The Fourth Wall

Kerry over in the Garden prompted us to write a poem  "breaking the fourth wall".  In the theater, movie or book,  this is when the main character starts talking to the audience. An interaction first it is a bit dis-concerning. We are to attempt this with a poem!

Over at Poets United the prompt is Shades of Grey.   We are to write about
the lines between black n' white, the grey areas. We can chose a subject like love/hate...etc.    I'm going with life and death.

 *Photo via here

I am going to share with you what happened these past two weeks. I wasn't going to put this on my blog.  I try to share good things, positive views.  This is not positive.

Two Saturdays ago my daughter was returning from a marching band competition.  She returned in the early hours of the morning.  When I picked her up, she said there had been a serious accident. It was rumored, two boys from her school had died.  She was distraught and everyone was txting and tweeting, trying to find out what had happened. It was true, two boys had died in a car accident earlier in that evening.  Bottom line was they were not wearing seat belts,  the two that died.  Two other lived. One was a  Senior this year and the other student in my daughter's class.  Both funerals were held at the school open casket. My daughter had the flu on Thursday and did not attend, the older boy's funeral.  Thursday early evening, we heard sirens and then I hear a helicopter.  Daughter says there is a bad accident.  Rumors again teenagers involved.  I know this is close to the house, I can hear more sirens and everything stops near the top of our road.  I live a mile from the top...I found out later a helicopter had to land in the field, one girl had to be flown, to a trauma center.  These girls were returning from the funeral.  The vehicle went into the other lane and was hit. Then another vehicle rounding the corner hit the girl's car again.  Both accidents the teenagers were driving this scene two teenage girls died.

Death finds you
it  knocks on your door
 one hopes it doesn't involve the
whose lives are just beginning
They wear rose colored glasses
They are invincible!
Can't happen to me...happens to them, you know
those people over on Maple Street
those people on the edge of town

Is the excuse for not wearing a seatbelt
Get that smirk off your face
I see you
I'd like to smack you
No one should be 
smiling, right now...

I see the Zombies
in town
I have been one
the grey dove
lands in your yard
lost souls
cry n' scream
but nothing will help
the dove keeps crying
the vagrant mourns

When it happened to me
I appeared
in a pod surrounded by
silver tears
My thoughts like driftwood
I moved through the day
in a sea of fog
a vapor of what
Why him
Why her
Why me

Gray mattered memories
are the only
but for now
just hurt
like fractured glass fragments
that tore into their, his, her
they now tear

YOU know this pain
maybe not in this way
but you have walked this
 this cold
stone granite path
and if you haven't
You will
You will enter the zone
the fog state of pea soup
and you will
barf and the bile
of your pain
and rise again
like a bulimic's 
the future is purged

Your memories
will protect your soul
but you must
listen to them
Do you hear me....
Yeah, YOU
your memories
are all you have
the love n' your memories
the silver pearls of
their soul

Now, go
live and dance for those
who can't
Do it
for those who are lost...
their love, their young, their
sons, their daughters
 their hope
Dance damn it!

© Ellen Wilson

The goal of this type of poem is to make you uncomfortable, uneasy as if I really was talking to you?   Did it feel that way?  I know I have a terrible headache now...


Daydreamertoo said…
Hard hitting Ella.
So sad to see them die, especially the young. I hope it wasn't through texting. There are so many dreadful accidents caused through young people texting while driving now, it's even overtaken drunk driving as the main cause of traffic accidents. How sad for all the family and friends of each of these kids.
Makes me want to take Chloe's cell phone away because I've already seen her tell her friend's she's nearly been hit by something or other, texting while crossing the roads.
Powerful writing Ella, your point hits home, vividly.
Johanna Garth said…
Yes, it felt uneasy and uncomfortable and made me remember the wasted lives of children I who attended my high school that were cut short by car accidents involving alcohol and bad judgment.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Wow, Ellie. Powerful, and one of your best. It is good to address this topic. First, I love your banner and the quote on it. Beautiful. I am so sorry for you and your daughter for how these deaths impact you. And for their families, who have lost their hopes and dreams.

I love the line "sleepwalking in a pod surrounded by silver tears". Also "the dove keeps crying"...and the sad-eyed vagrant.

Fantastic write. You nailed it.
Mary said…
Yes, we have to live and dance for those who cannot. This is such a heartfelt write, Ella. It is so hard when young people die so senselessly without wearing seatbelts. And yes, we will all walk that 'cold granite path' one way or another and experience the 'fog state of pea soup.'
Kerry O'Connor said…
Before I even read your poem, I have to respond to your tragic story. As a teacher, my worst nightmare is the death of children, and unfortunately, it has happened more times than I care to mention in my 26 year career, but it never gets easier. Reading about it doesn't get easier either. I have grave misgivings about teenagers behind the wheels of cars.
Kerry O'Connor said…
Now to the poem itself...

These words hit hard, Ella:

Do you hear me....
Yeah, YOU
your memories
are all you have...

