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Below is the poem entitled Nothing which was written by poet Caleb Smith. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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She looks at me ... eyes drenched with love and confusion,
"What is it that tears you apart so?"
I look at her, and through her,
past the sensible answers,
turning the pages of my life in only a moment,
and into the expanse where pieces of me die every day.
The clarity of my answer runs the miles of every thought I've ever had.
It's lost among a million images that paltry words can't describe.

It's me watching my daughter by herself in the yard
after she's told me she doesn't have many friends at school.
And I'm praying the thoughts in her little head aren't sad,
tearing myself apart wanting to see the world through her blue-green eyes ...
a whole other life and consciousness,
sitting alone in the yard.

It's me wondering why I didn't tell my son I was proud of him
a hundred more times than I did.
It's a single look that I remember when he was two.
He looked up at me and his eyes said, "Do you not have time for me?"
And it tears me apart because now he's eleven.
People tell me that I'm a good father and that tears me apart
because of a look I remember nine years ago ...
sitting alone in his room, watching Winnie the Pooh.

It's us when we were first married and dirt poor.
It's me waking up every day and feeling as though I've failed them.
It's me using her love to hurt her.

It's my grandfather taking me fishing when I was a boy,
and how strong he was.
It's me taking my grandfather fishing now,
and how weak he is.
It's the things I want to tell him but never will.

It's me as a child walking through the woods at night
with no idea where I'm going, but hoping that when I get there,
a monster will try and kill me.

It's me as a lost teenager with my mother at home crying
because she doesn't know where I am ... or if I'm alive.

It's a dead friend that I let drive drunk.
It's a live one that I let drink alone.

It's because of the hollow ...
the one that takes everything I have and tells me
I have nothing to give.
It's the black hole that is always fed and never full.
It's me sitting alone, looking out of a window
with rain running down it, and wishing I could cry too.

So I tell her, "It's nothing."
And the truth in that lie is one she'll never see.
She hears, "I'm fine."
When I really said, 
"I'm hollow ... it's empty space that haunts me ... It's nothing." 

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  1. Date: 4/21/2014 1:01:00 PM
    Wow and tender, so real. Thanks Caleb for your kind words about my work. Your wife might love this true story about Savannah from my web site blog: Let me know what you think. From one Georgia lady to a talented southern gentleman. Trish

  1. Date: 2/14/2014 8:44:00 AM
    Truly beautiful. T.S. Elliot comes to mind. I cannot read the word "hollow' without his work coming to mind.

  1. Date: 9/14/2013 7:08:00 AM
    Unlike several commentators below, I've not read this before today. It is haunting and sad, with touching notes here and there, about your grandfather for example. Still, I seems to me that for a person of such apparent cheer and good will, you are being awfully hard on yourself. Guilt is an albatross. perhaps writing such a poem as this lessens the burden. I hope so... jack

  1. Date: 9/12/2013 6:27:00 PM
    This is one of the most hauntingly brilliant pieces I have ever had the pleasure of reading! I believe that this without doubt will in part strike a bone with everyone that takes the time to read it.

  1. Date: 6/26/2013 4:28:00 AM
    Love it!!!

  1. Date: 6/15/2013 9:50:00 AM
    Hi Caleb, I see this is number 1 on the "Top 100 Most Recent List". It was a pleasure to read this fine work of poetry again. Your quality work touches the soul. It confirms to me that we all relate to each other in some way on this journey of life. Have a great journey :)

  1. Date: 6/12/2013 11:51:00 AM
    Train of thought that's magic in it's honesty, could be that start of Message in a Bottle 2 movie script--the kind where all the gals sit around when it's read and say, I wanna meet this guy!!

  1. Date: 6/10/2013 7:51:00 AM
    Hey, I just noticed that this poem is #1 on the Top 100 Recent list. Cool!! Loved reading this one again. (P.S. I'm not a big fan of summer either... at least, not when the humidity attacks me.)

  1. Date: 6/3/2013 8:23:00 AM
    Caleb....just stopping by to say...I miss ya! :) Come must write something new!!! Soup Mail!

  1. Date: 6/2/2013 11:31:00 AM
    nothing new?.. looking forward!..:) huggs

  1. Date: 5/30/2013 8:30:00 AM
    Dropped by to say hello, read your poem again and it was like reading it for the first time. I think it can be experienced many ways depending on state of mind. You should be very proud of this piece.

  1. Date: 5/29/2013 9:36:00 PM
    Hey you got Nothing for me. haha. Playing on the title of your fabulous poem I already read. Waiting for more poetry, Caleb. So you are busy? Can you remember the one or two poems of yours that you told me I had not read? I think I deleted that soupmail!

  1. Date: 5/29/2013 11:55:00 AM
    It's life. Perhaps not the way we wanted it played but in a resonated destiny, you are not alone. Pathos is your partner.

  1. Date: 5/28/2013 12:07:00 PM
    A very powerful and moving piece, Caleb. I'm no therapist, but you're awfully hard on yourself.. Jack

  1. Date: 5/27/2013 7:59:00 PM
    Too much for words. :*) & :*( I know you understand. Amazing...

  1. Date: 5/27/2013 4:33:00 PM
    Caleb: Very touching poem. You have gift and I am grateful to find this poem today. It touches our spirits. SuZ

  1. Date: 5/25/2013 4:13:00 AM
    Caleb, this is such an honest and introspective look at what most of us would loved to have penned as well as you did. I think the hardest part of life we have to deal with is regret.. that and not wanting to acknowledge, or share our thoughts enough for others to understand the 'real' us.

  1. Date: 5/24/2013 9:56:00 AM
    What can i say?Im speechless..I ve been there too and somehow or another i ll always be.There are always things i regret doing in previous moments..words are failed to u failed to give..That s my empty part of the glass..Now its time to appreciate the full part..Im sure thats how it is with you too.Nothingness can destroy our wholiness or it can help us realize we re human enough to be understood.Your words are full of emotion..touched my heart and beyond..Going to my favs:)

  1. Date: 5/23/2013 8:08:00 PM
    You did it again, Caleb....fused together purple prose and free verse in the way that I like it(just my opinion about the hybridization). This poem hurts so good to read -- man, I love how you churned-out these thoughts with such festering, open-wound honesty. Makes one feel more human just to read this. You are definitely on a roll. Again I am impressed.

  1. Date: 5/21/2013 7:13:00 PM