll:

"So what did the doctor say?" …………. "Nothing" …………. "The doctor said nothing???" …………. "Nothing" …………. "Well, surely, the doctor said something" …………."Well, ya-know, he said, I'm fine – it’s all good" …………. "It’s good?" …………. "I’m good – perfect."

"I promise", he added with a cheerful snicker "everything's perfect ."  
                                                             
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
raindrops falling
in the mist . . .
where time meets the unexpected
the certainty of change
splashes upon every promise 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was late afternoon and the sky was already beginning to darken.

"I promise" he said "everything is perfect."   



note:  a - mostly - fictional tanka prose piece. 

photo:  Nicomeki River, Surrey, BC – W. Bourke 

© 2017 Wendy Bourke 

26 comments:

  1. the certainty of change
    splashes upon every promise

    Do we take it promises are meant to be broken? The sanctity of a commitment must not be taken lightly! Promises ought to be kept!

    Hank

    ReplyDelete
  2. the prose, the verse, the scene..loved it all!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So lovely...your words drip with meaning. I loved your thoughts about promises.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh this is soo exquisitely penned, Wendy ❤️

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fascinating, how your text subverts the words he says. I like what the tanka says, too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So much to think about here. So true when a person is young there seem to be promises in abundance....dispersed almost as readily as wild flowers in the spring. But later on, not so many promises. I had not reflected on that recently, Wendy; so your poem caused me to give it some thought. I make few promises with words any more, but I guess I try to fulfill my inner promises that I don't verbalize in the same way. The ending of your write is sad really. One doesn't know exactly what the doctor said. And one wonders REALLY what has transpired. Another thought-provoker, Wendy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So many promises, so many lost dreams along the way. I try not to make promises I cannot keep. Life changes and alters plans. You have captured int well it these two lines. A lot to ponder today.

    the certainty of change
    splashes upon every promise

    ReplyDelete
  8. "the certainty of change"- isn't that so beautifully ironic?

    ReplyDelete
  9. An interesting viewpoint on promises. I was reared to believe promises are sacred, to be kept at all costs. I find it sad to think "the certainty of change splashes upon every promise". Compelling words!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love your approach to this, how often a promise is a declaration of something to be broken.. or maybe hiding something. All the aspects ring true, and that promise in the end seems like fog itself. This has to be my favorite of yours I have read to date.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Björn. I consider that to be very high praise, indeed.

      Delete
  11. Oh. My. Word. I absolutely adore this entire piece. You have painted a scene that is set so poignantly I think my heart stopped beating. And, "the certainty of change
    splashes upon every promise"---wowzers. That is for sure. Brilliant, Wendy, utterly brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. The tanka, actually inspired the prose. Because, when you think about it, even the simplest, most innocuous promise such as, for example, 'eat your spinach and I'll take you for ice cream later' - does not come with a 100% guarantee. Any number of things could prevent that from happening. And then, of course there are the promises that are made in good faith, but there is something unknown when the promise is made - such as in the case of an undetected health issue. All promises carry that flaw - that they must be carried out "later" or "forever" - and that intrigued me.

      Delete
  12. I love your river photo.....and the skill with which you imbued this scene with normality, the more startling to the reader when she reaches the conversation. I think, in this instance, she should accompany him to appointments from now on. LOL. We are at that time of life when doctors begin to have a bit more to say to us. Smiles.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Time has it's way with us no matter how we try to wiggle out.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very good. That was an interesting and enjoyable read.
    ZQ

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh how body-tingling. I could feel your intellect in your piece here. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What streaks of brilliance, of wisdom, in your post here, Wendy - the two separate looks at "promises."

    And your tanka is stunning. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  17. P.S. Finally getting back to blogging a little bit more after 3-4 weeks of the internet being on then off then on then off then on.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love this, how you tied in the ominous, twilight promise. Lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Masterfully crafted intriguing piece. The foreboding weather is a perfect mirror to the spoken promise.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is such an interesting presentation. It takes quite a lot of growing up to deal with broken promises

    Thank you for dropping in at my Sunday Standard this week

    much love...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, Wendy, this poem has me shaking. It's impossible not to see the worry (the knowing) in her practical voice. The anxiety is only increased by the set up--after learning so much about how she perceives promises, and then listening to the doctor promise that all is well, all I can do is imagine that "reassuring" smile on his face, the one that does nothing but create more worry... even annoyance.

    This one touched me deeply. The structure, the tone, the mood, the theme... everything is brilliantly written.

    And your wee note at the end makes it rather ominous.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love all parts of this one, Wendy. The tanka summarizes everything - promises made / done, could happen or not but hey, its all good. Interesting supertition about promises :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. The atmosphere of the understated totally reveals the truth of promises and what they hide. Powerful.

    ReplyDelete
  24. A beautiful read Wendy that chills me to the core ~ I seldom make promises anymore as life changes so quickly ~ Have a good weekend ~

    ReplyDelete