The Gathering

Love and laughter abound
from youngest to oldest, three generations.
Memories shared, stories told, memories made.
The circle of love goes around and round . . .
. . . we are blessed to still be aboard.
Thankful for every day.

Traditional cousins’ bench shot. In the top one, youngest is 2 and on the bottom, she’s almost 10!
Fifty-one years…..thankful for every day.
Hail hail, the gang’s all here….
Our much loved children and grandchildren.

All photos from last weekend….and what a joyful time we had at a marvelous VRBO farmhouse in Virginia!

Sweet Apples

Three apple trees.
Due date approaching.
Branches loaded with fruit,
over-ripe ones on ground
sickly sweet with buzzing bees.
Fresh picked apples brought inside,
peeled carefully, cut in halves,
sliced after cores are tossed.
Seasoned with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg
they’re left to sit, making their own juice.
I move the rolling pin over the dough,
stretching it carefully into shape, leaning in
as close to counter as my swollen belly allows.
And then I feel it. Shirt lifted, I look…..
our soon-to-be little one is rolling too.
Crusts placed gingerly in aluminum pie pans
spicy scented apple mixture poured into tins.
Butter pads scattered on top, then top crust placed.
Crimping dough I smile, remembering.
Yesterday I folded sweet little undershirts,
cloth diapers, and placed them just so
on shelf in second-hand bassinette.
Pies made, into the freezer they go.
All the preparations done, we wait.
Iowa’s winter won’t seem so harsh this year.
We’ll have that heavenly apple aroma
as one of our pies bake,
and we’ll be holding a tiny baby boy or girl
ever so closely in our arms.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Kim asks us to consider fruit….pick a fruit…..what does it remind us of. What is it like? Describe it.
Immediately our apple trees came to mind from when we lived in rural Iowa. And then memories came flooding back. These were the days when we went to the dr. to find out if we were pregnant. And the only gender reveal was when the baby was born. Our daughter was born after I’d frozen our apple pies for the winter – she’s now 46!

Lesson in Timing

Diapers, bedtime stories,
Christmas stockings.
Driving them to lessons,
reading report cards.
Wound up like a top
I whizzed through the arcane.
Now in my golden years
I think back and realize.
I should have paid more mind.
The arcane was indeed
the miraculous.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today I’m hosting and ask people to include the word “wound” or a form of the word in a poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. Notice that “wound” is a homograph. There are two pronunciations and each has a different meaning: He suffered a wound in battle. VS She is wound up like a top. Folks are free to use either pronunciation/meaning or both! If using both, their poem must still consist of exactly 44 words, not including the title.

Photos are of our children who are now 45 and 46! And yes that’s me, about forty years ago!

Bridges

She crossed a bridge with the utmost faith
knowing her husband, gone so long,
and her Lord would be on the other side.
We who wait in this waystation
bid her farewell and rest
and we move on as we must.

Sometimes a bridge is like a catapult,
a sudden bolt from here to there.
Others seem miles long
as we cross treacherous waters,
painful steps, unsure of where they lead,
straining to make the span longer still.

I stand outside tonight,
staring at the stars above our universe.
I wonder and I hope.
Peace and unconditional love
must surely have met you
as you knew it would,
when you crossed over to the other side.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today, Merril talks about bridges and asks us to either write a poem in a particular form, or to somehow write about bridges. This poem is dedicated to my sister-in-law Starr. We lost her on April 10th. She and I were planning on my visiting in July….it was not to be. I shall miss her. I do miss her.

Between Here and There

What, cruel fate?
When body ages naturally,
stooped and frail but moving still,
enjoying time with family and friends,
you dare to strike unexpectedly?

You send blood careening to skull
where corpuscles wreak havoc,
inflict destruction without mercy.
Life gasps bereft of speech, bereft of steps.
Minimal movement left, only on left side.

Now dear Starr, comes time to leave,
the good life lived.
Sustained by faith,
your one love gone far too soon,
waits impatiently beyond.

Ascend into the universe,
soar upon angel’s wings.
Painful our goodbyes
though we understand your need,
your exhaustion, your readiness.

Your body upon its own journey,
earthly path to far past stars.
We hold your hand, not to tether you.
Rather to show our love, provide comfort,
an assuring touch in this transition time.

And when you are gone from here, 
body spent, spirit uplifted, 
you will be here with us
and simultaneously there.
Forever imprinted upon our heart.

