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Listen To Life

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Have you not heard me?

Borne upon the air at dusk, dancing ... I have whispered you in a million voices
    Still, you descry not my utterance? Listen, yet, for all is precious ...
        In the tremble of the plum blossoms - is the tender truth not there?
            In the aching sigh of spring-tide, longing for the touch of LIFE

Does my intent not appear ... clearly?
    In the hollow goodbye of the passing, placed into cold soil
        Or scattered, spinning, on the breeze ... in the belly laugh of a child,
            Finding untarnished joy for the first time ... in the bloom of creation

Come to realization on the tip of a slender branch .. hearken yet, close! There!
    Feel it ... HEAR it! Within the keen and cold desperation of winter wind ...
        Inside the scratchings of fear, black as coal ...
            Deep, deep within the horror of oblivion, and the knowledge

That the ONLY thing that endears life to itself, is the LOSS of it ...
    Here - here in the breath of silence ... brushed aside, oh so gently,
        Like the strands of hair from a baby's forehead in the midst of fever ...
            Like a lover painted in moonbeams - lost in moments,

Drowning in the hope that intimacy means something more ...
    Like the glint in the eye of a pet, whose owner's caress is everything ...
        Like the rusty tears of a madman, doomed,
            Shed for the sake of life sacrificed in reclamation ...

Like the warm pulse of lifeblood, coursing ...
    Like the wash of phosphorescence on a beach,
        Where countless souls were given - sacrificed needlessly
            For the aims of self-important fools, half a world away ...

Like the frost on a window, left by the breath of a dying promise ...
    Like the shudder of skin, touched by attentive fingertips in passion ...
        Like the cold kiss of a friend, lost, set free by the failing of a respirator
            A final farewell to an existence of pain ...

Like the face of a dear one, cradled in your palms in the wish for forgiveness ...
    I have spoken to you in earnest - across the addled ages,
        You have felt my breath warm on your cheek, yet you walk on, careless
            You buzz about your life in apathy and indifference,

Searching for integral meaning, when that meaning was yours all the time ...
    The preciousness of this existence, is ONLY of such value for two reasons:
        It is BRIEF ... and you are mortal ...
            Life is the only true gift you are EVER given

And death the unshakable assumption of its worth
    Death is ultimate, inescapable ...
        But in all its dark disguises, it is the one TRUE element that we require
            The one true measure of importance,

And the salvation of all that is good and estimable,
    For LIFE is worthless without it ...
        Its precious spark, doused with but a breath of limitless value.
            I have whispered that to you in a million voices ...

Have you not heard me?




~ 1st Place ~  in the "Your Choice (3), Any Form, Any Theme" Poetry Contest, Brian Strand, Judge & Sponsor.

~ 2nd Place ~  in the the "Favorite Free Verse" Poetry Contest, Chantelle Anne Cooke, Judge & Sponsor.

~ 1st Place ~  in the "How Precious Life Is" Poetry Contest, Line Gauthier, Judge & Sponsor.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017




