Saturday, April 28, 2007

Poetry of death - 3

The trouble with my hair

The trouble with my hair is that it is linked to a memory
Linked to a person
Linked to laughter
And to someone else’s dreams
It is linked to my birthdays
To very practical advice and my wedding day
It is linked to Lisa
It is linked to Anna straightening it with her new Daddy's cell phone
In church on Sunday morning and muttering 'What will we do with your haaira.'
This day it is pink streaks
'You aways where deese earrings to chuch.'
The trouble with my hair is that if it grows it only means more time has passed since she left
And everyday when I'm done styling it looks the same - flat
And I know she would say 'Uh, maybe you need to come see me.'
If I trim it myself it's as if I can hear her 'Don't do that! Just come by and I'll trim it for you quick.'
If I get it trimmed it feels like a temporary solution to an enduring ache
If I cut it short it feels like her life - cut short, just ended with no resolve
Dreams not lived out but perhaps in exchange for a greater dream, for a different plan, one that I don't understand and don't question
When it is cut short, it feels like I'm moving on but not through
The trouble with my hair is that it doesn't feel fully mine
I don't know what to do with it without her telling me
The trouble with my hair is that it makes me remember and never forget
And I never want to forget
That I had a friend named Lisa who had 3 passions
Her little princess, Anna
Her family
And hair

c. 2006 - by Sonia Spooner (used with permission)


When I saw this poem on my daughter’s MySpace, I teared up. Because unlike other deaths she experienced last year – both her grandmas, who were old – Lisa was young, in her 20s and Sonia's good friend. She died suddenly from a blood clot, at the beach, in the middle of playing soccer with her family.

I’d say if you’re hurting or angry or mystified or grieving – write about it. Write a poem. Poems can be more raw, with less explanation and setting the stage. Writing like this aids healing.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spring Poems

from the MSA* Poets Potpourri Society, a few spring poems to help you celebrate the coming (finally!) of spring.
Here are a few teasers:

Pushing and shouting
Spring arrives
jostling for colour
as Forsythia, Daffodil and Dandelion
hog the yellow crayon

from “Vernal Equinox” by Alvin Ens

Rushing, ever
like school boys home
with report cards
June races into summer
stampeding to exhaustion and boredom
like a dog scurrying
into a summer of holidays

from “June” by Alvin Ens

The rain is softly falling; it's morning at the lake
This time of day is most welcome, the solitude is great

from “Spring at Mill Lake” by Terry Broadworth

Read complete poems HERE.

And here’s a bouquet of four spring Haiku by Shelly Haggard

Photo: Elder tree blossoms
*MSA = Matsqui, Sumas, Abbotsford

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Poetry of death - 2

Last Dance

"You’d better start discussing
end-of-life issues."
The doctor said this in April
just days after my mother’s 92nd birthday.
Her deafness kept her from hearing.
Later in the car she asked,
"What did she say?
I want to know everything."

Her shock still shows
in pictures of my birthday party in May –
preoccupied, betrayed eyes
strained smile in a pale face.
When I, fearful she was getting depressed
and not willing to let her go myself
said to her often in those first last days,
"You could be healed.
God can do such a thing –
heal a person in an instant.
I will never stop praying that for you,"
she was silent.

She railed against her growing helplessness,
weakness, "I can’t go on like this.
I hate to be a burden."
I took her a book on heaven
and saw at each visit
how the bookmark was making
its slow descent.

One Tuesday in early June
even though it took some persuading
I wheeled her to her craft class.
I loved watching her give instructions.
She hadn’t lost any of the skill
with her hands, her way of explaining.
Here she was in charge.
"That helped pass the time,
took my mind off myself,"
she said when we got back.
"I’ll take you again next week," I said.
But she said, "It’s the last time.
I’ll never go again."

That first day in the hospital mid-June
I sat on her bed and we talked
amidst the chirps, bells,
PA announcements and the bustling squeak, squeak
of ER nurse shoes.
"Maybe it’s a good thing
I’ve had all this time
to get ready instead of just dropping
dead one day, like Mara’s Mom."
For once I kept my mouth shut.

I fed her supper that late-June afternoon
in Palliative Care.
The air conditioning felt good
after those weeks on the hot ward.
But the cool hadn’t improved her appetite.
"I’ll come again tomorrow
and feed you breakfast," I said.
She squeezed my hand before we left
and her eyes clung to mine
for a long significant moment.

Next morning when I arrived,
though she was still breathing
my dance partner
was gone.

c. 2007 - V. Nesdoly

Saturday, April 14, 2007

And the winners are ...

Today was the announcement of the Utmost Christian Writers 2007 Poetry Contest results.

Winners and links to winning poems were posted here at 4:00 p.m. MDT today.

Once again, as in 2004, Jan Wood won the top prize. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this very talented Saskatchewan poet. Congratulations, Jan!

If you are a Christian poet and neglected to enter, all is not lost, however. Utmost is running two more contests.

Check out the rhyming poetry contest (entries to be received by May 31/07).
Check out the Novice Christian Poetry Contest (open to previously unpublished poets only - entries to be received by August 31/07)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Poetry of death - 1

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon (1947 - 1995)

I have been thinking of doing a series on poetry and death. Sounds macabre for April, I know. But April is the month of my Mom’s birthday (she who died last June) and in my mind it’s Mom’s month, even though there are a host of other birthdays in April, including my own daughter’s tomorrow. However, I keep thinking about Mom. And so I’m going to devote some of this poetry month to the poetry of death.

That is one of the wonderful things about this genre of writing – how useful it is in processing big life-events like death.

The above is one of my favorites.

Writing and Rhyme

Subscribers to the Institute of Children’s Literature e-letter lately participated in a contest, writing and submitting poems about writing. Check out the result here.

Fellow Inscriber Glynis Belec and I scored honorable mentions. Way to go Glynis!