Seven Years

4-25-2014

The picture above popped up in my memory feed today on Facebook. Already feeling out of sorts, this added fuel to my sad fire. But it also was fuel for my poem today.The prompt was “thought” . So, I thought, as if I wasn’t already thinking, about how long and how short seven years are.

Thoughts on Seven Years
 
seven years ago we moved to a new state
it was not our choice
but that’s okay

and though there is such a thing called the seven years war
that’s not what we fought
in fact, many of those seven years were good ones
years of plenty like in Joseph’s dream
and Joseph's life
but years of plenty
soon became lean years, rawboned and grievous 

though we enjoyed hiking through the beauty of fall colors
and a few snow-angel winter snows
and spring on the back porch
there was much loss
the demise of three parents while we were away
longing to be with them

even though we often languished
in the city where we tried so hard
to belong
we were together

we finally migrated back home 
but one month later
you left
for your eternal home
and I try not to wither away
without you

Tampa

The PAD prompt for April 16th was to write a city poem.

a city on a bay
it’s a lightning city
with thunderstorms
and hurricanes
it’s a cigar city
with hand-rolled goodness
it’s a walking city
with people on the streets
day and night
it’s azalea and hibiscus
it’s  bougainvillea and palm trees
it’s Spanish music pouring from open windows 
with  ethnic markets and breweries
a river runs through it 
with alligators and a riverwalk
it’s neighbors and cracks in the sidewalk
it’s my city now

Slow Down

The PAD prompt for April 12th was to use at least three of these six words: convict, great, play, race, season, voice. I was able to use them all.

St. Augustine, FL
Slow Down

do not silence the voice
the one that gives convictions
the one that says slow down
the one that whispers you did it
 
the one that gives convictions
and now confidence
the one that whispers you did it
you finished the race
 
and now confidence
a season of rest
you finished the race
the great one
 
a season of rest
time for play
the great one
now behind you
 
time for play
do not silence the voice
now behind you
the one that says slow down

Communication or Waiting?

c/o neurosciencemarketing

The PAD prompt for April 17th was “Waiting”. But, I got to thinking, the poem I wrote on April 3, with the prompt of “Communication” could have done just as well here.

The past ten months I have done a lot of waiting. Waiting on hold. Waiting on mail. Waiting for the right house to come along. Waiting on other people. In all of this, I have waited on the Lord. Not always patiently I am sorry to say.


Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;  Wait, I say, on the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

So, here’s my poem from April 3rd.

Communication

Press one
Your wait time is 14 minutes
For the next available representative
Name
Phone number
Date Of birth
Last four of your social
Repeat  
Press two
Your wait time is 23 minutes
How may I help you?
I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that
Let me transfer you
Repeat
Press three
Please remain on the line
I’m  sorry for your loss
Your husband’s date of birth
Date of death
Last four of his social
Call us if you haven’t received it in 60 days
No, it takes up to 14 days after processing
No, it takes up to 28 days
Repeat
Press four
A death certificate
A driver's license
A marriage certificate
Repeat
Press five
Your address
Your former address
Beneficiaries 
My supervisor isn’t available
Leave your name and phone number
Repeat
Press six
I’m sorry, our office is closed

It’s April and you know what that means….

Ruby

PAD. Poem a Day. Poetry month.

I’ve been writing everyday, some good, some not so good. Most of my poems tend to center around Chuck, but yesterday I took a lighthearted turn. The prompt was to write a persona poem.

Ruby 

who do you think you are, 

walking down the sidewalk there

or in the street 

I’m sounding the alert

you must mean us harm

this is my house 

my yard

how dare you knock

or ring the bell

oh, hello

yes, come on in

let me sniff you

of course you may pet me

hey, don’t stop now

I’m going to follow you around

I think I’ll lick your hand

and sit at your feet

come back soon, okay?

