Prayer for Lisa

Shaken, afraid, I hold you
Helpless here inside my arms.
Lost in that frail dignity
Of trust, you sleep - and I try
To take you into my warmth
And the warmth of the fire's glow.

Nothing I can say, or do,
Will come to change anything.
If you should waken, thunder
Breaking into my whisper
Like words I can scarcely mean -
Child, what shall I say to you?

You lie there so lost and still,
Your small hot hand clenched in mine
With a wavering purpose.
I can only hold you close,
Too terrified to listen
To your breath's short rise and fall.

Or my own, held silent here
In the darkness, surrendered
To what takes and moves to prayer
The heart afraid of sleep where
Night could fall, your cry unheard.
Or betray some quieter fear.

Cold, sudden, the wind blows through.
Outside the storm awakens
A trespass into spaces
Irresolute and starless
As the night, dimmed and immense.
And there are no answers. No.


  1. This poem seems a form of prayer. I am so enwrapped by the personal struggle in expression of realization that the storm encroaches on my own space in the poem.
    "Outside the storm awakens
    A trespass into spaces"
    So many elements paid close attention to; all drawing the reader in. heart wrenching and lovely.

  2. Short link-

  3. Every parent will understand.... I'd look at the word "try" in the first stanza... I want something stronger there, and the "try" in the second stanza makes it feel even weaker. Also, the word "so" in the third stanza. Stronger: "you lie there, lost and still" Nitpicky stuff, but think about it. The last stanza, as always, takes the breath away.

  4. *sighs* Beautiful, makes me hold my breath to try and stop my heart feeling it too much.

  5. Thanks for the kind and thoughtful comments. I set myself a heptasyllabic line and forward-reverse rhyming structure, and within that form already revised the poem several times. All in all, I'm happy with the way the poem finally settled.


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