Weekly Photo Challenge: Room To Breathe

What I enjoy so much about the Weekly Photo Challenge is the way it enables us to express thoughts and ideas as well as share memories.  I love the creative freedom it brings, giving us the choice to be as literal or as abstract as we want to be.

Sometimes I find it easier to share my thoughts by writing poetry, particularly during times when I struggle with the way I want to convey certain emotions. This is certainly the case for ‘Room’, this week’s theme.

……………………………………………………………………..

Room to Breathe

There you are, but where is your shining smile
when you ask me, “Won’t you stay a while?”
Searching for familiarity, I see nothing.
Just a lost hope. A broken expectation of
something I once believed in.
When I was young.

What is that cast about your eyes?  How can you
ever hope to disguise the confused distortion of a
truth now long abandoned? It hides in isolation
seeking sweet-solace escape. You met me there once,
in light-years gone by.
Passing time swept through.

Ancient Venetian Villa, Crete.  What stories can be told from this room? (c) copyright Sherri Matthews

Ancient Venetian Villa, Crete. What stories can be told from this long-abandoned room?
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

I cannot  help but observe as you nervously tap your foot –
The laughs are large, small-talk is off limits.
Oh yes, the swagger brings to mind the age-old saying
that a fool and his money are soon parted.
Who said that anyway?
Not much of a promise.

Words whispered in frenzied conversation of dreams
and longing, sieved through until they are dust.
Yet still you poison my innocence, long gone,
with stolen joy.  You hope my lips are sealed
lest they might destroy and tell of
secrets locked in shame.

Room in a cave.  Lapad, Croatia.  What secrets did this cave hold long before it was turned into a bar? (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

Room in a cave. Lapad, Croatia. What secrets did this cave hold long before it was turned into a bar?
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

But here I am. The child who never stopped reaching for
sunshine’s hope, seeking comfort in aching peace
where, in divine solitude, I listen for the sound of my name.
This, I know, will soothe my walk to freedom
If I take firm hold. When you
give me room to breathe.

Room With A View.  Taken from the top room at the Pencubbitt Country House Looe Cornwall, November 2013 (c) Sherri Matthews

Room With A View. Taken through the window from the top room at the Pencubitt Country House Looe, Cornwall, England. November 2013 (c) Sherri Matthews

 

 

 

 

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Photos, Poems, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Room To Breathe

  1. suej says:

    Very good, Sherri. By the way, where was the ancient Venetian Villa on Crete? On mainland Crete?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Sue! Yes, we saw a few of these ruined villas and this one was on the south-east mainland, near Makrigialos. Have you been to Crete? I absolutely love it there and so would you with all the history and abandoned ruins 🙂

      Like

      • suej says:

        I went to Crete more than quarter of a century ago, and would like to return one day…history in spades. I don’t know about abandoned ruins, only the ancient ruins like Knossos, Phaestos and Hagia Triada (May not have spelt these right, from rusty memory). So where would you suggest or abandoned ruins such as your ruined Villa? I shall have to look up Makrigialos for starters….

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      • Sherri says:

        We’ve been twice Sue, 2008 and 2010. We stayed in Makrigialos both times but hired a car as there are so many hidden coves and villages to explore, all easy to get to using a local map. I would definitely recommend that area. So peaceful and yes, history in spades! I can’t comment for the rest of Crete, having not been there, but we did go to Knossos which was very interesting but very busy!!!

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  2. simplyilka says:

    I love your photos Sherri! I want to be in that room in a cave. Must be a great experience.

    I also love your little poems. Keep writing talented Sherri 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      That cave was surreal Ilka, at the back of the photo you can see where it’s cordoned off by the railing as it goes a very long way down! Thank you so much for your lovely encouragement… 🙂

      Like

  3. Imelda says:

    Hi Sherri. Your poem is full of emotion. You should write poems more often because you express yourself well in that genre, too. And before I forget, your photos are lovely. The first one is quite dramatic. Have you considered turning it into a monochrome image. I think the contrasts and the light will make it even more dramatic. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      With all that is going on right now Imelda I feel that I can express my emotions better when writing poetry, even though I do tend to write cryptically, but always from specific experiences, sometimes a bit too close to the heart to write about in great detail here. That’s the beauty of poetry isn’t it, as you well know!
      Thank you so much for your lovely compliment and no, I hadn’t thought of doing that with my photograph but you’ve given me a challenge now! I’ll let you know… 🙂

      Like

  4. Sherri, you’ve captured the theme beautifully in both poem and pictures. Strangely, although I saw the second and third pictures as obvious places to breathe and think and plan, it was the first picture, Ancient Venetian Villa, Crete, that set my creative mind spinning. The chains hang on the outside of the door, as though the message is to leave them there, enter the stoney interiors and be free to think and breathe and write.
    Wonderful!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Marylin! I love your thoughts and analogy about the Venetian Villa photo…leaving the chains behind so as to walk inside and then experience the freedom needed to write, no longer bound by those very chains. I love how you take in every detail and see so many opportunities for great writing, which is why you are indeed a very great writer 😀

