Poetics: Those Pesky Questions of Identity

P1010657It is with great pleasure that I am playing host once more over at dVerse Poets Pub. This time I am asking all our friends, poets and pub-goers to ask themselves some tough questions about identity and belonging. Based on the work of the poet Bhanu Kapil, I gave them a choice of four questions. My effort below is in response to the question:

What lingers when all is said and done?


So… where do you come from?

And where is home?

That long gap before I can answer             if I can answer.


Who helped make you? What? You are? What else am I…

too much to share

for fear of overwhelming.

When you get there, will you know?

Will you know what you are trying?

When will you know to prove


to myself and others oh mother mother


P1010651If not here, where from?

If not now, how will you know?

Who lingers when all is said and done,

who lingers when all done is said?


45 thoughts on “Poetics: Those Pesky Questions of Identity”

  1. i like the twist in that last line asking the question but i n a different way…who are we? where did we come from…these are important questions in understanding ourselves….but also our place in the world…where is home especially…without a home we have no anchor….intriguing prompt maria

    and dont sweat the early opening…smiles.

    1. Erm, yes, epic tech fail… Never mind, will do better next time! By the way, the name is Marina, not Maria…
      I love playing around with word order in sentences, especially in questions – it can produce really interesting results.

  2. Life seems to be composed of a succession of questions for which we continue to seek answers as we formulate more questions.

  3. I love the way this poem has questions folded in on questions. And there are so many factors to our identities too. A great exploration of that, Marina Sofia.

  4. I enjoyed the questions & answers in questions, smiles ~ I think its overwhelming to tell people the complexity of who we are, but maybe bit by bit we can share a part of ourselves ~ Happy Tuesday Marina ~

    1. ‘What else’ can be just one little facet, as we do a very gradual reveal, sometimes teasing, hiding more than we are revealing. We have so much richness within us, so many contradictions, that it takes a lifetime of exploring (and patient listening).

  5. So your answer is another question..and the literally thinking person i am always lends an answer..whether appropriate or not at times..that’s the part i don’t get..sometimes..


    what i will say is this..
    for me at least i know there is now..

    And when i look to the sea and see a nautilus shell..

    what is left after we leave..
    for sure..

    can be art as such..
    so this for sure is what lingers..

    And our modern ways of recording stuff..

    make a potential nautilus shell that lasts forever until this
    species passes too..for whatever may be next…

    That stuff is above my pay grade..

    i rather focus on NOW..:)

  6. All of your questions are ones that will be rolling around in my head for quite some time. Love the twist in yours at the end here, the call to mother… so many of life’s questions we never get the answers to.

  7. when all is said and done…ah that’s the rub….quote for me of the moment…Dietrich Bonhoeffer…”if we say nothing..we say something…if we do nothing…we do something”…so let us do and let us say….. into this moment.

  8. i love how each question seamlessly runs into the next… that is how it is…answer one question and ten others will pop up… it stays interesting our whole life… very cool prompt marina… you challenged me a lot with your questions and i think if we allow them in, it runs deep

  9. “Live the questions . . . .” (Rilke). I like your philosophy of questioning. I like how this poem turns the question around too.

  10. who lingers when all done is said? That’s a perfect end, bcus that’s how it is:
    you ask people lots of q’s to break the ice and get some surface convo going
    and you’re really trying to see who lingers when the convo is over…

  11. My, oh my, my poem in response is so very similar in tone, and conversational; nothing sparkling new under the sun, just different peepholes to gaze from. Your prompt has elicited some wonderful introspection & candor; had fun with it; thanks.

  12. Yes, it’s the questions that are important, because they then lead to other questions that you didn’t know were hiding away inside… Letting them out into the light is often a relief.

  13. ah! yes, the question of all questions.

    There are answers hidden deep inside nature and all universes. The questions shall be received in all of humankind within the next 10 years.

    I love your questions. 🙂

  14. Hi Marina, I know you’ve already commented on my submission for tonight – but was still caught by your theme (always close to my heart in my work…) and your interpretation in particular… Especially loved:

    “too much to share

    for fear of overwhelming…” and your use of lingering too really resonated powerfully for me… Regards Scott

  15. You express those questions we all ask of ourselves…as I experience it, I want things well-defined but need to learn to accept the discomfort of mystery. Thanks for the prompt and for sharing.

  16. Your poem feels swirly and circular…dizzying. The idea of identity is huge and I like how it leads to more questions. Very cool poem and prompt!

  17. Who made you? and What lingers after? Great questions, and certainly a great deal to ponder whether you are the teller or the receiver. I took this prompt from a philosophical viewpoint myself. I may never really have a good answer.

  18. yap who will be their in the end…….. No one to share or care…….. All are alone in the end for you will be left in your own thoughts of the day and even when you look to share you feel odd as people may not be what you are……. Even my mother looks alien to me at times………….

  19. that playing round with word produced quite an effect…wow…”That long gap before I can answer if I can answer”…love the depth of it..

  20. I love your response to the question – with more questions. You express the mystery that we are in a captivating yet simple way. Lovely.

  21. You ask a lot more questions than you answer…but I suppose that’s sortof what I did with mine too! I suppose, that sometimes, before we can explain to others our identities, we have to truly figure them out for ourselves first.

  22. In the lingering, the evenutal answer, which may lay in simply deciding you are your own Europe, a place of every varying identities in communion and not. Great prompt, Marina.

  23. I love the way you twisted the final question in imitation and expansion of the first. And yes, that is the way life is, all the questions running into themselves and begging new ones. Thank you for this, and again for the wonderful topic.

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.