One last moment,
I just needed one.
your wedding so beautiful.
You pledged a lifetime of love
to this wonderful woman at your side
and I watched, tears in my eyes.
I looked on, so very proud of you.
Your compassion, caring,
your talent, accomplishments.
All things good.
I knew you must leave
cleave unto your love.
I knew that
and I looked on lovingly.
And when the ceremony was done
suddenly, in that crowded room,
just before the photos began
you came to me
overcome by emotion.
You were in my arms
and I flashed back.
Holding infant-you to my chest
And then you pushed back
asked for a tissue,
turned and walked to your wife.
And just like that,
you became a man.
But you’d given me,
that one last moment.
Day 29 in National Poetry Writing Month. Today Toads asks us to write about something that signaled almost the end. This was an amazing moment in my life….one that I remember distinctly and that my son, to this day, has no recollection of. For me, I am still grateful I had this one last moment with him as my young son. And by the way, he is a very happily married man with his bride/wonderful woman by his side and three delightful children.
He was nine years older.
His daddy went off to war,
I was the afterthought.
I was the tag-along
the dawdling one behind.
I delivered his eulogy
unbelievably far too soon.
Mom and dad sat numb.
All these years later
they wait for me again,
resting on a grassy hill.
Not yet, I whisper.
Day 16 of National Poetry Writing Month and today Toads asks us to write about something that stems from the word “remains” — the word itself does not need to be included. This poem is also posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets’ Open Link Night which I host today. Poets may post one poem of their choice, no particular form or prompt. dVerse opens at 3 PM Boston time today.
There once was a woman named Helen Cecile
married and happy, her life surreal.
Many an escapade made us laugh,
silliness multiplied gaffe by gaffe.
I remember a day we spent at the zoo
where she created quite the to-do.
On the visitor’s side of the animal’s moat
she suddenly blanched and cleared her throat.
Shaking she stood near the pacing jaguars
knee red and swollen, stuck between bars.
Zookeepers rushed to embarrassing scene,
saving the day, they applied vaseline.
Seeking calm and less to-do
we headed to the petting zoo.
She laughed out loud patting the goats
who gathered round her petticoats.
Closing time near, she strolled through the gate,
stopped short and turned, sensing less weight.
Waving at us, with her once-flowered purse
she swore at the goats. You are perverse!
Her purse, you see, was now quite bald
they’d nudged and ate, till it was mauled.
My mother’s name was Helen Cecile,
life with her was surely surreal.
In between faults lie love and gaffes
missing-her-tears, softened by laughs.
I’m behind here….written for day 17 of Napowrimo: Prompt was to write about a family anecdote. Need to catch up with days 18, 19 and today, 20. More to come.
genetic bits and pieces
human building blocks
lately I realize
I am most me
when I am with you
Lillian Mae Gruenwald. My full name before marriage. Lillian after my maternal grandmother, and by happenstance, my father’s twin sister. Mae after a beloved great-aunt. I hated it. The name; not my relatives. Cousins called me Lilly Mae or Little Mae. To everyone else I was Lillian.
In high school I was the skinny girl on the cheerleader squad. The only one chosen because of acrobatic abilities. I was also the only girl on the debate team. I dared to carry long metal boxes of index cards filled with researched “evidence.” I argued aggressively with boys, at tournaments all over the state of Illinois. To me, Lillian Gruenwald was a never-would-vote-for-homecoming-queen kind of name. And I was right. At homecoming, I was left leading the crowd in cheers for our Bulldogs while the Gail Shorts and Kay Savels left to change clothes. I watched as they sedately rode around the field at half-time, draped over new-model convertibles, donated for the occasion by the local Oldsmobile dealer.
So when my folks readied to leave me at college on that fateful day in early Autumn 1965, a crisp, cool, fresh day, I fidgeted. I willed them to leave before anyone came up to greet us. They finally did, after dutifully giving their Lillian lots of parental advice and enough hugs to smother me. I stood on the curb by the dorm, finally alone. Poised for a new life. On the brink of a new beginning. And then some newbie freshmen came up to greet me. I don’t remember who they were. Or how many there were. But I distinctly remember grinning, holding out my hand to shake their hands, and saying confidently, “Hi, I’m Lill.”
sugar maple tree
dwarfed in surrounding green leaves
claims fall glory with crimson red
Toni is hosting Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. The theme today is KOMOREEI…a Japanese terms that literally means the light filtered between leaves, usually occurring in spring and fall…that in-between season. We’re asked to write about something that has occurred in between seasons. Haibun: 2 or 3 tightly written paragraphs of prose, not fiction; followed by a haiku. In true Japanese form, the haiku is not beholden to the syllabic count, rather must be about nature and include a “season” word. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Photo in Boston’s Public Garden, Fall 2016. PS: I’m happy being called Lill or Lillian these days….with age comes a knowledge that we are who we are, regardless of the name.
irridescent gems within my mind,
words shiver flutter, push for prominence.
Ideas flow through synapses
sometimes like scattered leaves
rearranged by sudden gusts.
Poetic musing wrestles reality.
Cacophonous silent noise
atonal at times,
until the coda appears.
Navy blue jumper
white Peter Pan collar blouse,
ICS grade school uniform.
Hand reaches into font
presses damp sponge,
wet hand crosses self.
I skip into the sun.
Written for Misky’s Twiglet #15, “rushing waters.” A twiglet, the shorter the better, is a phrase to prompt a flow, thought or memory. Yep, that’s me in third grade!
hot licks that seared your soul.
Rosary beads tucked in drawer
near lace-edged handkerchiefs
and candy wrappers.
she held the deck,
played war occasionally.
A one-man woman she
danced to big band sounds.
Buried sister, son
two birthdays apart,
hers not theirs.
Gone these many years,
she still pops in and out
Walt is hosting dVerse Poets’ Pub today, asking us to write about a character.
She was indeed.
Fourth grade mimic,
knee socks rolled down to puffy anklets
like sophisticated high school girls.
Three nickels clink and plunk,
bus fare to my Saturday dream.
Past Neisner’s Five and Dime
where the mynah bird sqwaks at little fingers,
guards balls and jacks in the wooden cubby.
One aisle over from ladies cotton underpants.
Past Durkin and Durkins, that grown-up place
where daddy buys one suit, every other year.
And there it is, bakery supreme.
Plastic number thirty-four, I wait and wait.
One chocolate éclair please.
Deep, yellow, cold, smooth custard
slathered between puffy sweet dough,
cut in uneven halves. Lips first lick
dark chocolate swirled on top.
Nothing ever tasted so good,
standing on linoleum floor
in black and white saddle shoes,
knee socks rolled down.
Photo Credit: Daniel West. Day 3 Winter Poetry Challenge: Write about a candy or something sweet that you loved as a child.
Red glass ball,
LILLIAN in first-grade teacher print.
Fragile, egg-shell-thin pink bell.
Crooked winged, the airplane flies
above crayoned Santa, sparse cotton beard,
black boots colored outside the lines.
Me, mother, daddy and my big brother Chuck.
All gone now, save me,
and their three ornaments
carefully hung at the top of the tree.