This is dedicated to my sister-in-law Starr and her family. Starr, eighty-three, entered hospice this past weekend. She has five children, eleven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. She lost her husband, my wonderful brother, to a massive heart attack when he was only fifty-one. We shall all miss her terribly.

Written for dVerse where today Grace hosts with a prompt entitled “The Body and Poetry.”

Also included in NaPoWriMo Day 8 – National Poetry Writing Month – where the challenge is to write a poem every day in April.

Ode to the Aperture

Aperture, open-shut
time frozen in space,
minute details embraced.
Butter-colored flower filaments
crowned by mustard-yellow pollen.
Violas waving in purple-lemony shades.
Mother smiling back at me,
weeks before she died.
Father sits, infant twin
one-hundred years ago.
All long gone, but with me still.

Written for Quadrill Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril asks us to use the word “embrace” (or a form of the word) in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. Pub opens at 3:00 Boston time. Drop by! All are welcome.

Aperture refers to the opening of a camera lens’s diaphragm through which light passes. Around 1880 photographers realized that aperture size affected depth of field.

I have old black and white framed photographs on our living room shelf (some of them shown above). They are family treasures.

We take photography for granted these days….clicking away with our iPhone, deleting what we don’t want. Storing the rest in cyberspace. I remember when I had to take a roll of film to the drug store; wait a week or two to pick up my photos; and then be so disappointed in the quality of so many. What a world of convenience we live in! And thank goodness for the photographers of olden days!

Just sitting here thinking . . .

Reflecting today – don’t know why exactly.
Just am.
Wondering . . .
who has known me my entire life?
Requires they be older than me.
Parents, brother, grandparents,
aunts, uncles, five cousins.
But all departed from this earth.
Have I known me all my life?
Earliest memories,
not gleaned from photographs?
Me at age five.
So no,
I haven’t known me all my life.
Turns out, no one on this earth has.
Odd.
Life is just odd.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. I’m hosting OLN today. That means folks can post any one poem of their choosing: no prompt, form or topic requirements. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come on over and imbibe some words!

Photos in collage: Left to right top row – me with mom and dad; my folks and my brother Chuckie (I called him that all his life) in summer; me and my brother before his high school graduation.
Left to right middle row: mom and dad; my gramma the year before she died; me as an infant.
Left to right bottom row: my brother and I not too many years before he died suddenly at age 51; my brother and I with our grandparents; me, mom, dad and Chuckie at my baptism. He was nine years older than me.

The ravages of war are sometimes steeped in silence . . .

Orderly spaced headstones
gleam pristine in morning sun.
Blood stains and broken bodies,
beneath the verdant green.

Stilled smile in photo frame
clutched to breast each night.
Bereft widow lies in bed,
his voice only within her head.

Stanley, called to World War II,
assigned to stressful desk job.
Safe, his thankful family thought,
gentle soul far from battle.

But war destroys in different ways.
Pressure built. Commands grew harsh.
Time, country, lives at stake.
Stanley broke . . . mind imploded.

Other soldiers moved forward,
Stanley retreated inward.
Into the mind’s maze.
once in – no way out.

His world, one room. His eyes vacant.
No words. Only rare mutterings.
His way lost in the war,
once a brilliant mind, is where?

Weekly family visits
in his once was home.
Devoted family tried
tried to talk, to share.

You bring me to be with you
but Iamnot here

I amnotanywhere
Iwillneverbeeagain


The cacophony of war –
sometimes evident
in the silence we see.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today Bjorn asks us to consider the poetry of war.
My first thought when I read this prompt, was of Arlington Cemetery. And I thought of the hushed silence in that sacred space. And then I thought of my husband’s Uncle Stanley who came back from World War II a different person. I am of the mind that war is hell . . . no matter one’s role in it.

Image from Pixabay.com

Senses

2020 Christmas season begins with a gray, gloomy winter view out my front window. Remnants of light snowfall melt into a muddy mess. Turning from bleakness, I behold the color of Christmas spread throughout every room. Our tall green tree lit with colored bulbs, covered with sparkling ornaments collected for 60 years from travels and special life moments in my family. Red candles in brass candlesticks glow, the scent of cinnamon and peppermint awaken my senses. Alone, missing my family, I close my eyes and they are here.

Redbird in front tree
Sings familiar melody
Amaryllis blooms.

(Written by dear friend, Lindsey Ein)