      Like

  5. A really moving poem, written from the heart, Sherri. Your pics are both fascinating and mysterious. xx

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  6. Heyjude says:

    Excellent. I had to read it twice.
    Have a good week Sherri 🙂

    Like

  7. Denise says:

    I find the room in the cave rather strange and your caption very thought provoking. The abandoned villa is melancholy and yes it does make me wonder what births, lives and deaths went on in it. In comparison, the leather seats and lights seem to me to trivialise all that history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      The cave bar was a fascinating place to visit Denise. It was just off a path that we often walked along in the cool of the early evening around the harbour and there it was, the cave entrance with the bar, lights, seats and tables inside! It was multi-leveled and you could see a very long way down. It felt very cool and smelt of earth. I can see why you felt this when looking at the photo, however, as well as your thoughts about the Venetian Villa 🙂

      Like

  8. Okay Sherri. I’m ready to go sit in that Venetian Villa — at least from sunup to sundown. Pen, paper, and wild imagination. Love your poem. It feels inspired by those very surroundings.

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha! Can you just imagine it Renee? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to sit there like that and just write, letting your imagination run riot? Thank you so much, I’m honoured that you enjoyed the poem, means a lot to me, that… 🙂

      Like

  9. Pat says:

    Man, Sherri, I can’t get over how talented you are, my friend. Beautiful photos and lovely poem.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…well, you are way too kind Pat, but I do thank you so very much for your lovely encouragement. I’m honoured to be able to share my thoughts and photos here in this way, really am … 🙂

      Like

  10. quirkybooks says:

    I love the cave with the lights – How awesome is that? What secrets does it hold indeed? The mind boggles.

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  11. bulldog says:

    A very deep and thought provoking poem Sherri, interspersed with fascinating photos… Certainly makes one wondered about that “Room with a view” that would give one “Room to Breathe”

    Like

  12. Your photos are outstanding and your poem brilliant.
    The array of emotions is laid out like a map: look at you (not you, Sherri) now, remember then? Hidden secrets and lost dreams. Emotional stuff.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh boy…well, you hit the nail on the head Tess with the gist of it…all sorts of thoughts, emotions, past events, to the present, a mixture of hurt, pain, loss, gain…and in the end victory in the freedom to be able to breathe at last…thank you sooo much… means so much this…

      Like

      • You are WELcome. I’m always pleased when I understand poetry because it is not my forte. 😀 😀
        You got me with this one. Excellent.

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        I LOVE it when that happens…I know poetry isn’t for everyone and also it is very subjective, especially for the writer. I don’t read a lot of poetry because I don’t get it or understand it! So, if someone understands what I write (even when I’m not that sure myself, haha!) then I am truly honoured. You have paid me the highest compliment Tess and made my day/night. Time to say cheers with a little something, and make it cold, it’s hot here today 😀 😎 ❤

        Like

  13. jazzytower says:

    ….a truth now long abandoned…
    love that line

    Like

  14. Rooms that take us back to stories, thoughts, hope and memory, both the ones that made us laugh and cry, love and loss, dreamed and let go, yearn and reach for light and air to breathe. Soulful my friend. Words woven from the heart. God bless…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Bless you my friend, lovely to read your thoughts, insights and emotions. Yes… full of lost hope, broken dreams but also of finding the freedom and peace to be able to breathe again, to dream and hope once again…and so to love and laugh… thank you so much…

      Like

  15. Amy says:

    Such a beautiful room post, Sherri! Love the selections and the poem.

    Like

  16. Beautiful, Sherri! Every emotion you experienced last week is expressed in your poem…I love it!
    Such a cool bar…wouldn’t it be nice to hang out there and just chat.:)
    Have a great day! xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…oh you are so right about that Jill!! You know how it is and so much of what I needed to express…and I thank you so much for that! I do feel better now… 😉
      Yes, it would be fantastic to hang out in that cave with you, have a nice cool drink of say, some bubbly, and chat…a lovely thought indeed…
      You too Jill…the week is definitely going better than last week and I hope you are having a good one too… 🙂 xoxo

      Like

  17. The cave bar is very interesting. One doesn’t necessarily think of caves as places to breathe, but the lights on the ceiling and comfortable chairs make it look very inviting.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, it was a very interesting place to visit, thank you BT! As I shared in another response, it is multi-leveled inside and goes a long way down. There are several areas to sit, have a drink and a bar snack while soft music plays. Really so nice and cool after a hot day doing nothing, as one tends to do on holiday 😀 😎

      Like

  18. thirdhandart says:

