Folly and Fear

What a strange word is


And what a strange life

Is the life lived in tantamount

Bondage to those hearts we say

Yours is dear to mine

And so the balance swings

One pays for the other’s tears

In silence of their own

And suffers for the swinging of



I could have withheld all

But it wouldn’t have saved me

The loss.


What is your greatest strength

And your greatest weakness?


I care

Too much.


It was so true then

When I said those words

After pensive thought

Fearing a dismal end to

A promising interview.


I know a different truth

Of my own heart now,



The flexing sinew of my soul

Is that I know the

Price of caring too much,

And the place where I kneel sweating,

Eyes forming tears from the pain of

Over-extension is that


I am always willing to pay.


Somehow that cost never seems too high

Weighed against the precious joy

Of seeing the other


Or be reassured of being



Perhaps it was a childhood

Of doubt that leaves me

Incapable of leaving others so.

Perhaps it was seeing a man

Who was braver than any I knew

Show tears to his adopted daughter


Perhaps it is the dead God-father

The absent friends

The girls who lied to me

Or the boys who were mean

Perhaps the time spent alone and afraid

Or the time contemplating and writing


Or perhaps I am a pattern

Of circumstance

A thread on the loom of life

An islander who sees others islands

And says to the self

“Risk it.

You could lose.

You could be halved in the self.

You might have tears,

But there will also be

That which matters to you in life.”


What is your greatest strength

My heart

And your greatest weakness?

The voice that says to me

In the night when I am alone

And tired

Weary of crying

Afraid of losing

Deeply wary of all others

And committed to discovering life

That humans

Are always worth investing



You’re teaching them how to learn.

(I should have answered)


I’m teaching them

How to love.

But I left it to silence

And that was

Folly indeed.


~ by Rebecca Erickson on January 15, 2012.

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