We Cannot Surrender Her



We Cannot Surrender Her

Try as I might to urge her on, she will not go.
She sends me on to test the water
but remains on the shore.
Ankle deep and then no more.
Fingers trailing and then no more.
Having once found a false bottom,
she trusts no foothold.
The falling is the thing, I tell her, yet she holds back from the fall.

Let me go down, I beg her.
I will always bring you up, she answers.
This is the role we alternate being the stand-in for.
What I want she keeps me from.
What she fears I pull her toward.

How many of us, children of the fifties,
find ourselves on this seesaw, wanting to control the ride?
Relax, I tell her, but she can’t relax––fearing what relaxation brings.
She cannot surrender herself.  I cannot be content until she does.
Two-in-one, we rail against each other, then hold hands.
Comforting.  This is enough, she tells me.
Nothing is ever enough, I tell her.

This is my third major rewrite of this poem originally written in 1976. Only three lines still remain from that poem. It is perhaps finished now.

Here is the link if you’d like to participate in dVerse Poet’s Open Link night and here is the link to read other poems for dVerse Poets Open Link Night

20 thoughts on “We Cannot Surrender Her

  1. scotthastiepoet

    Lovely personal and inner dichotomy revealed and laid bare here, Judy – excellent and fresh writing, which was a joy to read…. Regards Scott

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lillian

    I must say first, I love the photos. Did you take them? I have always been enthralled by shadows. They are a part of us….a shadowy part. Sometimes they lead, others they follow. I always wonder when they follow, do they sometimes dance back there and get a mind of their own?
    Children of the fifties….ah….that’s me. My perception of this post is a battle within….two parts of the self. Push and pull. Do it….I can’t…..yes you can. Okay, I can…no you better not.
    An intriguing post. I’ve read it three times 🙂


  3. Marilyn Armstrong

    We are the generation that wants to control the ride or drive, even though we don’t really know how to drive the bus, don’t know the road or where it is going. On some level, we would like to give up the driver’s seat. Just watch the road go by, chat with other passengers … but there’s a drive that keeps telling us to push onward. I think it’s a generational thing. It was true of all the post WWII babies, but it seems to have vanished by the 1960s. So maybe it was a compulsion laid on us by our parents, coming out of their wartime experiences. Beautiful poem regardless and I reblogged it for tomorrow.


  4. Pingback: WE CANNOT SURRENDER HER | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

  5. sanaarizvi

    This is incredibly poignant. 💝 I believe we somehow string our younger selves along in memory, in the sub-conscious as we continue to evolve through the passage of time.


    1. lifelessons Post author

      But I think that “be safe” self begins to predominate as we get older. Enough challenges are thrust at us by aging and health issues and fear takes over. I can feel that struggle rearing its head again and that’s okay. We need a kick in the pants now and then. Perhaps when this corona crisis abates, I’ll be up for another adventure. But where? A much-loved past locaiton or something new?



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