We are all guilty of complacency, of the surety that tragedy happens to other people you read about in the newspaper.

Lolamouse said…
This one really hit home. We've lost so many teens in our county to driving accidents. And now my daughter has her learner's permit and will be driving herself soon. My stomach just knots up. Yes, your poem made me VERY uncomfortable. The line "the future is purged" was terrifically morbid.
Marian said…
ellen, i am so, so sorry to hear about this and so sorry for your pain and the pain and fear of your children. so sorry.

also, with these lines you have captured the experience through the eyes of a teenager:

like a bulimic's
the future is purged

that is amazing, right there. sending only love and hugs to you and your kids and your community.
Laurie Kolp said…
What a horrible tragedy... I feel so bad for everyone involved. The poem does make you think about driving safely, a message I wich teens could hear. *hugs*
Wanda said…
Oh my what sad news. It's heartbreaking to hear about accidents involving those so young but we never know when death will come knocking.
It did feel that way.
I don't know why people don't wear seatbelts. It makes all the difference in the world.
Very sad that four teens lost their lives.
Scriptor Senex said…
Ella, so sorry for you, your daughter and the children's families and friends. Your daughter must be so upset at learning about the uncertainty of life in this harsh way.

A most powerful post and poem - and it certainly achieved its objective.

Why him
Why her
Why me

Now, go
live and dance for those
who can't
Do it
for those who are lost...

So good.

Tamara said…
I'm not one of those people who cries very easily--and we all read the news often enough that we've developed the ability to read tragedies but not FEEL them, because if you allowed yourself to FEEL every tragedy you read about, you'd be a constant, crying mess.

So, I read the post and it was very tragic and sad and awful and I didn't let myself FEEL it.

And then I got to the poem and read that. And there was no way to block that out or NOT feel those words. I was in tears by the end.

That was one of the most powerful, moving pieces of poetry I've ever read in my life.
Old Ollie said…
Nice - you really let the words role!
Kim Nelson said…
Emotion-packed, Ella, and a great release for you, I hope.
Helen said…
I could barely get through your poem without turning my head away .. the words too painful. With teenage grandchildren who drive, I feel that punch in the gut when I hear a siren. I can't imagine the pain everyone impacted by these tragedies is feeling.

A very worst mightmare story, which is found right across the world. Youth who steal cars and 'joy-ride.' That was a frequently used term in Belfast, which resulted in multiple deaths, nightly, in stolen cars.
Now, it continues everywhere, apparently because young people are bored...I cannot respond to that non-excuse, when death is the only sure answer.

Shelly said…
Powerful poem.

Hugs and chocolate,
Naturally Carol said…
Hi Ella..such senseless loss and pain. xox
Margaret said…
I sat here a bit numb with fear. Sorrow for those four, their families. My mind returning to MY children. Feeling guilty for that. Oh, this is so sad, I can only imagine your anguish. Yes, the fourth wall has been broken here. And I am so. very. sorry.
Green Speck said…
It's sad when things like these happen ... death is always dark and hard hitting !!!
Renee said…
My heart goes out to you and your family and the families that lost their children. So painful and unnecessary. It will be a moment that stays with your daughter forever. Your poem is absolutely stunning and really nails all of the emotions going on with everyone touched by the tragedies. Just give your kids big hugs and hold them close. Pray they make good decisions.
Brian Miller said…
laurie told me to come by...sadly we are resonating....we lost two students yesterday morning...believe it or not a mustang as well...the last 2 days have been a hard walk here, many of the kids prayers def go to the families in yours as well...its a horrible tragedy....
Anonymous said…
Ella.. this poem is just so THERE. the appeals, the commands, the imagery .. everything hits just the right chord..
Anonymous said…
So terribly tragic. Agh. How can people not wear seatbelts? Just so so sad. Hardhitting poem in midst of tragic situation. k.
Mary Ann Potter said…
Silver pearls of the soul - dance, damn it --- powerful, powerful, powerful. This work was created out of terrible circumstances. I pray for healing of the hearts of those so afflicted. And I applaud your beautiful work here.
Susan said…
" They wear rose colored glasses
They are invincible!
Can't happen to me...happens to them, you know"

It wiped those rose-colored glasses right of my nose. Did you read it to your daughter? Didn't she love it? And hug you? And put it in the school newspaper? And ask you to read it at the Parent/Teacher meetings, obscenities and all?

Lay it on, Ella--you are the master--and best of all the end DANCE! For them, DANCE! How dare you not think? not Dance!

You have a lucky daughter.
Ella said…
Hi Susan-Yes, I did read it to my daughter. She thanks me every day for being her mom. She knows life is fragile, even at her tender age. No, no school paper... but I would read it to a meeting! I witnessed a girl die, when I was 15, she 16. I do know what it feels like-so I could go there! Thank you Susan @>------

Mary Ann-I do, too! I was behind the grandmother of one of the students at the mail today...gosh, so sad! I too pray for them-Thank you!

