What Smashes Me Will Make Me Strong

Tonight I’m hosting the wonderfully talented poets over at the dVerse Pub. No big-screen sporting events there, but instead a drink, a shared joke, mutual support and a poetic prompt. This week I’m asking everyone to write about what shatters their world to pieces, or else what helps them to rebuild their fragmented world. Here is my response, a simple list poem.

Sculpture made from Sheffield cutlery.
Sculpture made from Sheffield cutlery.

It’s the little, the minuscule, the itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny

they always catch me out.

For the big disasters I can prepare, shut up my stall,

batten those flimsy hatches, but what defence do I have against

the thoughtless word in the midst of safe harbours?

Everyday forgetfulness,

the cups of tea never offered, iced cocktails never mixed,

the thoughts unshared or opinions unasked.

Banter with a core of heartless

mission with a sense of flight

running on lonely past a destination so wrong.


What patches me together? Small things as well.

Playing with words is helpful,

a smile sometimes more.

Smell of rain, the first bird in the morning.

Often the silence, a lull in wild thoughts.

And… always… amnesia of things past.







40 thoughts on “What Smashes Me Will Make Me Strong”

  1. We, many of us running with the dVerse dogs today, are writing sobering sincere insightful introspective sharing, and my emotions are being wrung out, rattled,
    called out–but the elves of empathy have strong constitutions, so I will allow all the poetic power to wash over me like a crashing wave. I like your line /running on lonely past a destination so wrong/. A terrific illustration of your prompt.

    1. I really appreciate all that honesty – sorry to be wringing out the last drop of emotion out of our pub-goers. Luckily, the holidays are coming up to give us all time to recover.

  2. Very touching and artistic articulation of that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger; the scars of battle fortify the skin and the spirit; the idea of perseverance and the courage to confront the issues defines and sustains us. Well done.

  3. it’s often the small things that both – shatter us and make whole again – i agree… the smell of rain has a soothing quality and an unexpected smile can change the world – and even if it is my tiny world…smiles… cool prompt marina – and happy birthday!!

  4. It is the little things, isn’t it? I’m not one for grand gestures – if I have tried to offer them in the past, they feel false to me, even as the giver, it’s just something in my nature. In the past year or so, it has been the little things that people have done for me that really stick in my mind. And your poem is not simple – it speaks volumes.
    (As an aside, I love that sculpture, I recognised it straight away – haven’t been to that museum for a while, but it’s a great one for local history).

    1. Thank you, Freya – like you, I’m a bit suspicious of grandiloquence and larger-than-life gestures. And well done for recognising the sculpture – it’s a fun one, isn’t it?

  5. How true. The little things, undone, weary the mind. And amazing that it is also the simple things that bring comfort – the sound of rain, and beauty around us. 🙂

  6. Oh, this is powerful, Marina Sofia! And you’ve got such a strong point. It really is those small things, too, that can be the most hurtful isn’t it?

  7. ah the smell of rain….yes…i have to retreat to my caccoon in the woods and let them wrap me…find a bubbling brook….refind the rhythm of nature to find my own….

  8. I have to admit it’s the small problems and decisions that upset me the most…so hard to know if there is a solution or which one is better! Somehow the big crisis are the ones that I face gallantly, unwilling to let let it get me down, or knowing that there is no alternative but to wade through it, so buckle down and bear it..often wonder how many feel the same…the solitary life can be bitter and cold but in it we create our world of warmth and love…be it of nature or simply being kind even if others are not…
    we are not martyrs, just built differently from most, I think…heartfelt write.

    1. Unflappable in an emergency, but torn to shreds everyday…
      Sounds familiar…
      Thank you for your honesty, Kathy – it’s sometimes hard to be ‘contrary’ to the majority.

  9. One way is seeing the good however small, like a white mouse travelling from flat to flat in a beleaguered city and delighting distraught youngsters or a patch of anemones found by a soldier in the midst of Iraq..

  10. I like that its the little things that breaks us down…but also patches us up ~ The smell of rain & birdsong in the morning tops my list too ~

  11. I thought you made a strong point Marina, it is the little patches that help us make it through each day and forgetting a painful past is one way of moving on. Well done.

      1. So kind of you – it was a day that started badly but then ended quite nicely – even the football cooperated. So birthdays are magic, after all.

        1. My pleasure hope it was a good one for you. Our Aussie footballers managed to score a few goals which surprised many so we are happy with that. Keep up the wonderful writing Marina.

  12. Yes, Happy Birthday to you, Marina…but cry if you want to! Very insightful poem…the little things that can make a big difference in our lives.

  13. So sweetly paced this poem, as is the life that pays attention to some small things to forget others. I suffer from thin-skinned over sensitivity, and I struggle with this, playing both forgiveness and amnesia. Wise poem.

    1. Yes, Susan, I too have often felt like an onion that has had just too many layers peeled off… I’m also not always very good at forgiving, but luckily quite amnesiac…

  14. It’s the broken shoelaces that get us, don’t they … the insignificant stuff we can’t remember for the life of us the next. day.

  15. even the itsy bitsy and teeny weeny have their toll but then there’s the play of words, little smile and that heavenly amnesia…a lovely rebuilding at last…wonderful lines…

  16. I have a habit of forgetting those little events that have hurt me…”amnesia of things past” is a great way to describe it. I enjoyed the way you listed both sides of this. It’s true that some of the smallest of things can give us the greatest strength and healing power. 🙂

  17. Wow I relate to this so much! Especially the last stanza…

    “Playing with words is helpful/

    a smile sometimes more.

    Smell of rain/

    And… always… amnesia of things past.”

    This is me right there. I had a bit of a writers’ block with this piece but it was more of an emotional overload which resultee in me just not knowing where to start. That’s why I couldn’t write a free verse… But your poem is so refreshing and poignant! It’s all the inspiration I need 🙂

  18. Decisions are what make you strong, picking one straw out of a stack of identical straws, studying it for signs of stress, and the detail of its DNA, putting it in your button how and wearing it, right or wrong.
    Thank you all for the poetry

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