Fragile Cloth

This is another of my older poems, but seeing as I just returned from a wonderful vacation, and haven’t had time to write anything new, this will have to do ya! I think it fits the theme of Gooseberry Garden’s Poetry Picnic #5. We’re supposed to look at an object and then write about what we see, or what it makes us think or feel. This poem was inspired when we stopped to look at an old abandoned house–the same house, in fact, that my poem, Where No One Lives was written about. I hope you enjoy it.

Fragile Cloth


I stare at the tattered curtain

A fragile cloth worn thin

Too many days of wear and tear

Hurts and pains are sifting in


Turn now, go another way

Repent and sin not again

Failure calls out, come to me

I hold tight to the will to win


Slipping, I cry out, cloth tears

Deep depression coddles me close

I linger, allow it to hold me

All while hating the evil host


In its arms pain overwhelms me

I struggle and try to pull free

Holds me tight, whispers, give in

Says there is nothing out there for me


Cries of anguish seem not mine

Yet my eyes the one that rain

Tearing loose I run to light

Knowing here I cannot remain


Cloth, behind me, thinner still

Gaping hole with edges tattered

From the chasm, booming laughter

My dreams around me, shattered


On and on the battle rages

I never lose… yet never win

The cloth that keeps me sane

Torn too often… worn too thin


Copyright © 1998 C. Mashburn


  1. wow what an ending sounds like you are struggling with life and your mind to battle a rage that you should win but it is hard to win

    • Thank you for the comments, Sarah. But please know this is not something I am going through. It is fictional poetry.

      • emanita01 said

        Too many days of wear and tear
        Hurts and pains are sifting in

        The cloth that keeps me sane
        Torn too often… worn too thin

        And, charlesmashburn, please know that it is a VERY authentic poem. Reading it has provided me with what I call “a killing me softly with his words” moment (in the context of the Roberta Flacke song and coming from one who’s actually, sighs, experienced such moments and who is now happily getting on with living life ;-D

        This is a great poem! Thanks for sharing it with me.

      • It’s been a slow day on the ol’ blog, but the comments have been outstanding! Thank you very much for the kind words! I appreciate them a bunch!

  2. Morning said

    cry to win,
    no more soulful singing for sin..

    brilliant piece of poetry, thanks for sharing.

  3. Sherry Mashburn said


  4. Hmm…I know you said it was a curtain, but as I was reading I was reminded of a death shroud of sorts…maybe because of the emotional subject matter. It’s amazing how a piece of cloth can bring back such memories! It can hold the scent of someone long since gone, and the feel of it against skin can also bring back memories. I liked the way this flowed, Charles. 🙂

  5. fiveloaf said

    this is a great achievement- wow! your ability to zoom in on those curtains and tell a story is amazing! tq for sharing charles.. my gooseberry..

  6. dswan2 said

    You speak for many, Charles, and perhaps we all have that dichotomy raging within us. “I can.” “I can’t” “I will!” I won’t!” Could we be describing the “veil” that will be lifted someday that we may know as we are known? Great write.

    • Thanks for the wonderful comments, Donna. Your visits to my blog are always appreciated!

  7. honeyhaiku said

    Fantastic words, wrought with an emotive heart!

  8. A very deep and moving poem. So many thoughts arousing from your words.
    Good one, Charles.

  9. terri0729 said

    Charles, This one touched me deeply as I am having my own battles right now with depression, helplessness and anger. I am struggling to regain my sunny dispostion. I loathe it that I have so many “thin patches” right now that are tearing too fast for me to mend. Marvelous words to convey exactly what I feel. Thanks for sharing this one! Blessings and peace, Terri

    • I know you read some of my other posts, Terri, and I encourage you to know that no matter what, you can begin again each moment. I also encourage you to know that happiness is a choice you caan make, and I urge you to grab hold of it! The cloth can be made whole again. Take a look at some of my daily encouragements and my I’m Your Huckleberry daily posts. I think they might help you to get your sunny self back.