Manicdaily-I know, I thought the same thing. The other accident was txt related, but not the first one. Hard hitting for the tragic~

Shivani-Thank you! I guess I broke the fourth wall...that is what one poet told me~

Brian-I am so sorry to hear this! Prayers for those families in your neck of the woods! Why, why, why...I do not get the sporty car, for this age group. Gosh, I was happy, with a junker-wheels meant freedom. So heart goes out to you and those suffering! Shocking...

Renee-Thank you! Yes, really that is all we can do-hope n' pray and try to teach them well. I get nervous when my daughter drives-it is for me the worst part of them growing up!

Green Speck-well said, yes it is...always dark!

Margaret-I am sorry I made you numb! No is the human condition~ We do think of our own, when these tragedies happen~ How can we not...(((hugs)))

Naturally Carol-Thank you!

Shelly-Thank you...yes, lots of hugs~

Eileen-Thank you for sharing...I didn't know this. Maybe I saw it in a movie- A crazy world we live in...

Helen-I know hearing sirens makes my blood run cold! Yes, an unnecessary tragedy~

Kim-Yes, I think it did help me. I wasn't close to the families affected, but it took me back to seeing a fatal accident, when I was that age. My daughter and her friends wondering how to act, how to feel... I told her to let her emotions surface and let them out. Holding back does not help...Thank you~

Ollie-Thank you! A wise monk would know this ;D

Tamara-I am sorry you cried! I too know exactly what you we don't and can't engage when we hear all the trauma in the world. You are so right...
It is true, we need to live and be reminded what a gift life is. Some people really have to fight for it and some take it for granted~
Thank you~ @>-------

John-Thank you! I know you will dance :D

Alex-Thank you! Yes, it truly is one of those moments in life that just makes you wonder what where they thinking?! so very sad...

Wanda-Yes, so true! We never know...

Laurie-Thank you! I think the open coffin was a huge message the day of the funeral. All of the students were shocked... We need to be reminded to treasure and respect our lives~

Marian-Thank you! Yes, I did think those words, would define the feelings, of not being able to cope~

Lolamouse-I am in the same boat as you! My daughter is driving and keeps pushing us to get her license. I know she isn't ready and I won't take her, till she is.
I have the same knots, you do!

Kerry-Thank you for sharing! I think we become blindsided by it. I even had a friend say to me once, "Only bad things happen to you"-my Dad had died and later on my first child. I'll never forget her saying that, as she put her brand new born baby in the car, in her arms not the car seat! I was shocked!

Mary-Yes, we all do~ Just I would rather it when a person has lived a full life~ Thank you~

Johanna-I think we all know a few of those~ It redefines us, at least it should~

Bren-The second accident was texting! The driver crossed the line, it was dark and hit the other car. I see it all the time driving towards my daughter's is tragic!

aprille said…
I see now....
So sad for so many.
'Belt up' isn't fashionable these days amongst the young. Oh will they ever learn...
Hope your tragedy inspired poem will reach some of them.
Ella said…
Thank you Aprille! It is so odd to hear this kind of behavior!

Thank you :D
I'm so sorry to hear this.
We've had two accidents in our area recently as well involving girls in their teens/early twenties not wearing seatbelts. Fortunately they all lived, but are still dealing with the injuries. At least one is still in the hospital. I don't understand why they wouldn't have their seatbelts on. It's such an easy way to save your life.
Ella said…
Rachel-I don't get it either? I am shocked by it honestly~
I am sorry to hear this and worry it is becoming a new trend?! Why?!
I am happy you didn't lose anyone, in your area~ It is so tragic n' sad!
Thank you!
Libby Meador said…
I love your command to "Dance, damn it." But it is so hard to do. So many little deaths in just one death. Yes, Ella, you have to slap the living with the truth.
Ella said…
Hi Libby, Thank you! My dance was for those not in the grieving process. It was for those not at this time grieving, to live more, dance and see the beauty of the now!
At any time we could be grieving, we have to embrace the moment :D
Yes, slap the living...shake'em n' wake'em! (((hugs))) @>-----------
Hannah said…, Ella...I'm tearful for the loss the hurting of those who have lost...this is so sad and unfortunate. You accomplished this fourth wall breaking and the space of gray very, very poignantly. My applause and ((hugs)) to you and your daughter. How terrible. ♥ SS
Ella said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ella said…
Hannah-Yeah, it has been rough! She only really knew one of the kids that died. She did know the rest, just not as well. Two funerals at the high school. The other two, the girls, one had graduated and the other had moved to another close by school. Insane, is what it is....thanks Hannah! <3 SS
Sean Vessey said…

Words of comfort fil the air
Not filling the holes of the heart
Or the spaces where life was

Tracks of tears shine bright
The taste of grief is the salt of us
We are together in sorrow miles apart

this is the second time this week that i've heard of teenagers dying in car accidents. my granddaughter will be old enough to get her learner's permit in less than eight months and it terrifies me! such senseless tragedies!

a VERY powerful write, Ella! *hugs*

i hope you and your family are able to have a Happy Thanksgiving!