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Date: 6/7/2019 8:48:00 PM
Gregory as always your words are amazing! Congrats on a well deserved win!
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Date: 6/7/2019 7:28:00 PM
Oh my goodness...for that it is. I was in awe as I read your words, rereading some verse because it was so beautifully written. Congratulations on your win. I love your poetry more each time I read one. I especially liked the stanza starting with "Like the frost on a window... Many thanks! Jeanne
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Date: 2/9/2019 8:20:00 AM
I was swept up and enchanted by the depth of thought so beautifully expressed in your amazing poem, Gregory. Your piece held me spellbound. Congratulations on your wonderful win. Warmest wishes always, my friend.. ~Susan
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 2/9/2019 9:23:00 PM
Oh, I'm so happy that this affected you in such a positive way, Susan, it really means a great deal to me coming from such a wonderful writer as yourself! This was a bit of a different tack for me, but an enjoyable project. Many thanks and blessings, my friend! :-) <3
Date: 2/6/2019 12:25:00 PM
Greg, you have expressed such appreciation of life in all its complexities. Having been close to death you become so aware of how precious life is. Your metaphors in this piece are incredible. This is truly an impressive poem deserving of your top placement. Congratulations! : ) xxoo
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 2/9/2019 9:16:00 PM
Such a wonderful comment this is, Connie, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it ... I have written a couple of pieces where God (or the Creative Conscience/Higher Power) is the first person, and it doesn't always come across the way I'd hoped ... I think this one works, though. Many thanks and blessings, my friend! :-) <3
Date: 2/5/2019 11:00:00 PM
'The only thing that endears life to itself is the LOSS of it' -- absolutely! This is very very nice! A deep and reflective poem about the Center of all things. Very well done! I have a friend, who practices feeling grateful for each breath, and so, we must be! Thank you for this wonderful write!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 2/6/2019 2:43:00 AM
Amen, Andrew, and well-said! My heart stopped three times in 2005, and EVERY breath since then has been a bonus - something I wasn't meant to have, and I am so thankful for each. Honestly, 2018 was the worst year of my life, (for many reasons), yet I am STILL so thankful for it, and the added time with loved ones. It is precious, and our greatest gift. Blessings, My Friend! :-)
Date: 2/5/2019 10:52:00 PM
Wow. Breathtaking, Gregory. Congrats on your well deserved top win.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 2/6/2019 2:40:00 AM
Many kind thanks, Line, I so greatly appreciate it, my friend! :-) <3
Date: 2/5/2019 9:52:00 PM
Deep and profound, Gregory. Congrats on your win in Chantelle's contest. Best wishes, Carolyn
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 2/6/2019 2:39:00 AM
That's very sweet of you, Carolyn, and I thank you so much, Dear Poet! Blessings! :-) <3
Date: 2/5/2019 9:37:00 PM
Hello Gregory, Congratulations on your win in my contest. Your pen exudes such profound beauty of the trinity of the mind, soul and heart for when I read your works, they indeed come alive! A Masterpiece...as always! :)
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 2/6/2019 2:38:00 AM
Oh, you are very kind with these words, Chantelle, and I am so humbled and honored by my placement among these wonderful poets and friends ... I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this one, as it is dear to me. Many kind thanks and blessings to you! :-) <3
Date: 11/5/2018 12:19:00 PM
I FAVed this mid-read, something I've never done before! I'm floored by this masterwork, Greg! At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I find you to be in the same league as Langston Hughes and Pablo Neruda: two of my favorite poets of all time!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 11/6/2018 3:18:00 AM
Wow - you blew me away with this amazing comment, Edward, and I thank you most sincerely! To be mentioned in the same breath with Hughes and Neruda - I don't think I've had a comment that could top that, as I adore them both, (Whitman is the only poet I favor). Blessings to you, My Brother, you have made my WEEK! :-D
Date: 10/19/2018 10:55:00 AM
Congrats Greg on this provocative poem. I re-read it from God's P.O.V. and it became quite profound-I long suspected Divinity is constantly 'speaking' to us but our stilted egos block out much of it. You're right about death making life precious: I never felt so alive as when I taught in Phnom-Penh under siege by the Khmer Rouge in '73-74--even though I had learned 2 years earlier after an NDE that death was a door and not the wall I had once believed it to be as an agnostic. Kudos, my friend!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 11/6/2018 3:15:00 AM
Thank you so very kindly, LJ, I did not know you were in Nam at that time ... the Khmer Rouge were ruthless, but as with all such regimes, they felt justified in their hate. I am so glad you survived that horrible time. I had an "experience" as well when my heart stopped three times, (2005), and it sure does change your views on many things. I am glad you survived that as well, and that we here at the Soup are on the receiving end of your kindness, insight and talent. Many thanks and blessings to you for this wonderful comment - thank you for sharing, My Poet Brother! :-)
Date: 10/17/2018 9:04:00 AM
Congratulations, Gregory, on yet another fine poem!! Your theme is powerful and well taken. Every single day is truly a gift, as are the people in our lives and the power we have to make our world better, and we should appreciate all of it. I salute you for your #1 win with this beauty. As always, all my very best wishes to you and your family! :) Bartholomew
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 11/6/2018 3:09:00 AM
You are unfailingly kind, Bartholomew, and I am always so grateful for your sincere and heartfelt comments ... blessings and best wishes to you, Dear Poet Brother! :-)
Date: 10/16/2018 4:41:00 PM
Just wonderful, my friend. Congrats on top spot.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 11/6/2018 3:07:00 AM
That's very kind, Andrea, bless you, Dear Friend! :-) <3
Date: 10/16/2018 9:11:00 AM
Congratulations my friend <3 xomo
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 11/6/2018 3:07:00 AM
Thank you so much, Mo! :-) <3
Date: 10/16/2018 1:27:00 AM
What an inspirational start to my day, Greg. This is a masterpiece and I thank you for reminding me in so many beautifully expressed ways of the preciousness of this gift of life. Amazing!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 11/6/2018 3:07:00 AM
