Ward Stories
(Column: Ward Stories)
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Nora Kildahl is a first generation American, born of Norwegian immigrant parents. She
didn't speak English until she was four. (Judging from the eloquence of her poetry, she certainly
learned the language!). She currently works as a career counselor and has been in the vocational
field for over 10 years. She tells me she loves problem solving, as long as they aren't her own
problems. Nora lives in Seattle, Washington, and since her poetry came via the Internet, I
consider her my new best interactive friend. I have enjoyed reading all the poems that Nora has
sent, but I have to admit, Mindracer especially hit a nerve!

Have a happy, healthy, and well-deserved holiday season after the turbulence we have all
experienced this year.


Mindracer
By Nora Kildahl

Mindracer Mindracer
frets and races
stews and paces
circles of frustration
are the well-worn design of his dance.
Round and round
down and down
the sickening spiral of fears and unknowns.

Mindracer cries through his panic
"Come save me! Please hurry! I'm sinking"
below
great waves of worry
fathomless oceans of fear,
nightmare waters
of his own design.

The now-wearied Mindracer
yet swims ever faster,
a monster behind
and monster ahead.
A fugitive from logic,
an escapee from truth;
unmindful of the life ring
bobbing at his side,
not seeing the
sandbar of salvation
from the depths of his distress.

Who can save him?
Not you or I.
Nor could he see our beacons
of comfort and safe harbor
through the fog of his own storm,
the cloudy cataract of his mind's eye.

My heart goes out to you, Mindracer
only know that as you dive
my love and longing cannot save you,
nor can I risk diving with you
having narrowly escaped
the siren call myself


The Scream
By Nora Kildahl

It lives at the back of my tongue
in the damp darkness
at the entrance to my inner self.
I feel it like something foreign
something "other"
a beast within.

Its rough heavy hands on my shoulders
force me down
keeping me
in my place
in my seat
immobilized
unheard.

Keeping me from jumping
off the Brooklyn Bridge
or climbing the Eiffel Tower,
pinning me down to
mediocrity
middle of the road
mildness
and
mindlessness.

The heavy hands
hold my head in a single direction
narrowing my vision
commanding acknowledgment
of what is before me,
not allowing me to see
what is beside
or behind
or ahead.

It has a physical presence
as certainly as any person.
No esoteric New Age mystery
or confounding counseling concept,
it simply IS and can be felt
and known
and must be allowed.

How is it I never felt it before?
certainly the rough gnarled hands
are ancient
it must have been a longtime companion
of mine.
How is it only now that I feel it
and know it?

Ah, the stone has been removed
from in front of the grave site,
the cool fetid air
rousing memory
allowing feeling
completing history.

I shall release it.
Let it out and let it in.
the prisoner will release the imprisoned.
I shall reclaim that part of me
and, in doing so,
release its hold on me.

I will give it voice
and find again my own.

House of Men
By Nora Kildahl

Spartan, utilitarian furnishings
speak of starting over
starting fresh
starting from scratch.

The sharp corners of a leftover life in contrast
to the curves of a newly needful heart;
upholstery colors nag at each other,
reminders of days and people past.

The dim interior belies the hope of healing,
blinds drawn against the outside world
until strength and purpose return
and with them the light.

No mementos clutter the tabletops,
no books or projects, animals or plants,
only the minimum needed for survival;
nothing but the necessary lives here now.

There is no evidence of personality,
no windows to the soul, not yet.
Everything is contained for now;
for now, everything is controlled.

There is no comfort here,
no softness, no warmth,
no beauty, no light,
no woman,
yet.
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