Friday, 4 June 2010


I was born one summer’s day in the ruins of defeat.

My father was a soldier
My mother was afraid.

My father’s father praised The Lord
And beat the children.

My mother’s father denied The Lord
And loved the children.

I was born in the ruins of defeat.

Black nuns taught me the meaning of life.
Black priests taught me the wages of sin.

I was born in the ruins of defeat.

The day the circus came to town
Elephants and lions danced.
Whips cracked.
Round and round the horses rode,
The knife thrower’s knives were sharp and shiny,
They always found their target.

The circus left, the animals went,
The knife thrower sheathed his knives.

The day my circus came to town
I danced and danced and danced.
Whips cracked.
Round and round the knife thrower rode me,
His knives where sharp and shiny.
He always found his target.

Pinned to the target
I danced and danced in a whirl of black shadows,
Sharp shining knives, whips, fear and despair,
Faster and faster,
In an endless circle,
And the knife thrower threw his knives.

I awoke, the dance ended.
I sheathed the knife thrower’s knives.

And rose from the ruins of defeat.


  1. Wow! Powerful stuff! The images are so sharp and the theme of the knife-thrower and the repetition make it a very memorable piece.

  2. Is it by you? I love it.

  3. POW! I was felled by that one Friko.

    Raw and riveting!!

    Not surprising that your wisdom is born from surviving many challenges. It takes a high degree of trust to share such seering experiences here. I feel honoured to be entrusted with your stories.

  4. Right in the solar plexus, Friko, is where that hit me. I am no literary critic, as you know, but I know what's good and powerful when I read it.

    As Bonnie said, the fact that you can share yourself like this is a demonstration of trust. You are remarkable. I am so glad I know you.

  5. POW! indeed/

    you ARE the poet, the human being, the friend....

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

  6. Now that, dear Friko, is poetry. You saw the images, and you let the words form around them. Wonderfully powerful stuff!

    Clever, rather than 'clunky'. I love it.

  7. Friko- a very powerful poem. I'd like to know what it means to you. My take on it is that an innocent happy go-lucky child had a life that was a circus of fear and despair but you rose from it a survivor. Anywhere close?

  8. That is very moving, Friko.
    There is rhythm and balance and structure within a cacophony of chaos. Nicely done.

  9. Am not sure how long ago I had the honour to meet your site, however this entry of yours is surely one of its best, turning, twisting ones mind, providing images sharper than any knife. A deep bow in respect. Nice to meet the artist in you. Please have a nice start into the weekend.
    daily athens

    p.s.: sadly the "barefoot navigation" had to be closed - more than happy to have found you.

  10. And is this one day in the life? Always rising from the ruins of defeat? Powerful ambivalence of the knife, like life as a roulette game: sucked into the game, then playing willingly, then taking command, by turns, over and over.

  11. Wonderful, Friko! Moving images and a fine conclusion -- May you always rise...

  12. And she rose from the ruins of defeat – indeed. Very nice.

  13. To find the strength to break free from anything that has one enmeshed , is so brave .

  14. Oh, good! Powerful words weaved around a strong theme!

  15. ein wirklich wundervolles Gedicht, liebe Ursula, eine schöne Sprache, wundervolle Bilder, und tief und schön...!

  16. Renée has hit the nail on the head, and her words read as poetry,too, which is particularly apt.I totally agree...

  17. This is a powerful and vivid poem. Raw strength.

  18. Written by a survivor, I'd say. The ruins of defeat scar just as deep as the wounds of war. Some people break through the scar tissue (that's terrible and I've deleted it, but in the end it's really what I mean, so it stays) but the cicatrice remains there, around the edges, proud and still tender at the touch if one isn't careful.

  19. Dear Friko, have missed visiting you. Family things, even good things like our gd's wedding drain me, and then the roller coaster things of the bipolar world our daughter lives in. We pray to be able to stick with her but energy is running out for HH and I. We try so hard to give it to God, but I am too emotional. I take such inspiration from you, strong woman.

  20. You have risen from the ashes like the Phoenix. A beautiful testament indeed.

  21. Friko, you do have a talent with the written word - your language is evocative - I can feel the child's terror. The last line reminds me of the poem "Invictus" which I memorized as a school girl and can still quote almost 50 years later.

  22. thanks for this powerful writing friko. the book of you is not always an easy place to visit - nor should it be. lives are complex. thanks for sharing yours here. steven

  23. It would be difficult to say something different to all of you.
    Thank you very much for approving and understanding.

  24. Powerful, intriguing. I love the repeated line: 'I was born in the ruins of defeat' - it has so many possible interpretations, resonances. The power of poetry is as much in the spaces between the words as the words themselves.


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