“Answers” by Elizabeth Jennings


Answers by Elizabeth Jennings

I keep my answers small and keep them near;
Big questions bruised my mind but still I let
Small answers be a bulwark to my fear.

The huge abstractions I keep from the light;
Small things I handled and caressed and loved.
I let the stars assume the whole of night.

But the big answers clamoured to be moved
Into my life. Their great audacity
Shouted to be acknowledged and believed.

Even when all small answers build up to
Protection of my spirit, I still hear
Big answers striving for their overthrow

And all the great conclusions coming near.

I love this poem, written primarily in tercets. I, too, keep my questions and my answers small and soft. Unlike the voice in Elizabeth Jennings’s poem, however, I have not allowed the big answers to enter my home. I know that they are out there; I prefer to wonder about the inner workings of the feline mind. I would rather read a student paper on Leonard Bast’s umbrella than an examination of poverty, the abyss, and the Teutonic influence on literature.

I don’t know what form “Answers” is written in; it does seem like a formal poem and it might be something like a Sicilian tercet or a variation.Elzabeth-Jennings-008

Author: Gubbinal

Bookish, tea-drinking cat-lady who loves great poetry and music and is in the midst of dying

2 thoughts on ““Answers” by Elizabeth Jennings”

  1. Such a heartfelt poem, and so wonderfully wrought that I’m not in the least distracted by structure or metre or repeated phrases. Thanks for posting this gem and for allowing us some perception into what we all to some extent do so as not to be weighed down by the enormity of global issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How have you been? I ‘ve been off the blog-o-sphere for a few months….
    ‘Small things I handled and caressed and loved” was the reason. I have been nursing
    a sick cat for a year and finally I had to let her go. I did not want to and that affected me more than I realized.
    You get used to chatting with a cat each morning.
    This poem plucked a heartstring and had to tell you how much I liked it.
    Here is a foto of Mindy, RIP. https://nancyelin.wordpress.com//?s=mindy
    PS changed blogname…got rid of 5 years worth of reviews, it is time to start afresh.


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