Respect, at Arm’s Length: A Poem

On a walk today, a piece of paper caught my eye. I took a photo, and the photo took me to a new land of thought. Here is the photo and the poem that resulted.

The word respect.

The word is respect. ©2013 Christy Birmingham

Respect, at Arm’s Length

Respect comes easy,
Or does it?
Regret comes easier to me.

Regret meets me at the door
With a pinch on my arm,
A jolting movement that I
Never mistake as love.

Respect moves people with a
Force they cannot see, or perhaps
It is that they choose instead to
Focus on their own thoughts and
Soak them yet again in jars of self-pity.

Regret and respect play,
In my mind, dueling on
A tennis court that surrendered its
Net many years ago.

I lace up my sneakers and
Prepare for the next
Pinch, jolt, muddle of
Tears on my cheek,
Before I open the door to step
Outside of the house, yet step
Inside of myself, and so
There another day begins for me.

©2013 Christy Birmingham


80 thoughts on “Respect, at Arm’s Length: A Poem

  1. Hawaiian Odysseus (@LORDSOFTHEFLY)

    My dear Christy,

    I’m thrilled that you pinned your beautiful poem to ??? I honestly don’t have a clue how this pinterest stuff works. Ha-ha! I’m just an old guy trying to figure out how to get along in a heavily fortified SEO maze. In any event, I finally figured out how to even open your poem, and I tell you, the effort was well worth it. Thanks for sharing, my friend! Aloha!



  2. filbio

    Such a contradiction of emotion here.I think it is also easier to regret, as many of us look back on decisions we did not make that we should have. Good poem.


  3. penpusherpen

    You are so right Christy, I think regret is much more attuned in our minds than respect. Each new day brings more juxtaposed emotions, warring and jarring, yet we cope. (with new bruises to show tho’ ) Love the way you’ve worded this one. xPenx


  4. Cat Forsley

    amazing that You found that little piece of paper – with such BIG thoughts –
    what an amazing prompt ………..huh ?
    🙂 wow ……………
    sometimes i find something like that – or rather it finds me > which is it >
    ???? i dunno 🙂
    beautiful poem xxx
    C xxx


  5. raymond alexander kukkee

    “Respect moves people with a
    Force they cannot see”

    –a very astute observation, Christyb.You see the world through unique eyes. No net, no no stopping the game of life in your game of life….. Beautiful. “:) R.


  6. aquileana/amalia

    Regrets & respect….

    Seems as if it isn´t easy to choose your part in the play with your emotions being pulled in this two different directions… But sometimes crying sets us free from the jail of sorrow and regret…. clearing up to scene and offering you paths you haven’t yet considered. I wonder if this poem is related to some personal experience or if you just “create” a third person character (like the one ecard about writers shows us once on Google plus)…

    Despite this, the relevant thing is that “she” carries on, set bad times away from her and go out for a long walk towards unknown boundaries of not confort zones. I mean she steps forward, open the door and leaves the problems and regrets behind her…

    I respect “her” for being so brave and i´d rather say, after knowing her for a while, I can say without doubts, that am actually beginning to admire her!…

    Hugs and very well done 😉 Christy my dear friend…

    Aquileana 🙂


    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      She is moving on, my dear friend, and you see so much light where there was once darkness. The shades on the window are pulling away and welcoming in positive feelings. Hugs to you Amalia, for being a wonderful writer, thinker, and friend! xo


  7. mywithershins

    It seems as though you need to kick out ‘regret’ and welcome in ‘respect’. You deserve the respect of everyone and should not have to put up with anything less. Take care. 🙂


  8. Jane Carroll

    Good one, Christy! Isn’t it amazing how things like that little slip of paper show up in our lives and bring out such powerful insights? Oh…love the new picture of you!


  9. rollyachabot

    Hi Christy… love the way you have brought all of this from a piece of you found on your walk. You are a deep thinker and to me is the essences of becoming a great poet.
    I love the fact thought of you finding a new day each morning Christy…

    Hugs on your Canada Day Weekend…


  10. writerlysam

    Your imagery is lovely. I loved how you described the battle that wages inside each of us. I especially liked this line, “A tennis court that surrendered its Net many years ago” – powerful stuff!


  11. Maggie Thom

    Very nice. “soak them yet again in jars of self-pity” – wow. Very powerful.
    I just wrote an article for Wednesday on regret. 🙂
    Would you mind if I posted your poem on a facebook group I belong to – poetry lovers. I would give you credit and put your link.


      1. Maggie Thom

        Thank you. And I’m going to reference it on my blog for Friday with my post about regret. I’ll ping back to your website. 🙂


  12. Julie Catherine

    Christy, love the concept and your wordplay with this poem! I’m sure many of us experience regret in our lives, but one thing for sure is that I have a great deal of RESPECT for you! Love and hugs, Julie xoxox


  13. Pingback: Regrets… I Don’t Want Them | Maggie Thom

  14. Talicha J.

    isn’t amazing to see what something so simple as a piece of paper on the ground can illicit from us? great job Christy, as always, I enjoyed reading this and the photo was awesome as well 🙂


  15. Valerie

    Your expressions come from a deep duo of resolved and unresolved happenings. As you continue on your personal journey we too will be enriched. Nothing like poems from the heart!! Speak it sister and in turn help activate our creative juices.


  16. Fiestaestrella

    This is interesting, Christy. I had never considered how ‘respect’ and ‘regret’ could be on the same continuum. I like how you cleverly posited them as though dueling on a tennis court – with a surrendered net.



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