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Poem: Trapped in the Clutches of a Memory

Updated on September 21, 2016
Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

Student of life, lifelong learner, mother, writer, artist, poet, dancer, musician, and martial artist ... passionate about all of these.

Original art bu Gina Welds Hulse
Original art bu Gina Welds Hulse | Source

Recently I was watching an episode of Dexter. Yes, the T.V. show about the loveable blood-splatter analyst by day- serial killer by night character, Dexter. In this particular episode Dexter is thrust back in time to when he witnessed his mother’s murder. As the episode progresses, a colleague is shot, but he is unable to deal with the good news that he will recover after a successful surgery, due to the fact that he is “trapped in the clutches of a memory.”

I started thinking about that statement. How many of us are “trapped in the clutches of a memory?”

The past is like a prison.

Original art by Gina Welds Hulse
Original art by Gina Welds Hulse | Source

Do you ever feel trapped in the past?

The past can seem inescapable sometimes.

The past can seem like a sealed box or prison that we just can’t escape from.

No matter how hard we try to escape that box that is our past, our memories, has been taped shut, muffling all screams.

The past or the memory becomes like a sound-proof box.

We scream. Air is running out. Our lungs struggle. Time is running out. The walls of the box begin to cave in, getting tighter and tighter, and we are trapped in the clutches of a memory.

The past is like barbed wire, choking out our present life.

Original art by Gina Welds Hulse
Original art by Gina Welds Hulse | Source

We become trapped in the clutches of old memories.

We become trapped in the clutches of old actions.

We become trapped in the clutches of old regrets.

The past becomes like barbed wire, choking out our present light and life.

Others keep reminding us. No one wants to forget.

They seem to return over and over again.

We’re reminded of them over and over again.

When will they disappear?

When will we no longer be trapped in the clutches of a memory?


The past is like a sinkhole.

Original art by Gina Welds Hulse
Original art by Gina Welds Hulse | Source

The past becomes a sinkhole.
Everything is caving in
and the landslide is suffocating.

This is what it feels like when you’re trapped in the clutches of a memory.

It eats away at the present.

Even our future becomes questionable.

Trapped like flies

Original art by Gina Welds Hulse
Original art by Gina Welds Hulse

We become like a fly that is trapped in a spider’s web or one of those sticky fly traps.

Our limbs flail about in despair as we resolve to our impending doom.
Our wings buzz about in a futile escape attempt.
We become confused, anxious, and afraid all because of a memory, something from the past.


Torn and tattered wings

Original art by Gina Welds Hulse
Original art by Gina Welds Hulse | Source

We are never free if we remain trapped in the clutches of a memory.

We can never spread our wings and fly, because we will always see those wings as broken,

Trapped in the clutches of a memory.

Throw off those torn and tattered wings.

They are no longer able to carry you.

Let your heart dream of the possibility of being free

Free from the clutches of the past. The past is nothing but a deserted wasteland.

Free from the clutches of a memory.

© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse

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    • PoeticApparatus profile image

      Bella Marie Poetry 2 months ago from Missouri City

      This is so poetic and deep and true. It truly is painful to be trapped in a memory, but with time and work and prayer we can be set free. I love your artwork by the way! I just noticed that it was original.

      -Blessings,

      Bella

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 19 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Thank you, Shauna. It's good to see you. You're doing something right to never feel trapped. Yes, it is easier for some to overcome, while others find it very difficult, but it is possible to, as the power is within to free ourselves.

      I know from experience.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 19 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Thank you, Shauna. It's good to see you. You're doing something right to never feel trapped. Yes, it is easier for some to overcome, while others find it very difficult, but it is possible to, as the power is within to free ourselves.

      I know from experience.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 19 months ago from Central Florida

      I can honestly say I've never felt trapped. I've always been able to overcome or override whatever circumstances were holding me back.

      Your poem sends a good message, Gina, to those who need to realize they have the power to free themselves from memories or people who stand in their way.

      Love your artwork. Very interesting.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      Ha! It doesn't matter either way because it still is.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 19 months ago from TEXAS

      OK. If you're satisfied, that's that. :) or even if not.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      No, Nellieanna, you did make yourself clear, and I did understand your main point. It's just that, as I often do, I zeroed in on something else and focused on it when I was thinking - apart from the main point. It's been a lifelong habit of mine and just is part of me and how I think. I can't really explain how it works, but it works for me. It helped me through school when it was related to English, reading or writing, but I never was any good at things like geometry because my mind didn't comprehend the proof process even though it made sense as a whole concept. I could get the correct answer and still lose points for skipping steps. So, I've just come to accept that even if I irritate others or get told I complicate things too much. . .etc. ..I"ve been told quite a bit. . .it just is.

