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Not There Yet

A Poem

By Gabriel HuizengaPublished 9 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
1

What do I call strength?

To always mean the things that I say -

and, though I am not there yet,

To say "I love you," without delay -

and though this bar I haven't met,

To, in my dear friends' darkest hours, stay -

and, though imperfect and prone to fret,

To change my mind, not insist on 'my way' -

and, though the contrary remains deeply inset,

To seek warm color, when life grows gray -

and, though burdened and blinded by regret,

To earnestly, honestly, hourly pray -

and, though failing this expecation I set,

to choose a thing one fateful day -

and, though I am not there yet,

To choose it again, by morn and at night

And again, and again! To fight that good fight.

*

What do I call strength?

Most of all, to love the man who is not there yet;

To look in the mirror and cut merciful slack

To that broken seeker, so full of regret;

To have compassion all the same, for him staring back

and for every other soul who is not there yet.

***

Though this piece would normally be submitted to the 'Poets' Community on Vocal, I've decided to submit it under the 'Men' one instead. This does mean that there is a minimum requirement of 600 words, so I will just wax eloquent a bit about my journey in writing this poem. It was inspired by my reflections on the societal pressures that I feel, and that I believe are felt by many men, especially (and obviously) in regards to the concept of strength. Clearly, I perceive deeper strength in one's ability to orient themselves towards a more loving, gentle, and kind existence than I do in the more conventional realm of physical power. This is not to say that working out/exercising in the pursuit of greater physical strength should ever be disdained; on the contrary, I greatly admire the ability to commit oneself to an exercise goal or regimen and see it through. The point of this poem is not to belittle the pursuit or value of physical strength so much as it is to highlight the incredible significance of mental and emotional health and strength as well, as they are realms which I believe we men are too often trained by society to neglect. As I understand it, the pursuit of these latter strengths requires, in certain ways, a similar approach to one who would like to grow physically stronger; there is a commitment to growth and an attempt at consistency of character that is required. But just as crucial as that initial commitment is the mindset of grace for oneself and one's own struggles (which of course opens one up to being gracious towards others in their own journies). I suppose that is what I would say the whole poem is ultimately about- a commitment to growth and love, but which is fully honest about one's own shortcomings throughout every part of that process.

I should also say that I do believe the struggles which I discuss in the above poem can in many ways be experienced/related to by any human, and would it be glad if others who do not fall into the category of man are able to find solace in my words! I just felt, particularly in light of my own experience in writing the poem, that it would be meaningful and fitting to add it to this relatively new community on Vocal. I hope that all readers may find some new insight, comfort, or inspiration from it.

Well, I believe that when I finish this final paragraph I will have at that point reached the 600 words necessary- so I will close this little reflection out now. Thank you very much for reading! I would love to hear any insights or experiences, whether similar to mine or wildly different, if any readers feel comfortable sharing. All the best, friends :)

MasculinityIssuesInspiration
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About the Creator

Gabriel Huizenga

Twas for love of words that I first joined this site:

Poetry, essays, and dear short stories too;

For to live one's best is to read, and to write!

So find me in words here, and I'll find you 💙

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Reader insights

Outstanding

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  1. Compelling and original writing

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    Original narrative & well developed characters

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