Friday Philosophy: Clutter – Three Poems

I recently had to empty one office and move all my shit into another one in a different building.  As often has happened when I have done this sort of thing, I uncovered an old scrap of paper.  On it were three poems.  Searching my data banks has revealed that two of them were micro-planed into poems which I have published before, in slightly different form.

Because of the start of the new semester, that’s about all I’ve got to share this evening.

Originally I was going to write a piece entitled In the good old days, they just called us perverts, but I didn’t find the time to flesh it out.  If anyone wants to discuss the topic, I’m game to do so in the comments.

The upper left side of the paper displayed the following:

Old Dog – New Tricks

Having refused

to continue being

who I was

I had to learn

to be who I wished

to be

Unload all

or just some?

What changes

and what remains?

It’s like trying

to pair old socks

What part is me

and what part was pretense?

What part only

existed for the sake

of appearance?

Learning how to learn

is even harder

Thank God

I was a teacher

Apparently that was written near the end of January of 2006, since I found this in my archives:

In Pairs

New Tricks
riffs on a theme


Total refusal

to be who I was

balked at the concept

finally stood up

New environment

Learn to fit in

or face rejection

Is it ever enough?

There are always bigots

“Learning to fly

but I ain’t got wings”

And coming down

can smash your face

into the ground

It’s like trying

to pair up old socks

only much more serious

What portion is me

and what part pretense?

Non-vital essence

What only exists

for the sake of appearance

for convenience

for comfort, safety?

Being dead is safe


Learning is so hard

Learning how to exist

painfully harder

There is no blueprint

no textbook to consult

nor guide on this trail

I am a teacher

I must lead myself

–Robyn Serven

–January 25, 2006

On the right hand side of the page, only this had been written:


Like sloughing off

old skin

Leaving pieces

along my life path

Stashing this here

and that there

One must tear down

before one rebuilds

Again, I found this in my archives:



Like sloughing off

old skin

leaving chunks

along a life path

flaying myself alive

stashing a lump here

and a sliver there

One must tear down

before one rebuilds

sometimes embracing

portions of the past

bits left behind

sometimes not

always hoping

that joy might arise

from burying pain

and trying to forget

where it was left

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–January 24, 2006

The third poem was from the lower left corner of the page.  

One Must Die

Who was I?

Who was he?

It took a sharp blade

to divide us

It was painful

since he had to die

but it was more painful

that he lived

There was only

one vessel

At first I could find nothing in the archives which seemed to correspond.  Then I changed my search criterion and found this:



He was

I am and will be

It took a sharp blade to divide us

He carried me through tough times

and brought me to where I could be

but it was unbearable

too utterly suffocating

and bitterly ravaging

that he lived while I hid

wasting away

slowly rotting

the years away

a life mislived

It was him

or both of us

There was only one vessel

One had to die

I chose

I chose him

I do not regret that he lived

I am who he wished he could be

but could not manage

to be

Not to be

was the alternative

so I chose

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–January 25, 2006

Thinking I might have to supply a graphic to go with One Must Die, I created the following:

Ripped Apart

The little sliver of pink amidst the blues on the bottom was intentional, representing what it felt like to be my former self.


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    • Robyn on September 4, 2010 at 00:10
  1. Turning and turning in the widening gyre  

    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere  

    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst  

    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;

    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.  

    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out  

    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert  

    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,  

    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,  

    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it  

    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.  

    The darkness drops again; but now I know  

    That twenty centuries of stony sleep

    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,  

    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,  

    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    -W.B. Yeats

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