Some Mornings

Some mornings it’s just tough to find that place,
That slippery perspective where I view
The world as not entirely unbraced
From all that’s good and beautiful and true.
I can’t quite find my footing, all askew
Within a landscape sadly out of line
With all my inner maps, and can’t undo
The sense of all things leaning toward decline.
And yes, there’s hope of course, there’s always hope,
For God has always helped and always will,
And will provide us now the means to cope.
I know this deep within my heart, but still
Some mornings it’s as if I’ve only first
Found out how much a human life can hurt.



Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Agape Review, America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, U.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.

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11 Responses

  1. Rohini

    Such a beautifully sad poem. I relate to it completely. I hope you have some mornings that are fresh/ with smells of earth and early morning dew/ I hope some mornings all your thoughts can mesh/And in your heart hope is born anew.

  2. Joshua C. Frank

    Well expressed! You’ve written exactly how I feel about today’s world.

  3. Paul Freeman

    Ditto Joshua’s comment. I can really relate to this, especially when I factor all the youngsters who will be left to deal with our messes.

    Just a suggestion, but changing ‘leaning’ to ‘skewed’ in line 8 evens up the meter.

    Thanks for the read, Jeffrey.

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Paul, it depends on how one reads “toward,” obviously. To me “skewed” has a pre-set, inevitable feel that speaks of either sheer hopelessness or of reliance on God as the only way out (and that is actually aside from the text of the poem), while “leaning,” while possibly creating a redundancy with “decline,” holds the thought that things have gotten especially bad lately (pick your date!), but that maybe we can do something about it.

  4. Julian D. Woodruff

    Jeffrey, if this piece doesn’t get to the way we all feel some of the time, it certainly does so for me. (I just finished commenting to a friend on why it disturbed me too much to watch a performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto on YouTube with all the string players [except the soloist] masked–a small planet orbiting closely around the human malaise.)

  5. Roy E. Peterson

    Jeffrey, your perfect phrase, “all things leaning to decline,” fits my perceptions of the sad modern world with the west going into decline. Well said.

  6. Norma Pain

    “Some Mornings” is very relatable for me, especially on just waking up, and until I re-realize how very fortunate I am. Perhaps while we sleep, our subconscious minds are processing all of the current troubles affecting the world and the futures of our children/grandchildren, and it can be overwhelming at times. Thank you for this very poignant poem Jeffrey.

  7. Margaret Coats

    Jeffrey, this is a perfect sonnet, no consideration of disoriented misery left out, and nothing unnecessary brought in. The couplet is a most skillful one: “as if I’ve only first/Found out how much a human life can hurt.” Indeed, we find this out more than once if we are attuned to God’s ways, and each time is a new “morning” of desperate life that doesn’t, after all, despair. You have carefully worked out thought and words to give a necessarily nuanced Christian perspective.

  8. ben

    Some mornings it’s just tough to find that place,

    the reason i posted the above is because chinese is the oldest language in modern usage

    unfortunately communism has distorted it.
    the above is machine translation.
    in my chinese it reads have some morning very hard find flat
    i see that angle
    boundary not fate have
    Some mornings it’s just tough to find that place,
    That slippery perspective where I view
    The world as not entirely unembraced

    im not trying to be abstract. it doesn’t matter how much you understand, it’s true. knowing the world’s oldest language will clear up any language.


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