      Besides, in my friend's case, it is very much a punishment she uses. She'll say as much, though not always directly. She holds grudges based on the past, long past when events actually transpired. It's always been that way as long as I've known her and always saddened me, but nothing I can do about it.

      Aside from all of that, this topic touches a nerve with me right now because of some things happening indirectly in my life that are about to have direct effects on my life. Frankly, it's a little terrifying and I've gone through a wide range of emotions the past couple of weeks. I finally realize that things are just going to be how they're going to be no matter how I feel about it and no matter what happens and I'll just have to adjust. That's that.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 19 months ago from TEXAS

      Perhaps you are right that punishment only affects the one deliberately doing it. In fact, I could not agree more. It would be up to the 'other' (if there is one) either to accept it as punishment or not if it were to be attempted, and up to the one trying to mete it out to fully understand it as being such an effort.

      Perhaps I didn't make my point clear. I was advocating NOT resorting to any of those futile, self-defeating things, including giving up, attempting punishment of oneself or others or hiding from the rest of one's life in a futile effort to deal with "being stymied, hurt or mis-treated", but instead to rise above any of that by choosing "not to be brought down by them" and by keeping on " being the best person one can be." My point was that it is counterproductive to try to do so by those self-defeating means. The context of those means mentioned should speak for how futile they all would be.

      Your friend's silent-treatment situation as described does seem to appear as quite sad, but perhaps its motivation is being missed or misjudged, too.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      I love your artwork. I hope you do really well with your show. At the risk or turning this into a get to know the artist session, is this your general style or are all of these parts of a series? I noticed you use the same bold colors and lines in all of the work I've seen here on HP.

      I know people who work in the prison system. I could never do it. I'd rather be a cop or some other form or security than to work in the prisons. It has a way of hardening people, including some of the workers.

      Right now I'm in the middle of a situation where someone else's influence from her past is influencing her present and many others' as well, including my own. It's not all her fault when one understands her raising and her mother's raising. It's a clear cycle and a perpetual pattern. It's just that no one can really help her if she won't help herself and even that may not be enough at this point, though I'd like to think it's never too late. It's never too late to take responsibility for our own actions and then good can come from that because knowing why we react a certain way is what allows us to make changes when needed. But it's also more complicated than that when the psychological damage runs so deep.

      Nellieanna, you weren't addressing me, but you made me think about something with your comment. And since this is a thread where people have already been mentioning the comments of others. . .is it really possible to punish others? I mean aside from actual physical punishment or hateful acts. Ignoring someone else or cussing someone else is not as much punishment to that person as it is to oneself, assuming that person is still a valued person in the life of the one doing it. I had a friend who has a history of "punishing" people in her life with deliberate silent treatment. While that may satisfy her on some level, it's mostly just hurting herself. Her daughter is so tired of it that she has written her off. She's been angry at me for so long that I too just gave up and didn't bother trying too long to reach her anyway because I know she holds grudges for years on end sometimes. I've known her that long. She would rather write people off than face the actual issues. Maybe it's pride. Mostly it probably is, though I would embrace her if she sought me out again. I cannot hold grudges even though I know other people harden their hearts towards others as a means of healing themselves. In her case, it's not healing. She's hurting herself more in the long run. Perhaps not by writing me off, but by pushing her family out. It's one thing to decide a friend is not worth it anymore or that a friend was never a friend to begin with and end all communication, but it's quite another to shut out friends and especially family members that are still held dear. It accomplishes nothing except missing out on good things. It may hurt for awhile, but then the only person it keeps hurting most is the person doing the "punishing." And when I see it is a common habit of someone to do that to those she loves, it saddens me. She' s not living in the past. She's just not letting to of her own punishment.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 19 months ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Gina and Venkatachari. I'm doing well, and thank you for asking.

      I just live life as it happens, as best I can. Some things have happened in my long life which were devastating and whose repercussions are still ongoing. But one needs to keep perspective and realize what my Dad called "one's limitations." I deeply resisted accepting having limitations but the fact is, that everyone does. One cannot control all the factors and some of them do contribute to one's tribulations. So, what to do? Give up? Punish oneself or others? Hide from the rest of life? The good news is that one does have powers over one's reactions and responses to being stymied, hurt or mis-treated and one of the best of those powers is to choose not to be brought down by them and to keep being the best person one can be.

