A Schoolgirl's Dilemma - Poem by Margaret Kollmer
Some rather tortuous teenage angst from my very dear young friend, Caroline - fifteen then, thirty-six today, and still a beautiful, entertaining, intelligent and perceptive young woman. (I ached for you then; today I read your writing with delight, never quite sure if I should be weeping or chuckling out aloud but doing both all the same. Quite wonderful. It warms me that not only did you survive but that you have become such a wonderful mother, wife and daughter. P.S. If ever it was thought that I was something of a drama queen, believe me, sweetheart, I pale in your shadow! Lots of smiles and may God bless you always. It is my fervent hope that one day you will return to writing. You shine! Aunty M.)
Dearest Aunty M – I hope my letter finds you well. It was indeed great seeing you on Sunday although the circumstances could have been better. Much tension filled the air. I do apologise for the informal letter but I’m sure you’ll let me get away with it. I’m sure I have mentioned this to you before – formality grinds me! I am watching the hourglass and time’s a-wasting away before my vivid blue eyes. Screams – theirs, mine – they’re afraid of me, Aunty Marg. My loved ones. Am I torturing them? They torture me.
I am tired of suffering for their happiness. (I shall explain that statement when we once again confide in each other earnestly.) They need not cry for me ….I despise pity. Charity becomes a bore – remember? I have decided to put my writing aside for a while. Provoking thought is no remedy for my hellish state and I beg you not to sympathise … all I need are your ears.
Told mum she must deprive me of individuality and pretend I am like everyone else. It might make her feel better. But they’re unable to hear my voice because I’m too young and senseless to be listened to. Too ignorant to choose; too fickle and pretentious. All these fascists that surround me daily….
They are compulsive eaters. Feeding their faces rather than their brains. I just crave wisdom and understanding. That’s food for thought. I know you will never hesitate to disagree if you think I am wrong – do speak up. I am not one of the frail actors – I shall endure the stage. Although it will take much practice … perfect practise makes perfect. Enough about me.
How are you? Do write back and tell me how you have been doing – what thoughts have filled your head lately. Feels as though my loved ones forbid me to think. Thought breaks me! Mum says I take life too seriously and X as well. She does not understand that he is my true companion. My true soulmate. I feel like the ugly duckling being scorned by the swans. I do not believe you can put a limit on love. I am near to 16 and I believe my heart has been taken. X is my stimulus – my inspiration. Without him I am like an eagle without wings.
I am an ant crawling from my cradle to the grave. Stamp on me! God, how I hate the fascists! Despise their ignorant motives. Pity is called for. I am unable to fulfil my duty to study. I am preoccupied with thought. I curse its presence. My eyes are as swollen as grapes. I have hornets up my nose. Will sense ever find me? I doubt it. Boarding school is okay but nobody knows what it is like to be alone. Lonely was I alone. Alone was I lonely. That could be the reason for them not understanding me. ALL of them. They have not known what distance and time does. It arouses one’s conscience. It lifts one’s feet. Thought prevails … THEY have freedom of choice. How I envy them. That is the only reason I wish to get older for. Freedom! I need solitude and this is impossible! Tis not allowed! How can I obey? When the play ends do we die?
They’ll zip me up in a patent leather case – a green pillow at my head – on a four-wheeled bed. I do miss Veronique. Her matric finals are going okay but I hardly see her. I shall miss her terribly next year. She will be at one of the techs studying drama. Brilliant actress. She inspires me.
I am far distant now. Pain and suffering thrives on my vulnerability. I am brainsick, cracked, crazed, delirious, demented, disturbed, fatuous, non compos mentis, preposterous, psychotic, senseless, touched, unbalanced, unhinged. Underline where appropriate. Who demands a vacant head? My virile tongue has nothing to say – just someplace to say it. Do I retaliate or crown myself with defeat? Remain unspeaking and weak? I am unable to. As you know, I speak my mind. Do I entertain them? When will I get off the merry-go-round?
The bat in the room is waiting to hit the ceiling … A derelict ship floating aimlessly across oblivion. I am characterised according to their nature. Why can’t I be like everyone else?
I was most true and my own love betrayed me
Was it the cry of the world that dismayed thee?
Rejoice to the sorrowful sound of the sea
My unknown mind mourns for me.
I’ve grown hard and stubborn in an ancient mould
The mysteries of my mind will never be told.
