The Laws Of My Nature

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Hi Everyone.  Yes, I’ve been missing in action. I’m still in recovery from the whirlwind of moving and all of the stuff that life has thrown my way while I was busy with other things. It continues to be an up and down time as I learn to deal with uncertainty and the changes that aging brings, never mind what’s happening out in the world. I still have some chronic pain in my shoulders, but it slowly gets better when I allow myself to rest, instead of taking on the world.

With spring’s arrival I signed up for a wonderful on-line writing workshop taught by Martha Beck, an amazing life coach and writer in her own right.  Called Write Into Light, it was just what I’ve been  needing to get my writing going again. I’d been sitting and staring at my screen waiting for words to arrive in my noggin like they used to.  Even writing a blog post every week was something I couldn’t do, so I just let it go for a while. 

After my book was published I knew I wanted to start writing poetry again but I put that idea way up high on a shelf thinking I’d get to it once life was more certain and had the steadiness I was looking for. I know there’s no such thing, but I’m famous for fooling myself. So when I read the description for Martha’s workshop, I knew it was time to act.  

We’re just moving into the fourth week of this three month adventure and after messing around with the first assignment for several days, I found myself happily writing a poem about a recent experience I had had here in my new community, which I admit I’ve been having trouble adjusting to.  It is the first poem I have written in five years.

I’m an independent old crone who has always lived on my own land and done my own thing without breaking the law or getting into major trouble.  So when I started moving plants around and adding others to my tiny garden, I had a run in with the Home Owners Association. It wasn’t all that serious, but my feelings were hurt and my sense of freedom was shattered. 

As a result I came up with this poem.  The writing assignment was to write 500 or fewer words in any genre about “how I’m succeeding by failing.”  Here it is:

The Laws Of My Nature

I paint large bold  abstracts
Express my love of color
Vermillion for angst
Blues and yellows
For sadness and fear
On my pallet I mix joyful tears
Confusion with what’s left in my heart
Sometimes magenta
Raw sienna
Soft gentle violet

Time has worn away my caution
My willingness to be quiet
Live the way the rest do
Who keep their blinds closed all day
So that morning’s glory won’t fill their hearts
With sunshine   gentle showers
That wash away dark bitter grit
Filling our world with anger

When I moved lifeless
Nandina from the front of my wall
Replaced them with irises  peonies
And hellebores for winter color
I was scolded
You need permission they said
As if I left my seat to go to the lavatory
Before I had raised my hand
They prefer the grayness of concrete
Shrubs of little color mostly low growing
Distanced apart   occasional
Japanese maples give a sprinkle of dark red

When spring arrived I bought large pots
Blue green in color  planted begonias
Fuchsia   radiant geraniums
Added rosemary spearmint Basil
A touch of flavor
To an otherwise bland setting

I don’t color within the lines anymore
I’m no longer ten years old
Rather seventy-five  ready to let go
Of the tattered carousel we still ride on 

My spirit dances in the wind
With the purple ruffles of my taffeta skirt
Free as the bluebirds that feed outside my open window


I hope you’re all having a wonderful spring!


  1. Oh I LOVE that poem! Keep coloring your world in whatever shades you want!

  2. Ohhhhhhh, what a wonderful poem. I’m so glad you shared it here.

    I, too, am in a year-long writing program hosted by UW-Madison. My mentor is a Pushcart award nominee. This go-round (book three) I’m working on fiction—a psychological thriller—and I’m enjoying it tremendously!

  3. Joan Rough says:

    Thank you Laurie, for your wonderful words. I’m thrilled you’ve jumped into fiction. I’m excited to hear more about it and to read it when it’s done!

  4. First, I love your poem! And, so very glad you’re writing again. The world needs your words, your thoughts and feelings and perspectives. So many of us are struggling with all that life has dished out and the changes we are facing every day, inside and out. Second, HOAs and the like have always irritated me and after one bad experience have managed to avoid them. This is not always possible, however . But, I would suggest you continue to color outside of the lines in any and every way you can! It’s what we’re supposed to do now – show the world how ridiculous some of their rules are!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Dear Dorothy, thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. I will continue to color outside of the lines as I really don’t know how to stay within them. I’ve been a free spirit most of my life and will continue to be as long as I’m physically and mentally able.

  5. Deborah Zarrett says:

    Lovely expression of who you are in the bubble of where you are!
    Some rules need to be broken as long as you don’t hurt you or anyone else.
    Keep on coloring with your words and self expression. I enjoyed the read.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Deborah, I’m happy you stopped by and enjoyed what I had to say. My brother told me this morning that I’ve been breaking rules all of my life. I was a hard kid to control at times but it was my way of coloring outside of the lines even then.

      Thanks so much for you comment and I hope you come visit again!