      The best way to right wrongs is to triumph as the person one is and to be positive, not becoming defeated or negative and adding to the darkness and gloom. Venkatachari, you said it perfectly: " one should get on with it and go ahead with new plans and determination."

      One can't choose what others will do, but one is 100% responsible for one's own responses. Responsibility = ability-to-respond.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 19 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Nellieanna, How are you? Good to see you! I agree that it is virtually impossible to fully live in the past. .....but so many people spend so much time there. I also think people spend too much time in the future. Yes, one should plan for the future, but many spend so much time in the past or future that they lose out on the present. Love how you put it: "It cannot be captured or re-lived or pre-lived."

      Wow, Dana. I appreciate the "book" and your sharing so much. I can empathize with you as I am one of those people who love very deeply when I am in a relationship, whether it be a romantic one, or a friendship or other.When I lost my youngest son's father I was devastated. I wrote a poem called "I thought about you today" which is about him (Brenton). I remember when we were together, I thought that no one in the world had ever had a love as strong as this. When he died I never thought I would recover. I cried every time I saw his picture, every time I heard music he loved. I can't listen to Nora Jones without boo-hooing because he loved her music. I still go through sad times but I don't live in that relationship anymore.

      The irony of it all is, I was married to someone for nearly 13 years prior. That was an abusive relationship. When I ended it, it hurt me only as far as my children from the marriage were concerned, but I knew that for their benefit and mine I had to end it. I moved on so fast from that relationship, it blew my mind.

      I worked in the prison system for a while, and I see what I believe is the result of living in the past.....kids who were unable to get past something from their past and it affected them so much they turned to crime as they got older...simply because they could not process and move on from it....not receiving that counseling they so desperately needed.

      To answer your question, yes , those are paintings. I am working on an upcoming show. The majority of the paintings have to do with something I've overcome. ...about resilience and overcoming. Some of them will be featured in the show.

      Jodah, you are right, memories can be disabling. Forgiveness was definitely the key to moving on for me. Thank you for your feedback, and for stopping by.

      Venkatachari, Nellieanna is a very wise woman. I have had the opportunity to "chat" with her and it has been very inspiring.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 19 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I have gone through those touching comments from Dana, Shan, and Nellieanna. For Dana and Shan, I am very sorry to know about their bad luck and the difficult moments undergone by them. But, you know you can't do anything by keeping worrying of those irrevocable losses. You will not get back the things lost. So, one should get on with it and go ahead with new plans and determination.

      Nellieanna's approach is very good and it should be followed by each one of us to succeed in life and to experience real happiness.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Memories (especially unpleasant ones) can disable us, Gina. Things that have happened in the past may be difficult to forget but we do need to forgive, if appropriate, or we can never move on trouble free. Very descriptive and well-written poem.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 19 months ago

      Your work is interesting. I like the way you write and, as always, your art. Are those paintings? I meant to ask you that before when we were talking about the reliefs on your hub about the Japanese art.

      As for this particular hub, the comments are interesting to me as well. Anyone who really knows me knows that I can often relate things to at least one song. Haha. I can't help it. Music is a part of me, especially lyrics and when they mesh with a good melody, that's perfection. So anyway. . .I was thinking about something similar to some of what was said in your comment discussion when I heard a song called "It's Different for Girls" by Dierks Bentley. Now, I realize the song is about a breakup. . . but generally speaking, it does seem to be different for most girls than it is for most guys. With me, there are quite a few things I can push past rather quickly by choosing to do so. There are other things that matter to me so deeply that it isn't so easy to turn off those thoughts and emotions. And even once I get past the initial difficulty of it, there are things that linger for years afterward. By now, I' know myself well enough to know it's the loss of someone I love that does that to me. I mean, truly care about deeply. Friends come and go throughout life. So do other relationships. It's the strong bonds once formed that cannot be broken without aa strong reaction in me. And I've told myself in the past next time will be different. But the only way to ensure that is never to open up and care that much again. That would be a shame for both myself and for whoever wants to embrace what I have to give. It doesn't matter if it's felt in return. What I give is special because it's simply a part of who I am. Among other things that make me maybe not so special. Hahaha. Depends on how you look at it. We all have so many sides to our personalities. Anyway, I think there is a general truth to the idea that it is different for girls, like you all were discussing. Sometimes that includes other things that are important in life.