This is such a sweet and thoughtful comment, Wendy, thank you very kindly for the sincerity and wonderful words. Blessings to you, Dear Poet! :-) <3
Date: 10/15/2018 8:33:00 PM
A paean to life, epic in its magnitude and implications. A true classic and a FAVE, dear Poet! Bravo! Best wishes, Gershon (The contest was for 2nd place in this race!)
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 11/6/2018 3:06:00 AM
Oh, that's very kind of you to say, My Friend ... I am blessed to have such positive support and friendship as yours, Gershon, thank you so, so much! :-)
Date: 10/15/2018 7:41:00 PM
I particularly appreciated the drama in your piece, Gregory... it represents well the stage I find myself in at the moment. Congrats on your well deserved gold medal win.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 11/6/2018 3:04:00 AM
Thank you so very much, Line, I greatly appreciate the kind words! (I hope your drama is not of the life-threatening kind, if you'd like to share, please Soup Mail me, I'll be sending positive energy and prayers your way). Blessings, Dear Poet! :-) <3
Date: 9/23/2018 11:10:00 PM
Beautiful, Gregory. Congrats on your gold medal win with this fabulous masterpiece.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/24/2018 12:12:00 AM
That's so nice of you, Line, and I so greatly appreciate your kindness and friendship ... blessings, Dear Poet! :-) <3
Date: 9/22/2018 10:42:00 AM
Outstanding and masterful Greg, One can read your poetry all day long and not get bored. Always so descriptive and usually always spot on. Love this piece. Congrats on your top win...Blessings ~Charlie
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/23/2018 2:27:00 AM
Many, many kind thank-you's to you, Charles, that is so kind and thoughtful! I'm so grateful you found this one worthy, and humbled that it brought you some joy this fine day! Blessings, My Friend! :-)
Date: 9/22/2018 5:58:00 AM
Breathtaking. So many individual lines that speak volumes! I think this is one of those poems that you could read many times and still keep finding layers of depth and meaning. One of my all time FAV.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/23/2018 2:26:00 AM
That's very kind of you, Jesse, and I thank you so much - it means a lot! Without the kindness of wonderful poets such as yourself, I would not have lasted here - it is the icing on the cake of life for me! Blessings, my friend! :-)
Date: 9/21/2018 7:39:00 PM
Once again, you have put your heart and soul into this amazing poem !! Well deserved accolades to you Gregory !!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/23/2018 2:24:00 AM
You are very sweet, Carrie, and I thank you so very much for the compliment. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! :-) <3
Date: 9/21/2018 6:41:00 PM
Greg, you, the word profundity and your poem are synonymous --- You never cease to amaze me with the things you write. One day, I hope to see that little gold cup beside a poem I submitted. Until that day, I will just marvel at you and your talent, my friend. Congrats on your 1st place win.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/23/2018 2:23:00 AM
You will have MANY of them, my friend, I am SURE! You are too kind with your very special comments, but I am very thankful for them and your friendship ... you always have encouraging things to say, and it means everything. Blessings and thanks, My Poet Brother! :-)
Date: 9/2/2017 9:20:00 PM
Thanks for your comments Greg. I am humbled by your words. Your 'Listen to Life' poem compels a greater appreciation for life. This one is rather profound. .........for life is nothing without it.... Good work my friend.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/2/2017 9:48:00 PM
Thank you so much, my friend, I so appreciate that, and your kind words are taken to heart! This was a special one for those "intangible" reasons - I felt in the flow and connected to something beyond me. I think ALL our creativity is inspired from somewhere else - something greater - and this felt very much that way. Blessings to you, Curtis! :-)
Date: 9/2/2017 12:24:00 PM
Amazing Greg, that's all I can say. I've run out of superlatives to describe your writing, another fave of course
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/2/2017 7:19:00 PM
You honor AND humble me, my friend, and I am so thankful for your friendship and encouragement ... it has been a primary source of joy and motivation for me here. Thanks so much, Brother! :-)
Date: 9/2/2017 8:17:00 AM
Oh my word Greg. What an amazing poem with so many excellent lines!! I will have to save this to read again later. Very well done! :)
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/2/2017 7:18:00 PM
It's an amazing feeling when that happens - when you're in that "groove" - and I think I'm hearing that "still, small voice" more often, learning to be aware of it. Blessings, Friend! <3
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/2/2017 7:17:00 PM
Oh, Heidi, thank you so much, that's very sweet of you ... this one "flowed", and I think it was one of those that came from elsewhere ... we are just instruments for His divine use, after all, but some pieces speak to that more than others, I believe.
Date: 9/2/2017 5:43:00 AM
Wow, what a fantastic and inspirational write my friend! I have 2 hrs to use the computer now! I'm down to my last 20 minutes now...but I get to read and write on the Soup this weekend, however on Monday I will have to use the time for school...so my wife will be my voice later. She is so special! Your poem is precious, whom were you speaking of within your piece? There is someone in your life that is giving you heartache, I hope you are better! What a magnificent poem my friend, Great Work!!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/2/2017 7:11:00 PM
Thank you SO much, Buddy! Have you gone back to school or are you teaching? How's your back doing? (I'll send you a PM with my email). Yes, your wife is special - she has been so kind to us - "interpreting", haha! Glad you liked this one as it is special to me ... it is actually first-person of "God" or "The Creative Conscience" or whatever higher power you look to, talking to me and others who may take life for granted, and who may struggle with mortality and the fear of death ...
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/2/2017 7:11:00 PM
... this is the culmination of many things that I have pondered that all come back to the same thing - that the briefness of life, and death itself, is what makes life and love and relationships so precious ... many of us, like ME, spend so much time fearing death, and yet it is that fear that makes our time here so incredibly worthwhile - without it, would be nothing but apathy, and what a horrible world that would be ... despite all the horrors of THIS world, I think that one would be unbearable. Blessings, Friend. <3