Caution And Prudence

Caution And Prudence
-Laurie Benson©2019

She isn't here to call me, "Prudence,"
a sobriquet bestowed upon me
at the lake,
due to my Victorian-like-lace
sun hat, long sleeved cover up,
and cotton floral pants, worn to
prevent any more freckles
from appearing
on my sun-damaged skin as I

The brim of the lacy hat, protecting
my nose and chin.  Letting no sun in.
One-hundred-degrees of sun.
Nothing romantic about being
called, "Prudence," and I remember
Mary Oliver's poetic words, "For how
long will you continue to listen
to those dark shouters, caution and prudence?"

And I don't resent the
nickname, "Prudence," because the
sister who called me that smiled, eyes
twinkling, standing in a bikini, soaking in
all of the one-hundred-degree sun, but
understanding my

"Shams," the sun, in Arabic.
Sol for the Soul.

I am not remembering this or writing
it as a substitute story for living
y o u r   o w n   l i f e,
but to live my own
true one.

So, I climb out of the lake and
lie down on the hot, red, rocks.  Sunning
myself, like a lizard.
Perhaps a mermaid sounds less
'Prudency,' but I do it still,
thinking of lizards,
not mermaids.

And behind closed eyelids
plays back the movie.  The sun of my
childhood.  Body-shaped water
marks on hot cement, bare-footed days,
baptized by sprinklers.
Riding my blue, Schwinn bike in a
swimming suit for clothes,

Legs sticking to the banana seat,
hair trailing behind in strings,
signaling freedom from
Prudence and Caution,
freckles or bikinis.

Warm, freckled arms.  True life.
How to life with it now with its
harsh need to change me.

Climb out!  Look up!
Dive in!  Lie down!  The cool
grass, waits for your
bare feet, to paint them
with knowing.

Lines inspired by Mary Oliver and David Whyte

Write Your Own Poem and email it to to publish on this site, or just keep it for yourself in your journal.  I would love to inspire you as I have been inspired this week by Mary Oliver and David Whyte.  (Mary Oliver) (David Whyte)

After reading the poem by Mary Oliver,
what did you think of the line, "Did you think this world was only an entertainment for you?"

What do you think is missing from your life?  What has that sense of missing something done to cause feelings of jealously or remorse?  Has it caused behaviors that are brave, or impulsive?

What would you like to do to change that and live your great big life?

David Whyte says, "I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned.  If you know despair or can see it in others."  Have you been able to feel other people's feelings, even if what they are saying is different than what you are feeling?

Have you lived with or without the consequences of love?  What has that done?

Write a poem using or adapting two of the lines from Mary Oliver and David Whyte's poems.  Give them credit by ending the orem with "Lines inspired by Mary Oliver and David Whyte"

Be sure to take credit for your own poem!

sobriquet means "nickname,"  Do you have a sobriquet that you can use in the poem?