      Like you, I love taking pictures. I'm sure you do more artistic pictures than I do, though. I used to do photography and enjoyed it, but now I don't do anything other than snapshots. It's fun to capture moments. And fun to see those memories again. I also keep gifts people give me and letters. Sentimental things. Sometimes they are very nostalgic and make me miss someone all over again or more. But when I can look at those pictures and not have a strong knee-jerk reaction , that's when I know the past is truly in the past with that particular memory. Plus, I used to have so many tangible memories tucked away. Then I was forced to leave some of them behind one time. It took real effort to consciously let them go so that I wouldn't be devastated about it. However, that experience helped when my house burned and I lost all of my precious memories, except for some photographs that happened to be in storage at someone else's home. So all of those memories are tucked in my heart now and I can still remember them through thought even if I no longer have the tangible reminders of the exact words someone wrote to me or the exact way a gift looked. I've just come to learn that there really is no trapping in the past. It's all in the present, even the pain and it will eventually subside. Some things just hurt more and longer than others. That's part of being human and part of who each and every one of us is as a person. It just varies that way.

      Sadly, I have watched a few people recently who are in the clutches of their past. But it's not the same. It's a product of past experiences that have such a hold them. For them, it's not always a choice. Or maybe it is. But I think they require assistance from a deeper source, as in serious on-going counseling. It's impacting every part of their lives. Sort of like Dexter, perhaps. You see and you hear things as a child and those things are so hard to overcome later. And then others can controla nd manipulate until the worst case scenarios happen. So you watch and wonder when does it ever end and how can you wake these people up when you've tried before and others have tried. Then you realize it's not within your power to do so. And when I see behavior like that. That complete lack of self love, self respect, self direction. . . .I can only thank God that I have never ever been that low in my entire life. Even at some of my lowest points when it seemed I was all emotion and acting irrationally and in an unhealthy manner, I realize I simply reacted because I had to. I can't keep that kind of thing inside eating me alive. I have to say what I have to say and be honest and open. Anger, hurt, sadness. . .all of it. I say it. And then I eventually go forward. And when I've felt as if someone was trying to squash who I am or control me, I react just as strongly and it'sn ot a pretty picture, but I'm not beat down and sometimes changes happen for the better that way.

      So. . .now that I just wrote a book on your comment thread. .I should probably shut up now. Hahaha

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 19 months ago from TEXAS

      Interesting! But I honestly do not feel trapped by - anything. The past and its memories are just history, and of course, it played its part when it was the present time.

      Understanding oneself is helped by knowing of it and its experiences. Understanding the world is helped by knowing of its history.

      I fully agree that one should not live in the past. In fact, it's an impossibility. If one seems to do that, it's simply using the present up dwelling on the past - or the future, for that matter. The 'time' one has for 'life' is the present as it happens. It cannot be captured or re-lived or pre-lived. It's simply lived.

      You write so beautifully, Gina. Thank you! Hugs.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 19 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Manatita, I find that at my age, which is 47, I am very particular on how I spend my time and with whom. Some people can drain you, and I prefer to engage in stimulating, engaging conversation.

      Venkatachari, I know exactly what you mean....but somehow my youngest son manages to read and squat on the toilet seat. He even prefers to squat to eat. It's not something I taught him, but he knows it's better. We tend to have discussions on health and natural healing, so it is possible that I mentioned something.

      Dana, thank you for visiting and for leaving your feedback. I am so sorry you had to experience that. I strongly feel that whenever a job is lost, it is just a window or a door to something better. It's easier said, I know, but when I had to quit my job of 11 years due to illness, and live on 1/3 of my previous salary, I used that to propel me into what I really wanted to do. It is challenging due to health issues, but I look at my illness as a stepping stone in the "right" direction. I am now getting ready for my first solo art exhibit and sale. I've become certified as an Herbalist and Aromatherapy Consultant since becoming ill. These are things that I never would have thought of doing if I had not become ill. Yes, it is tempting to live in the "days before illness" but I can find so many blessings in every one of my days since.

      Isn't that the truth, Ms. Dora? Many of us don't realize that the choice to be free of "memories" or the "past" lies within us. There really is freedom in moving on, moving forward.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 19 months ago from The Caribbean

      Gina, this topic is so relevant for most, if not all, of us. We don't really live when we feel trapped, and to think that we can actually choose freedom!

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 19 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I loved this article Gina and the responses you received on this subject. I have fallen victim to being trapped in a memory, mine was over a job loss that I couldn't get over. Even though it was a massive lay-off, I couldn't stop thinking if there were any signs I didn't pay attention to in order to save myself from being chosen.

