Poem: When

By Carolyn O’Daly

I searched without for happiness,

and I found fragments.

I opened my soul to love,

and my heart was slaughtered.

I covered myself with armor,

and searched again.

It was always right there,

beyond my fingertips.

Waiting for when.

I searched without for peace,

and I found turmoil.

I opened my soul to friendship,

and was rewarded with treachery.

I covered myself with honesty,

and searched again.

I knew it was there,

just beyond my grasp.

Waiting for when.

I searched without for comfort,

and I found indifference.

I opened my soul to kindness,

and found cruelty.

I covered myself with compassion,

and searched again.

I searched without for knowledge

and learned,

I should have searched within.

This poem won second place in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of MA 2004 creative writing contest. Carolyn O’Daly has written a book of humorous essays about the quirks of living on Martha’s Vineyard. It is called “There’s Something About the Vineyard,” and can be purchased through codaly47@gmail.com.