Breaking Free

“We’ll know as children again all that we are
destined to know, that the water is cold
and deep, and the sun penetrates only so far”
~ Jim Harrison from Death Again


Torn from parents

hearts ripped apart–

how it starts–

the cycle of hate

spinning behind gates.

Business we’re told,

souls are sold

in heat or dank cold

children are taught

the rotational fear,

fraught frontiers–

till some break free

to lead us

from insanity.


This is a quadrille for dVerse, where Kim has asked us to use the word cycle, and a response to Day 18 of Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason, inspired by the poetry of Jim Harrison. Last night we saw Audra McDonald in concert. One of the songs she performed was a medley of “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific (Rodgers and Hammerstein) and “Children Will Listen” from Into the Woods (Sondheim).





58 thoughts on “Breaking Free

  1. I like the phrase “rotational fear” — an interesting way to describe how we pass it on from one generation or group of people to another.

  2. I just heard the recording of the little girl crying for her daddy and begging for someone to call her aunt so she can go to her aunt’s house. What has our country become? 😦

    • Someone mentioned your comment, and I was sure I replied, but I don’t see it (or replies to some other people). Yes, that recording was heart-breaking. I honestly could not listen to it. Every day there seems to be more horror.

  3. I remember you mentioning Audra before and looking up her singing schedule!
    I like both of those songs. They do have such deep meaning behind the lighter tone in the songs.
    I’m so glad you referred to situations which are currently upsetting me, Merril. I was thinking about children and being separated from their parents in the immigration process.

  4. I was interested to see that you got your inspiration form a musical medley, Merril, – I haven’t seen or listened to a musical in years. When I was little my favourites were Carousel and South Pacific. I love that there are sad stories beneath the Quadrille as well as a political message on the surface, especially:.
    ‘souls are sold
    in heat or dank cold’
    ‘…some break free
    to lead us
    from insanity.’

    • Thank you very much, Kim. It is so awful what is happening here.
      I love theater and musical theater. I grew up listening to albums of my parents, and then introduced our daughters to them–and they were in musicals in high school and college.

  5. Yes, hearts ripped apart. You capture the times well, Merril. Maybe heart-ripping should be a word. The violence of the word seems to describe the situation better than heartbreaking.

  6. Oops, I came back to read your response to my reading this. Sometimes, I don’t always do this in a timely manner. I felt like I was in “good company” here with Colleen Chesbro and others.3

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