    A very beautiful Weekly Photo Challenge entry Sherri. I connected so well with the poem that I got an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Your talent is amazing my friend!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much my friend, but you are too kind…wow…as I said to Tess, I know poetry is subjective and not everyone’s cup of tea but to know that you had such an emotional response like this really does blow me away. I’m so grateful for you sharing this with me…I feel so buoyed up now 😀

      Like

  19. Very personal interpretation of the theme, Sherri. Beautiful photos, as always, which is why I never tried the Weekly Photo Challenge. Although now that I see how you mixed and matched words and visuals, I see possibilities. Thank you for this room that you opened for us.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well I enjoy your photos too Evelyne! In fact, I’ve been meaning to say how much I enjoy the way you share photos of the beautiful area where you live in your posts. I am so pleased to be doing this weekly photo challenge, it really gets me thinking. I had something else in mind originally but because of some emotional ‘stuff’ going on after last week with my dad etc. I felt all this other expression pushing through. I’m just honoured that anyone would take the time to read it, much less comment! Poetry isn’t everyone’s thing so I thank you so much for your kind words and yes, definitely, the possibilities are endless 🙂

      Like

  20. Beautiful words, Sherri. There is an abundance of sadness and sorrow in this piece that in the end, the reader feels can be lessened once given room to breathe. The pictures matching the words are perfect! 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, you picked up on that Maria. I needed to work some ‘stuff’ out, was a bad week last week, bad news about my father, stress about other things, and this is what came out! It goes like that sometimes. I’m glad though that in the end you felt that there was ‘room to breathe’ and not brought down by any suffocation from the sadness. I really appreciate your insight and sharing your thoughts. As I’ve said to a few others here, I know that poetry is subjective and not for everyone, so if just one person reads even one line of mine then I am really honoured. Then, to read your response, well, that is the icing on the cake! Thank you so much. And talking of which…I hope you are starting to unwind now from all the festivities and putting your feet up… 😀

      Like

  21. prior says:

    love love love your poem – your originality is so refreshing – and I always sense such genuineness and grounded-ness in you – (not sure if grounded-ness is a word – but I am using it) and life is just hard at times – sometimes for many seasons in a row –
    and well, I also skimmed a few comments here and I love the way you delicately shared “close to the heart” stuff with such care.
    and nice pics too – have a great week my friend. 🙂 ❤

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much Yvette! Wow, what an amazing compliment! Haha – hey, I’ll take ‘grounded-ness’ any day my friend! You are so kind and and I just love your comments about my poem, really blesses me this. Poetry is very personal but I find it a great way to let off some of that emotional ‘stuff’ in a way that is quite different to prose. Then, to know you took the time to read it too…well, that is just so wonderful.
      I’ll be over to you soon…hope your week is going well too and thank you so, so much… 😀 ❤

      Like

      • prior says:

        wellt ale your time dropping by – I know you have lots to visit 🙂 – and I always know where to find you – and I like dropping by the summer home!
        okay, so my reply to your reply… lol
        well, it was an easy read – flowed so well and the way you broke it up like that – I also find that the 3rd time I read it I was able to feel more – and this was my fav line that 3rd time –
        “seeking comfort in aching peace
        where, in divine solitude, I listen for the sound of my name.”

        but I am actually bookmarking it to come back – while it flowed – it was also rich – and even though personal and I may not get all of it – it is the kind of piece that people can glean their own stuff from….

        anyhow, I do have a couple things to share – which reminds me – I need to email you sometime soon….

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          You know Yvette, I really can’t express well enough what this means to me to have you share your thoughts, feedback and insight with me like this about my poem. It is the way it comes out and the way I have to write it as it flows, but I’m aware that parts of it might not mean anything to some. That’s why sharing poetry is so risky. So, to know that it speaks to you in parts really does move me. I’m so very thankful my friend, you have handed me a great gift, so freely and so generously. I LOVE how you pick out the lines that you like the best. I never expected in a billion years that I would EVER be sharing poetry in this way…Wow…thank you so much for reading, but more than that, I’m thrilled beyond measure that you are also feeling…
          I am also very intrigued by what you are going to share with me…and I look forward to your email!!!!
          Meanwhile, I hope you have a lovely weekend… 😀 ❤

          Like

  22. Ah Sherri, poignant, sad, powerful. There’s a real sense of longing and hurt in that poem. Great photos for the theme too. I’ve visited a few cave houses and bars in Tunisia and there is a pub not far from here that’s built into a cave on the beach.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…yes, I guess so Andrea. Just letting it out…mixed thoughts about different things. Sometimes, this is the only way to express it…thank you for your understanding…
      That’s fascinating to read that you have a cave pub near you, wow! I didn’t think we had such a thing in the UK! They are amazing places aren’t they? I love the way the air feels in caves. But then, I wouldn’t fancy going potholing 😉

      Like

      • Yep, in a little town called South Shields, it’s called Marsden Grotto and there’s a lift down from the cliff top to the beach below – there are all kinds of smuggling tales about it, haven’t been for years but I’d go now and again with my parents. I’m claustrophobic so definitely no potholing for me 🙂

        Like

  23. Steven says:

    Goodness, your poetry knocks me for six every time! Any chance of an anthology once you’ve got the memoir out of the way? Marvellous stuff, a very deep and really quite captivating ride – perfectly pitched in with the theme too.

