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Poem: "The Necessary Bear" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Necessary Bear"

This poem came out of the December 4, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from the_vulture and discussion with my_partner_doug.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  This poem belongs to the series Monster House, which you can explore further on the Serial Poetry page.




The Necessary Bear


The monster-under-the-bed
had a teddy bear of his very own.

He kept it hidden most of the time,
but we'd caught glimpses over the years.

The day my daughter started high school,
I found him sitting on her bed,
holding his bear.

It was a very old bear,
plainly one of the first ever made:
the kind with jointed legs and a long snout
and beady black eyes made of glass.

If you tipped the head down
and then back up again,
the bear would growl.

The monster-under-the-bed
sat on my daughter's velveteen quilt
and hugged his bear.

"My first child gave me this,"
he said to me,
"when she left to get married."

I was suddenly reminded
how much older  monsters could be
compared to humans,
how many people they must have known
and parted from over the years.

"It's just high school,"
I reminded him.
"My daughter isn't leaving soon."

"She's growing up, though,"
said the monster-under-the-bed.
"Kids tend to do that," I agreed.

He moved the bear's head
forward and back,
making it growl.

"Many monsters are just figments,"
he mused, "imaginary friends
that come, and then go
when they aren't needed anymore."
He stroked the bear's plush fur.
"This helped me hold myself together
after my first girl was gone.
It's necessary to have an anchor."

"So the story's true then?"
I asked him.
"Love makes you real?"

He shrugged and said,
"Love makes everyone  real."

I sat beside him on my daughter's bed,
wrapped an arm around to hug him
and the necessary bear, and said,
"Yeah, it does that."

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28 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: December 8th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
This piece was particularly poignant for me.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)

*hugs*

I'm glad you found it so touching. People think of comfort toys as being for kids, but sometimes, kids aren't the only ones who need them.
siege From: siege Date: December 8th, 2012 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *hugs*

Policemen in various places have gotten into the habit of carrying teddy bears in their patrol cars. A lot of accident victims end up needing them.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *hugs*

Yes, I read about that when I was researching teddy bears. It's a good way to lower the emotional damage quotient.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: December 8th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *hugs*

I have my comfort toys, too. I feel as though I've grown *into* them over the last few years.
From: technoshaman Date: December 8th, 2012 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brother, you *are* a bear, you know this...

And ysabetwordsmith.... *snif* *hugs*

p.s. shared...

Edited at 2012-12-08 05:26 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I have several cuddly bears in my audience, come to think of it.

*hugs* I'm glad folks are enjoying this poem so much.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: December 9th, 2012 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Me too.
:)
e_scapism101 From: e_scapism101 Date: December 8th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
This is just lovely...I'm glad the monster has a necessary bear.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: December 8th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
*sob* *heart*
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

*hanky*
catsittingstill From: catsittingstill Date: December 8th, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
<3 the monster and the bear.

*snif*
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: December 9th, 2012 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
"He shrugged and said,
"Love makes everyone real.""
Although I know you had no way of knowing this, I recently had a 'velveteen rabbit moment' in real life which I never thought I'd have.
I have to agree: Love really does make us real.
I guess I'll be calling it a 'necessary bear moment' from here on.
Thank you!
:)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2012 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)

You're welcome!

I'm glad this worked for you.

And wow, I term-bumped The Velveteen Rabbit ...? I am deeply flattered.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: December 10th, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're welcome!

That is one of those children's books that you never forget. Even though I grew up long ago, I still reread that story from time to time.
I think it aught to be required reading for every child.
You have a gift for putting a deep emotional impact into your writing which very few modern writers do. I like the fact that it's usually a positive emotional impact.
I don't know why but many modern writers these days usually seem to make theirs negative or at least distasteful when they are trying for emotional impact which I find rather sad.
:|
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're welcome!

>>That is one of those children's books that you never forget. Even though I grew up long ago, I still reread that story from time to time.<<

Sooth.

>>I think it aught to be required reading for every child.<<

That would be nice.

>>You have a gift for putting a deep emotional impact into your writing which very few modern writers do. I like the fact that it's usually a positive emotional impact.<<

Thank you!

>>I don't know why but many modern writers these days usually seem to make theirs negative or at least distasteful when they are trying for emotional impact which I find rather sad.<<

I think part of it is the shape the world is in, part of it is market pressure, and part that it's often easier to get attention by stirring up trouble.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: December 11th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're welcome!

"...and part that it's often easier to get attention by stirring up trouble."

Some of the worst little troublemakers I ran into back when I was substitute teaching had been conditioned to seek attention by misbehaving--apparently they were ignored at home until they were punished for misbehavior.
With a bit of experimenting, I found that the only way I could disrail them was to find ways to give them bits of positive attention. I could tell that it was working when I saw looks of confusion cross their faces.
Naturally I never heard a word about this while I was taking my education classes!
:(


ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 11th, 2012 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're welcome!

That goes along with the animal training rule "Make it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing" and the engineering rule "Find a way to get it to do what you want while letting it do what it wants."

Children require attention. Actually, so do most adults, because humans are a social species; but children need more because it's part of their learning process. They can't hold themselves up yet.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: December 11th, 2012 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're welcome!

I've never heard of those two rules but they are exactly right--thanks for telling me about them!
:)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 11th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're welcome!

I have found them very useful in many situations, so I share them often.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 10th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I'm glad you like this.

We have Cthulhu, Nyarlothotep, a Shoggoth, and a Deep One.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: December 11th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely! :-)
cadenzamuse From: cadenzamuse Date: December 12th, 2012 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes. When I got married and moved in with my partner, I asked very tentatively if I needed to stop sleeping with my stuffed animals. Partner immediately said, "Of course not." So we share the bed with a middle-aged gray stuffed cat and a young brown teddy bear. It's nice.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 12th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Aww...

That's so sweet. You know you've picked a good one when that happens.
eseme From: eseme Date: December 13th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh this struck a bunch of chords. So many, really. THanks.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 13th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm happy to hear that.
28 comments or Leave a comment