Kathleen Norris, acedia, and uncorking the wine

I suffer from an all too common writer’s ailment. It is an elusive demon, refusing easy corral, and lives on in spite of my best efforts to subdue it. Kathleen Norris, a favorite writer of mine, stakes a claim on this little inner hurricane of acedia, well-known to the 4th century desert monastics, and suffering from much needed exposé in books like her bestseller, “A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life: Acedia and me.”

This thing is attacking me where it hurts, writer’s blah. Frankly, there are times when writer’s block would be the better option. Better to write nothing than derivative bullshit, right? At least that’s what the self-pitying artist might be tempted to say.

Now, to be clear, I’m certainly not in a huge doldrum necessarily. I still love to write. I think I’m fairly good at it. But, at times, I wake up in a cold sweat and realize that I just read a collection of poetry by a 17 year old more intriguing, probing, and disturbing than anything I recall writing.

This poem is offered from such musings.

* * *

Uncorking the wine

Breathless like wine, still corked and waiting

in its darkness, sits that one, a one, this one.


Wheezing and sick, that soul, a soul, this soul,

like leaden clouds coaxing out un-fallen rain.


Sometimes bitter is a sky, unwilling to cough up

her best stories and wait for an audience.


What little disturbances, these sagging wits,

trying in vain to see into the sap of things.


What small crescendo to so great a symphony,

the song-less word, peals back upon itself,

just enough to pair with a mind in domino.


What a blunted song, gutted and safe,

lost in its own impotence, a flaccid regale.


What a forgetful space, its shape insufficient

to bear the weight of dents and denials.


What fraternity of the inconsistent, sparing nothing

in pursuit of everything, to gain nothing.


What a pale sentence, well-intentioned illness of

the crouched and waiting, waiting for anyone to come


and speak.



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