Table my husband is refinishing


the word elicits an image, a mood—

imbued with destiny unfulfilled, undefined

unsigned and left undone

begun, then—no more

war, death, sorrow unbearable,

terrible and incomplete


Perhaps though,

perhaps instead,

perhaps there’s promise

and hope ahead

fleeting moments awaiting calmness

just the creative urge delayed,

a piece put away, not by sorrow,

simply set aside, until tomorrow.


Inspired by this NPR Morning Edition story on an art exhibit of “unfinished” work. You can see some of the works discussed on the Web site.


17 thoughts on “Unfinished

  1. You make an important point with your poem, Merril. So much about life is the perspective we bring to it. I joined in a discussion of Langston Hughes’ poem “Dream Deferred.” While most of us read despair in much of the phrasing, one young woman suggested that every phrase could have a positive outlook if you got your head in the right place.

    • Thanks, Carol. That’s interesting.
      Dream Deferred is such a great poem–interesting to hear different perspectives.
      My husband and I were talking about how I tend to be an optimist. (And I have a ton of unfinished projects.) 🙂

  2. What happens to a dream deferred?
    Does it dry up
    Like a raisin in the sun?

    No, there’s HOPE that Mr. D. will dash to “destiny fulfilled”!

    Clever goad you have here, Merril!

  3. I like your saying such warm thoughts (perhaps. . . ) about setting things aside when calmness allows more time to finish things.
    I think of many things in a positive light, Merril. I see unfinished business and projects in my grown children’s houses. They have busy lives with young children. Things will get done during slower paced winters or another time period.
    I have stuffed closets, waiting to become uncluttered; one of these days! 🙂

  4. Ah – two thoughts sprang to my mind as I read this, Merril – why put of until tomorrow what can be done today and tomorrow never comes. The latter makes you feel that more things shouldn’t be left unfinished! Nice poem.

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