Everything tells a story: Leaves

Wakulla Springs State Park – December, 2020

There is a Story

leaves with beauty in their death
carpet the forest floor
layer on layer each year

brilliant reds and oranges
fade to browns
return to the earth

water droplets
ornament the needles
of a sapling in the woods

there is a story here
of death and new life
an old story retold

the trill of a bird
like laughter
sweet and short

a soft reminder 
of joy in the morning
there is a story here

A poem for Chuck #1

Yes, I’ve written tons of poems about my love for Chuck, our relationship, and his love for me. But, this is a different one, not written by me. It was written by our friend, Dorothy Young, who wrote it when we left Jacksonville/Fruit Cove in 2014 for Birmingham. She gave him a framed copy when we moved. It hung in his home office in Bham and I’ll hang it again when I get to Tampa. Dorothy and Chuck had a special friendship, as evidenced in her words. She included it in her book, Loved from Eternity.

On a Friend Moving Away

Farewell, But not goodbye:

Be in God’s tender care.

Be found in Christ at last

Though here you be or there

Seek Him, the greatest good:

For Him all things forgo.

You must have him at last

If you would glory know.

Feast on His mighty love:

Rest in His mercy free

For then you shall be safe,

For all eternity.

There’s honey in the rock:

The sweetness is profound.

Trust Jesus Christ alone.

In Him is refuge found.

Poetry Once More

Tillie K. Fowler Park, Jacksonville, FL
The Trouble with Poetry: A Poem of Explanation
Billy Collins

The trouble with poetry, I realized
as I walked along a beach one night --
cold Florida sand under my bare feet,
a show of stars in the sky --

the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,
cut-purses, common shoplifters,
I thought to myself
as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly
from Lawrence Ferlinghetti --
to be perfectly honest for a moment --

the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
I carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

I agree that poetry encourages the writing of more poetry. That’s why April has been such an inspirational month for me the past 9-10 years. I started out this past April with a bang, but life has a way changing as we all know. I wrote the following poem the day after we got the first news – the first inkling that things were about to change. I ended up keeping two volumes from the old set of Childcraft Encyclopedias. #1- Poems and Rhymes and #10 – Make and Do. The rest are gone, along with probably 1/2 of my household possessions. Sometimes you just have to keep the important stuff and let go of the rest. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Can't remember when I first felt inspired to write a poem myself
But I do remember some poems of my childhood
From Childcraft: The How and Why Library
Volume One
Poems and Rhymes
I laughed at the Purple Cow and the limericks
I met characters like little Tommy Tucker
And Polly who put the kettle on
And Mistress Mary who was quite contrary
I chanted Pease Porridge Hot and Jack Be Nimble
Was introduced to the joyous words of Robert Louis Stevenson 
And Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Whose poem about the little girl with the little curl
Was one my father always quoted to me 
And I did the same for my curly headed daughter 
And now over fifty years later
I am packing those books up to carry with me once more
Because I just can’t bear to part with them


And Repeat

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love

I found the following poem on an old post. I wrote it in 2017. I’m not sure what I was thinking then, but it has new meaning to me now. The clock hands seem to slow down and speed up randomly these days. The dark and quiet follow me each night. “Till death do us part” has a whole new meaning on the other side. But my love was not blind. It was aware and alive. It still is.

And Repeat
 
clocks hands so slowly move
on across the minutes
twenty-four and repeat
 
quiet dawn to soft dusk 
and moments in between
at last the lovers meet
 
that raven evermore
returns time and again
dark and quiet to mind
 
until death do us part
in faded lace and white
oft times love is so blind
 
5-9-17

The Night

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The Night

Lights out, room darkening curtains drawn
Nature sounds play low in the background
Blankets spread just so
The whirr of the CPAP machine is more white noise
But sometimes the machine isn’t on
And the low snoring begins

The night has a life all its own

The low snoring may build in crescendo
But sometimes it just falls away
That’s when I hear it
The dog’s snoring
Not loud, just a pleasant little snuffling
In between these two beloveds
I snuggle down
I drift into sleep

The night has a life all its own

Sleep may last hours or not
A creak, a door closing
And I’m awake
Sometimes for minutes
Sometimes till dawn
Until light creeps around the edges

The night has a life all its own

I wrote this poem earlier in the year – before all that was familiar began to spin away. Is it possible to actually miss the sound of a CPAP machine? I think it is. I can no longer “snuggle down between these two beloved”, but the dog does her best to keep me company. The part that still rings true?

“…I’m awake
Sometimes for minutes
Sometimes till dawn
Until light creeps around the edges”