Library of Cultural References

  • Library: Cultural References in Poetry

Paved Paradise


According to Heidi Lerner, this poem is about brain injury and is from a book of poems she intends to publish in 2005.

Paved Paradise I guess Joni Mitchell was pretty right on,
When she said that we'll never know what we've got until it's gone,
Can you envision this to be true,
Imagine that this has happened to you,
Life's intimacies are dulled,
Perception slows,
Reflexes go sluggish,
You lag behind,
Can you comprehend?
One day, the picture perfect sky cracked into millions of tiny pixels,
Then the sun boils, blisters, pops and oozes dry,
The sedatory crash of the ocean waves turns to high-pitched wails,
Melody siphens into monotone,
Everything changes in a flash,
Emotions turn up the volume,
Pains cringe out of unknown places,
How you are is not the same,
As how you once were,
Now deal with it!
Smoke comes out of the tractor's exhaust,
Your paradise has been paved,
And they're installing a parking lot,
Ooh, Da, da, da, da, Ooh, Da, da, da, da,
"Beep, beep,
That's my space."
In time, you'll be looking for a parking space,
And you'll never know what was once there in that place,
Worse yet and what's a scare,
You will not know what could have been there,
Your senses are contorted,
Others may look at you as a fool,
Things are not as you have once known,
Yet you know who you are, so everything's cool,
You don't yet realize what you cannot do,
Just try to not let it get to you,
Your paradise has been paved-
Like it or not, Accept it, it's what you've got.
Well, as a visitor to paradise that's been paved,
Can the losses now better be appraised?
I ask you, can you appreciate your ordinary paradise before it is paved?
Or do you just go through your hum-drum charade?
Brain Injury paves over our glories extra-ordinaire,
You know, the ones that before we didn't even care,
We tend not to think twice about our capabilities,
because we have quite a lot,
I guess we truly don't realize it until them we don't got.

(Contributed by Heidi Lerner)

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