  10. terri0729 said

    Thanks Charles for the quick response! I just wrote one titled “Shelter From The Rain” after reading this one and actually it felt good to express some emotions that I’ve been trying to hold back. I think I will change my subscription settings so that I get daily updates from your blog for some added encourangement. I’m not usually a down person, it’s just a lot of stress has come down on me at once and with the MS, depression is a side effect that I have overcome before and know that I will succeed again. Just a bump in the road, I’ve had many of those along the way and they haven’t taken me down yet, lol! Blessings, Terri

    • You are very welcome, Terri. Evidently I’ve not been paying attention, because I was unaware that you are dealing with MS, and I am so sorry to hear this. I have noticed that you are generally postitive and upbeat though, and I applaud you for that. My encouragements and Huckleberrys are almost always positive and I do think they can help you to maintain your cheerful attitude when things get difficult. Please know, I am always hear to assist you, if you feel I can. I don’t always know just what to say, but I get lucky sometimes!
      As for “Shelter From the Rain”, I have found it helpful to vent my emotions through my writing, and it sounds like this might be an outlet for you, too. I am going to your site now to see the poem (I’m assuming you posted it?)
      Take care, and remember, it’s okay to bend to the trials of this life, but never give in or give up!

  11. As a piece of fiction it makes for a very good, heart-wrenching read. Wonderful sad, imagery. Very good writing!

    • Thank you. I say it’s fiction, but at some point, I probably lived it.
      I appreciate the comments!

  12. DiamondsandDogs said

    Very nice. It resonates with emotion.

  13. manicddaily said

    Really interesting use of the prompt. Strong ending too.

  14. tigerbrite said

    You have great vision to see the previous life of tatty curtains. It is true material things can contain the energy of the past.

  15. edpilolla said

    the cloth as a symbol is really effective here.

  16. shannadodd said

    This is an excellent poem. Very visual and emotive. Thank you for sharing it.

  17. dc said

    Good stuff, Charles

  18. A.B. Thomas said

    Mighty fine turn of phrase – I loved the way that a person can interpret so much into what the conflict could be in their own experiences and that last line – totally killer!

  19. pure2core said

    Wow! What a superb write.. Simple words, making all the emotions clearly visible…Thank you for sharing ….

  20. Masterful telling of someone’s inner struggle…

  21. Kay Salady said

    So often, we feel that what we write is fictional. Yet, what comes from us, is a part of who we are. Your writing is indicative of an extremely beautiful spirit. It shines forth between each line you write. You shed light upon the truths that only time can teach a weary soul. It is a blessing to have been fed at your table. We are more than conquerors. 🙂

  22. Very touching, Charles!

  23. This is beautiful, my friend! 🙂 Thank you for sharing. I like it!

  24. Thanks for sharing, Charles. It’s something we all deal with whether we admit it or not.

  25. robin said

    love reading the dichotomy

    • Doggone it, Robin! I had to look up the word dichotomy, and I’m still not sure what you mean. I’m just a old redneck that writes stuff. Y’all have to figure out what it means! And if you’re going to tell me what it means, use easier words, please!

  26. apoetryman said

    A slightly haunting poem, beautifully written. I love the use of the curtain hiding andholding experiences and memories within, never really escaping them

  27. i love the emotion displayed in this poem!

  28. Bodhirose said

    Very powerful observation here–that cloth had quite a tale to tell.

  29. mairmusic said

    love your development of the metaphor here.

  30. Great work, and I agree, the ending is very powerful!

  31. dani said

    this is stunning, Charles!

  32. Baishali said

    a powerful and brilliant write …

  33. Mark said

    Fantastic poem. Captures the raging of the internal war beatifully.

  34. Seabell said

    Shattered dreams have the tendency to live inside some spaces and objects… Well done!

  35. […] I recently received a Perfect Poet Award (Wk n°53) for Remnants. I humbly accept this award and which to nominate Charles for his Fragile Cloth […]

  36. That is beautiful. Sad and wonderful in equal measure.

    • Thank you, Edward. I’m glad you enjoyed this poem. I hope you will check out some of my other writings.

  37. I think we all wear these robes in the story of life Charles. Wow!

  38. Clever and inspirational. Beautiful and amazing job!

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