      I had lost everything I worked for and people couldn't understand why I couldn't get over it. I was trapped in my memories of how blessed my life seemed when I had that job. I was able to move on when I discovered why my memories of "the good life" had me in bondage; it was because my job made me feel important. Excellent pay and benefits my self-worth was wrapped up in the job.

      Now I try to focus on the good part of the job. Because I had excellent health benefits I received a lot of health and dental care I wouldn't have been able to afford and I made friends that I still hold dear to this day.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 19 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I agree to that, Gina, women falling prey more than men. Women are more sensitive and emotional than men and they react more sharply. I am not meaning it in a negative attitude or lowering their status. I am very sorry if it does matter to any of you. It is only my supposition. That's why they are unable to forget any sad or happy moments in spite of much effort.

      But, your habit is a good one. Taking pictures or capturing some moments and talking about them, if it does not make you tense or sad. Sharing moments is always good even for health as it releases pain or excessive joy and keeps you well-balanced.

      By the way, Gina, reading is not possible in my Indian style bathroom.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      All these things are meanigful for a while. I have travelled about 300 times and gone to 43 countries. I have very little interest in pics there days.

      Each must grow through his/her own experiences. The ultimate knowledge is that only oneness with the Source matters. But each has to grow into this experience. It is a personal journey.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 19 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      That IS a nice approach, Venkatachari. I usually take a book into the bathroom with me...something inspirational. Hahaha.

      I wonder if women fall prey to "living in the past" more than men. We are usually the ones putting up tons of pictures, taking lots of pictures. I've always love taking pictures, capturing the moment, talking about "I remember when..." Thoughts on this, Venkatachari or Manatita?!?!

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 19 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, my dear brother, Manatita. But, I am unable to help or convince my elder son to follow my approach. He is always tense and worried and insecure about future. He does not heed to the advice of even psychiatrists.

      And, take care of your health. Be taking vitamins and that B-Complex.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      Nice approach Venkatachari M.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 19 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      True, Gina. All of us get trapped in our past memories often. It mostly happens when you are alone and free. But, I keep myself always engaged and so not a victim. The only time free is when I am in the bathroom and there I get immersed in all these thoughts.

      My wife has been a victim of all this till her end. Now, my elder son is also a victim and I keep on telling him not to get health deteriorating by thinking about the past. I tell him to get always distracting himself from such thoughts and worries and be positive always.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      Well, sometimes I do extra things for the Supreme, according to His Grace. I also work Mon to Frid at 64yrs of age. Not a bad age in the true sense nowadays, except that I have the chronic fatigue to deal with.

      I came home drained and I spoke to my aunt and was even more drained. She is a real sweetie, but with many fears. The spiritual rule is to have spiritual friends. Material and mundane conversations drain many of us, let alone someone who has a very fine energy and has sat in meditation daily for 34 years!

      Still it is the cold and work that's affecting me, in that order. I have been trying to shake it for two weeks now. I need more B complex. Will order a.m. Hope that you are well. I have a Guruji and God is good. Stay blessed.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 19 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      I agree, Mantita. No one can really be forced to move on...only encouraged....and it the readiness of the person that enables that process.

      Why is that cold bug "bugging" you? Elderberry is my secret. I have not had a cold or the flu in many years. Thank God. Feel better soon. Much love.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      I can only say, rightly or wrongly, that I feel many Souls are in this category. They know who they are. It is a difficult and painful box. I was telling my aunt only 2 hours ago to let go of her X's problems. I said that he is God's child, not hers, and that God will give him the necessary experience at the appropriate time to move on.

      I also told her that at 73, it becomes very important to be ready and not have regrets for when the Maker visits. Perhaps she understood.

      Truly speaking, we all find something to remember, to grasp ... I covered this in a different way in my poem about the woman. What was it called? This cold and semi-flu is affecting my memory. Anyway, Yogis say that life is a mirror. We are only reflecting what we are.

      A poem like this is useful in so far as it helps others. In that sense I commend you for it. Much Love.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 19 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Hi David. Thanks for visiting! Yes, we can certainly learn from the past, but we should never live there. It is so hard for so many of us to move on, though.

      Thanks for your feedback.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 19 months ago from United States

      Yes my friend, we may learn from the past mistakes and hardships and move forward in being better human beings, better souls. Well done and a good message that you presented.whonu

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