We Live Our Quiet Lives

We live our quiet lives

On streets with quaint names

In homes designed to let us look out

But carefully keep others from looking in

When the doorbell rings it gives us a start

As when a relative arrives unannounced

Or a solicitor stops by to ask money

Quiet quaint careful lives

Behind small numbers 


Sometimes we will dine

With friends on the waterfront

A restaurant where we’re anonymous

Downing the same oysters the same ale

On starched tablecloths & starched napkins

Watching the boats crawl the channel

On their way to some concrete berth

Hidden in a maze of waterways

In a park ‘n ride harbor


The wrought iron sign

On the lawn says Welcome!

Yet life has no free time for neighbors

Let alone any free time for the strangers

We’ve systematically strategically become

One evening nameless people will come

To take us away and nameless trucks

Will load up what remains

To sell at a thrift store


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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8 Responses to We Live Our Quiet Lives

  1. such a sad portrait – my disability has made me housebound for a long time – but I try to remain as gregarious and companionable as possible – alas, the old days of a house ever filled with friendly faces are long gone


    • Yes, Paul, it is sad how the years & and the culture have brought ever greater alienation . . . I’m sorry to hear how your disabilities limit your life! Still your poems are like windows through which you reach out and touch world. Good for you!


  2. hypercryptical says:

    A sad reflection of our times, and I fear we will become more insular, confining ourselves to perceived friendships on Facebook and Twitter.
    In my workplace, the young folk – when on a break – text text text, barely speaking to each other. How barren we have become.
    This is a sad response in itself! Let us fight for the return of conversation! (I think blogging is a pretty good way to communicate.)
    Anna :o]


    • Anna,
      Thanks for the thoughtful note on my poem. From the vantage of many years I see that ‘where we are’ is the predictable destination of our affluence which has blinded us to our need for each other. Ours is such an affordable detachment which previous generations never knew because of their interdependence . . . I’m afraid I am not optimistic about the brave new world we have fashioned . . . I welcome a conversation any time. You may contact me if you like at peternotehelfer@gmail.com . . . Blessings . . .


      • hypercryptical says:

        Would love to converse with you Peter – I have bookmarked this page and will write sometime over the week-end.
        Although our PC’s widen our knowledge (the world is at our fingertips) – it is impersonal. It is true my PC is also one of my best friends…I too have fallen into the trap…but hopefully not in the narrow sense.
        That said, through blogging, I write to two wonderful people I would have never met in real life, and we have become great friends.
        It is probable that if we lived in the same town, worked at the same workplace, we might have passed each other in a corridor – but never ‘met’ – believing we had nothing in common. How we build our own barriers.
        Tis also true were it not for the fact I have recently subscribed to Poet’s Corner, clicked onto an email entry and then clicked onto your response – I would not be aware of your existence. So I like the www!
        Kind regards
        Anna :o]
        PS i have just blue-tacked a little note to myself, on the PC. It reads: Write to Peter!


    • Anna, I look forward to reading your thoughts and the conversation that might ensue . . .
      Blessings . . .


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