Gelida Terram: Stormclouds

***This is a piece I wrote after having written the original This Poem a couple of days ago. There was a line in that poem that made me understand there was more to tell to this story than just those two little paragraphs. I was upset by the story that my heart was telling, so much in fact, that I was in tears just thinking about writing this piece. It was very difficult to write and it deals with some very tragic aspects of the lives of the two characters in it. I value each and every one of you that comes here to look at my work. I want to make sure that I protect you from anything that could potentially harm you.  I make no assumptions about your strength or your ability to safely process the subject matter of this post. I just want it to be understood exactly what we are witnessing here and that this is not like any other piece I have written. For me, it is heartbreaking. I find it impossible to read without watery eyes. It deals specifically with the subjects of losing a child, severe depression, hopelessness and suicide.  I have no personal experience with much of this subject matter. and please understand I make no claim to understand the thought process involved with much of it. This story just needed to be told. I am proud of what it creates. and I would never post anything I wasn’t proud of. Thank you all for being here. please do not feel like you will offend Me by not reading this or commenting on it. I understand completely.***

Gelida Terram
(Frozen Ground)

The ground here freezes
hard like Stone
From January to Mid March
can’t nothing be put in it
wasn’t already there
before the Frost came

She stood there
Posture Implying Her internal battle
Between Her heart & Gravity
Silently crying
She was Atlas Incarnate

cradling the pieces
of her broken heart
she sought the healing Shadows
beneath the stars by nightfall’s
dark feathered wings

I see Her out there
When the Sun Sets
Her Beauty Afire
Far Away from Her I sit
Like an Icy Moon Watching
from My Lonely Orbit

‘Bout six months
After it
Was the first time
I found Her
Bleeding on the front porch

She had carved Her
leg up deep
under Her linen dress
big pool of crimson
dripping through the
Pinewood boards

in ’64 the War
made Me a doctor
but all I was good for
was putting Skin back
together with Needle and Thread

I offered Her whiskey
She just held the bottle
never touched Her lips
Didn’t shake Her head
Didn’t fight Me
the way the Boys did in the War

We listened to the Coyotes
Yapping back and forth
and the rustle of the Wind
in the lone Oak
While I sewed Her shut by Lantern light

I buried the knives
In August
Near the Well
Buried them deep
While She was Sleeping
Kept one High in the loft for cutting Meat

Woke one night
to the sound of My peacemaker
falling to the floor
She’s a heavy piece
And awful hard to load with delicate hands

‘Bout 6 months
I been keeping that
Six Shooter on My hip
the Iron slung
Snug in its holster
Unloaded with the bullets in my pocket

‘Cept that one night
in November
She hadn’t spoken since
July brought on that
fever what killed our boy

I asked Her if She’d sing
For me
Those old Southern Hyms
She kept deep in Her heart
Like She used to do
Down by the River on a Sunday morning

She hadn’t spoken
Since July
and She had the voice of
An angel as I recollect
But She went out on the Porch to look at the Moon

I conversed
with a bottle of Rot Gut instead
and in its brown
honey voice
I felt the weight lifted from My heart
Fired 5 rounds out back at the night Sky and the Stars

Branded My temple
with the Impression
of the white hot Barrel
when I tried to put the 6th Shot
in My Skull

Finger wouldn’t bend
arm wouldn’t hold
Shaking like
the last leaf of Autumn
I’d piled My courage
in the barn waiting for the Thaw

Dropped My iron
on the ground
threw the bottle into
The wind
and loaded my aging bones into the Bed

Next morning
There was a dusting of snow
on the prairie grass
Didn’t find her at the Well
She didn’t need me to pump
While She held the bucket, hair blowing in Her eyes

I found Her
on the River bank
Pristine white the snow
traced the outline of Her brown hair
Splayed out behind Her head like a mane

One delicate hand
across Her breast
Fingers dipped in
The crimson of The wound
The other around
the grip of that peacemaker, finger on the trigger

Her face turned to the side
Eyes focused on the horizon
They weren’t no longer Storm leaden
Clear and focused on Peace
Her brow was wrinkle free and pale as the Snow

I sat on the ground
With Her
Sat until morning on
the next day
Held Her blood stain fingers
in mine and I hummed Her favorite tune until my voice wore out

Carried Her back
Pulled up the planks
on the porch
nails and all
I ain’t a carpenter but I built that box with broken fingers