    I do like the mixture of photos; I now want to live in a cave!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      But JG…you can’t because you want to live in a windmill!! Maybe you could trade, and split your time between each one 😉
      Ahh…well, I’m blown away by your response to my poem, really I am. Don’t know what to say…but to think that you would suggest that possibility of an anthology… I just never thought anyone would be that interested in the dark ramblings from the Summerhouse of Secrets…
      Seriously though…thank you so much! I am greatly encouraged by your thoughts… 🙂

      Like

      • Steven says:

        Haha, this is true. Just how will I divide my time between the windmill, the cave, The Crystal Maze, the Airstream…? 😉 What a quandary that would be… maybe I ought to hope I don’t win the lottery!

        Well, I’m pleased to have been encouraging! Clearly from the comments, we are all hooked on the latest intelligence from the Summerhouse of Secrets 😉

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Oh yes, The Crystal Maze and the Airstream! Hmmm…you would find a way I’m sure JG…there’s always a way! Now get those numbers out… you never know 😉

          Haha…maybe I should start a ‘sister’ blog and call it the Summerhouse of Secrets. Although it could be a book title…hmmm…the possibilities are endless!!!

          Like

          • Steven says:

            Haha, ‘The Summerhouse of Secrets’ sounds so delightfully sinister a title… it could be a ghost story 😉 or the summerhouse could be a portal to a whole new world of elemental beings. I think they’ve been done before, though.

            Like

  24. Sherri your poem is so emotive and you have placed your fantastic rooms at exactly the right spots within it and they add even more meaning to the poem. Thanks for sharing your inner most thoughts. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Irene, this is a wonderful compliment from you. You know how I’ve been working out some ‘stuff’ and this is what happened… Just so honoured that you and others here read it, never mind share your thoughts about it. I’m so very thankful. ❤

      Like

      • I find with poetry that when you are on the black side of the emotional scale that putting your thoughts down in verse of often lightens the load whether it is because you have shared your thoughts or whether it is like a conduit to allow your emotions to leave you. I have rarely read what I would call happy poetry and the depth of the emotion always moves me much more that prose can. And Sherri we are so thankful for knowing you my friend. ❤

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Yes… ‘a conduit to allow your emotions to leave you’…Perhaps that is it. Thank you my friend, and it is I who is so very grateful for your friendship… ❤

          Like

  25. restlessjo says:

    You leave me breathless with your heartfelt writing sometimes, Sherri! A little like that roller coaster you spoke of in a previous post 🙂 I started on the home page and scrolled back, through the WP problems and your Dad- oh, your Dad! how hard that must be. But I alighted here because this poem is so very beautiful and I love the cave/bar photo.
    I hope you have a tranquil week in store 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh..dear Jo, you are back! Yes, I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster since you’ve been gone (although I’m assuming you’re back!) It probably did help going back to my ‘problem’ post to better explain the way I had been feeling. I do find that letting the ‘stuff’ out at times like this really helps, but to know that you felt the words too really does mean so much to me, I can’t tell you. Thank you so much 🙂
      This week has been better and looking forward to a chilling weekend. I hope for you too Jo and I look forward to catching up with you 😀

      Like

      • restlessjo says:

        Bless you- I’m glad. 🙂
        Yes, ensconced in my armchair in England. Happy that the heatwave hasn’t spread this far up the country and that I left 27C in the Algarve behind. Oh, what a liar I am 🙂 No posts yet, but I’ll get there.

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Ahh…thanks Jo 🙂
          You must be very happy then..not! Mind you, it has been quite warm here and more to come I think, so hopefully you have the sunshine up there with you too by now…
          Have a lovely weekend and see you over at your pad soon 😀

          Like

  26. Catching up here and your poem took away my breath away too. I never quite know what to write other than you have a gift which draws me into your world & I can then see it through your eyes. Heartbreaking & hopeful all at the same time! xoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Your feedback on my writing never ceases to bless and encourage me no end Diane, and I thank you so very much. It isn’t easy sharing poetry publicly as it comes from a deep place, a way of working out some pretty hard-held emotions. It is also very subjective as you know. But I am blessed indeed that you know of the heartbreak yet you also come away with the underlying message hope and healing. That means so much to me… ❤ xo

      Like

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