“Enough” by Suzanne Buffam

I am wearing dark glasses inside the house
To match my dark mood.

I have left all the sugar out of the pie.
My rage is a kind of domestic rage.

I learned it from my mother
Who learned it from her mother before her

And so on.
Surely the Greeks had a word for this.

Now surely the Germans do.
The more words a person knows

To describe her private sufferings
The more distantly she can perceive them.

I repeat the names of all the cities I’ve known
And watch an ant drag its crooked shadow home.

What does it mean to love the life we’ve been given?
To act well the part that’s been cast for us?

Wind. Light. Fire. Time.
A train whistles through the far hills.

One day I plan to be riding it.

Suzanne Buffam, “Enough” from The Irrationalist. Copyright © 2010 by Suzanne Buffam. Canarium Books.

“Saving Grace” by Tom Petty from Highway Companion

(Album version video.)

10 thoughts on ““Enough” by Suzanne Buffam

  1. Will Grimes

    The poem (and the poet) appears to harbor a great deal of anger towards the imposed domesticity, as the poet sees it. I can well imagine that this is not unusual. Is the train meant to signal freedom or a bitter end?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question, Will. My guess would be “both.” The train could carry her away, but she’d be carrying her rage with her, no matter how far she runs. (Hence the song choice.)

      I know she mentions “domestic rage” specifically, but I think many women have been feeling a rage right under the surface since the election. And this week Weinstein and Cam Newton, on top of Las Vegas and the death of one of my music icons, just has me feeling sad and angry and numb.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 1+1+1+ = 4
      Except when it equals 3. Lol.
      But I like the Alice in Wonderland notion of when it equals 4.
      Speaking of…..that Alice Tom Petty video…. it was like a musical masterpiece and nightmare combined into one, esp the Alice cake. 😳

      Saving Grace…. one of my top 5 TP songs. Love running to it. Those lyrics. Oof.
      Love you. ❤️


  2. Will Grimes

    It’s very disturbing to feel sad and angry and numb. And it’s not surprising, not at all, in this era of numbing ugliness. Nevertheless, I try to look for something that is positive, and it is never easy, but for me this week it was the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Kazuo Ishiguro. Everyone recalls his now famous book _The Remains of The Day_. But there are two earlier, relatively short, books that I find particularly moving: _An Artist of the Floating World_ and before that a slim novel titled _A Pale View of Hills_. Ishiguro writes with an elegance that is only matched by his capacity for compassion. Sometimes there is a bit of light even in Dark Times, as Hannah Arendt understood and wrote about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that, Will. I agree that we have to look for the light. As Bukowski wrote, “there is a light somewhere / it may not be much light but / it beats the darkness”. I do believe that. But I also believe that what we resist, persists. Sometimes we just have to feel the yuck of life and taking solace in the knowledge that nothing lasts forever.

      your life is your life
      don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
      be on the watch.
      there are ways out.
      there is a light somewhere.
      it may not be much light but
      it beats the darkness.
      be on the watch.
      the gods will offer you chances.
      know them.
      take them.
      you can’t beat death but
      you can beat death in life, sometimes.
      and the more often you learn to do it,
      the more light there will be.
      your life is your life.
      know it while you have it.
      you are marvelous
      the gods wait to delight
      in you.

      “The Laughing Heart” by Charles Bukowski

      Also really like “A Vote for the Gentle Light” by Buk:


  3. Will Grimes

    Christy I have to say that I can’t think of a darker time in this country, and I have seen a lot of darkness. Then I think: what of Osip Mandelstam, Anna Akhmatova, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Paul Celan, Tu Fu, and, yes, good old Jack Gilbert, who wrote: “Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies / are not starving someplace, they are starving / somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. / But we enjoy our lives because that’s what / God wants. // Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn / would not / be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not / be fashioned so miraculously well. . . ” And then I think, thank God there are poets of every stripe who leave their clues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And then I thank God for people like you—souls that are genuine and wise and kind—who have the unique ability to gently nudge others back toward the light. Those who aren’t afraid to reach into the darkness and extend their own hand to lift others.

      Thank you Will, for being one of those souls — to me and to countless others.


  4. Will Grimes

    You’ve presented poems by William Stafford before so I trust you won’t mind one more that he titled: It’s All Right
    Someone you trusted has treated you bad.
    Someone has used you to vent their ill temper.
    Did you expect anything different?
    Your work–better than some others’–has languished,
    neglected. Or a job you tried was too hard,
    and you failed. Maybe weather or bad luck
    spoiled what you did. That grudge, held against you
    for years after you patched up, has flared,
    and you’ve lost a friend for a time. Things
    at home aren’t so good; on the job your spirits
    have sunk. But just when the worst bears down
    you find a pretty bubble in your soup at noon,
    and outside at work a bird says, “Hi!”
    Slowly the sun creeps along the floor;
    it is coming your way. It touches your shoe.


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