The ground here freezes
hard like Stone
From January to Mid March
can’t nothing be put in it
wasn’t already there
before the Frost came

Took a pick axe
Took me three weeks
I only stopped to sleep, slept in the hole
or to change the rags when the handle started sliding
from the blisters and blood

The box was heavy
But it fit
Weren’t no flowers to leave
The snow was coming
day by day
and the air in the morning was a frost coated cloud

’bout 6 months now
The snow is all gone
the wildflowers bloom around
That torn up piece of ground
‘neath that lonely Oak tree

I see her at night
wandering over that hill
She calls me
and I run to answer
With a lantern and some black-eyed susies
I picked and put in a jar with some sage

She runs away
from the light
But I can’t
Go out there without it
I ain’t a young man no more and my eyes are bad

So I’ll scald
My palm against
The hot glass
to let me get a little closer
and some times
I can almost reach out and touch Her before She disappears

These days
The mornings take a little longer
I sit on the edge of the bed
Until the Sun comes up
before I can make my joints move

’bout Six months
And I ain’t no closer
to puttin those boards back
on the porch
I’ve lost my hammer
Somewhere by the river last summer when I went to sit

I had knocked
together a ladder
To get into the loft
Was looking for something
in the hay and I found some hemp rope and tackle

Never was good
at tying a knot
For a horse or a neck tie
Not like those gentlemen
at the saloon
with high hats and 100 dollars to buy a dream

’bout six months
and I can feel
the cold in the air
on my Bare feet
Standing on this timber of splinters high above the barn floor…

Winter’s Chill
Sweeps in from the
But it can not freeze
My Heart
For it will not find it
Vulnerable and Weak
Within My Chest
Instead laying already
In the bitter frost-hardened
Next to the
Pinewood Chariot
That has already carried
To the Stars

….and I step into the empty air to meet Peace


About Eric

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30 Responses to Gelida Terram: Stormclouds

  1. sirenlost says:

    Your poetic storytelling keeps me spellbound … even in tales of desperation and hell. Thank you, Eric, for telling this story — human nature can be misunderstood, but love keeps us all bound.

  2. Rita says:

    Oh, Eric!

    I am shedding tears for the lives and the love you brought to life with these words. They are brilliant, soulful and bring to my heart once more a history that has held me in its grasp for decades.

    Thank you!❤️❤️

  3. rachel says:

    it’s hard to stop the tears that keep falling after reading this. incredible, eric.

  4. Heartafire says:

    I’m blown away by this outstanding and remarkable writing, I want to compare to the works of Carson McCullers. You have a true gift Eric.

  5. Beautiful words, images, and glimpses into the minds of these characters. I am so glad you continued their story. I love this. It’s a gorgeous piece. 💔

  6. This is brilliant, my friend. Deep emotions — you may not have much experience with these feelings but I think you conveyed them nonetheless.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate you saying that. Was a very difficult story to write. You’re appreciation of my work is always awesome! 🙂

  7. Mr Modigliani says:

    I sometimes believe that this is what blogging is for. We are best when we write the things that are the hardest to write, the pieces that tear us apart inside. If I may offer it, I am proud of what you accomplished here and your bravery for doing it

    • Eric says:

      Thank you so much, MM!!! The emotional impact of this piece was massive and I’m glad it resonated with you too. Those compliments are more than kind, fill me with pride. I can’t thank you enough for that.

  8. Ms. Vee says:

    Wow! This is a masterpiece Eric! I read this the day you posted, but I was speechless! You are truly gifted my friend. Blessings and peace. 🙂

  9. Geetha B says:

    This was really a gut wrenching peace and written so soulfully with the taste of desperation lingering all the time. Sometimes we may not have experienced in this lifetime something but our souls remember and perhaps it is when we let go of that hurt too that we find ourselves overwhelmed by all the emotions rushing back to us as if it all happened in this lifetime. A really beautiful write Eric and I can understand it was very hard for you to write but am thankful you chose to do so. Be well my friend ❤

  10. moonskittles says:

    Another emotional write Eric. I am sure your tears have soaked the page as you penned this, and we can see their translucent light as we read each word.

  11. How to express this… There’s so much to say. Supreme story-telling, raw and painful. Beautiful in, what would you say -cadence, rhythm? It feels ‘old’ in the way a story would be passed down through oral tradition – a ballad, maybe. Moved to tears and more… Eric this is amazing. I hope that doesn’t sound trite. I am going to spend hours perusing your blog. Hand over heart.

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