I’ve witnessed exultation -
Faces that used to curse me
scowl for scowl
Shine now - and lift with the passion of oblation
Though they are still foul.
To my loved ones - understand me! Or is that too demanding of me to propose such a question? The differences between us are nothing more than natural, human actions. I can feed your thoughts if you let me. Do not feel burdened, full of grief and mournful that you are not the ones I choose to confide in. I told you, X is my soul mate, my everything. My only craving from you is understanding.I will reject all moralitities, ethics and standards of this world before I die. All I want is Freedom! A world where integrity does not exist. Am I uncouth to make such a statement?
Walking through to the other side would not be a form of rebellion. The inner voice of my soul is calling me – provoking me to venture towards my destiny. It has discovered that it is trapped within the mould of traditions, cultures, degrees, qualifications, high standards and stuff all freedom!
I love you. Yes I do. I apologise for my selfish motives you so often remind me of. I am melodramatic, complicated and unhappy.You have fed me meterially. You have loved me and give me of your best. Yet you have been unable to understand me for fifteen years. You have never questioned my beliefs. You ignore the fact that I am unlike any of you. I am called to journey into the unknown. How do I leave your love? How do you let go? I am the little child you nourished, kept healthy and clothed. You taught me about character and determination, power and the will to succeed. You said: ‘Achieve your goal! ’ And that is to be FREE? Would you allow me that? To you all:
Mother …I stretched your stomach and tortured you until you screamed. Yet you still smile, still laugh, still care for that crying child who stole your youth at birth. Oh, how I love you – you are so very fragile.
Father …Your discipline has paid indeed. Your moods are erratic and your temper sometimes uncontrollable. You give me your wealth – your feed – yet you neglect my need for a father’s love and affection. I need your love to grow, not your wealth. I value your company, your humour, your remarks, I love you Father.
Sister …My precious friend - you are a jewel. You find comfort in confiding in me. I thank you for your trust. You make an effort to listen but find my beliefs and problems of no importance. Questioning my happiness is your duty – not your will. However, I love you. Always and forever. Though you too are unable to fulfil my desire to be free AND understood.
I know my destiny
but not my time.
I know my companion -
The soul who I believe knows me.
He gives me love, affection, understanding
This tender young man with serious charities
and infinite variety.
Whose thoughts are those of my own –
his fantasies too.
He has acknowledged my worth and never doubted my success.
He is my inspiration to write –
My supplement to live.
He knows the real me.
I want to be in love with life.
My place is no longer here.
I have a purpose elsewhere –
A task to carry out.
Well, I have no idea.
(Oh C, so seriously you write yet how you make me smile! Do you know how clever you are? Your writing glows and I am transported by what appears to be words moving towards an ending that will prove to be a revelation; a master-thought to beat all others and what do I read? ‘Well, I have no idea.’ Just like that! Without any obvious intention, your flat-faced humour is just magical.)
And then she sent me the poems of her ‘true companion, ’ … her soulmate. Like hers, his writing is also outstanding. At the time, he was only seventeen.
The world is a cruel place
So run with caution as your friend
Only the dead are in control of peace
Only the living can all but mend.
The purpose of life is death;
We live our lives on the running road.
The dead go past to the other living
Heaving through barriers with a heavy load.
I was born with the language of the angels
and I shall never let my language go.
A crescending innuendo touches my ears
and I love them so.
I was left to rot in an old Catholic graveyard
and the belfry, half-timbered and dead
looked sadly on.
I saw past the loam to the sad face of the sun
crying and kicking to let me out.
The shadow took over and hung
so vulgar, smirking through the shade
to my mother’s face.
Silently chillfull was the untimely death
of a hard earned place –
A place of life – singing within me
in an angel’s orchestra
Showing me a voice of strength
a language lasting forever.
Wouldn’t you like to be a bird
wild and free?
Hovering on the wind is the place to be
And you’re gone with the wind
and it takes you through –
And you whisper softly: I love you
Yes, that’s what you would do today
go to the ground where the children play.
That’s what they would do
The winds bring a message: I love you.
Ah.....my beautiful 'children' whom I love so much and whom I'm always hoping that you keep on writing, writing, writing...... So much talent to share......great, fresh imagery and lop-sided philosophies - oh brilliant! Always with love, Aunty M.
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