The house seemed smaller, now seen with older eyes...
The street seemed narrower, the trees taller..
Where once were open fields across the road
New construction had bloomed
The small fruit orchard had disappeared
But somehow we knew it would still be there....
Strangely different, ...yet much the same
There was an unfamiliar young child's tricycle
On the flagstone path that we laid...
In front of this little house that lies
Beyond the curve, where the old sycamore grew...
Suddenly, thirty years faded into that autumn day
And quickly had become a springtime of our lives.....
...of first Christmas trees,..of first anniversaries...
...a place where I cried night after night when mother died...
...and spent long, starry nights holding newborn babes....
Yes....it is all still there, in the little yellow house
Funny, but I'm glad they kept the yellow...
It has the same white shutters...
The little yellow house, with a flagstone pathway that we laid
That sits beyond the curve, where the old sycamore grew...
The wind billows out from the seat of his britches
With determined eyes, skinned knuckles and knees
He climbs up the rails nailed from old cedar pieces
To the uppermost yoke of the old pecan tree
He is Captain on board, in pretend salty breezes
From his perch in the bird's nest, the world in his view
A small town boy, who has never seen oceans
In the happiest place, where a boy's dreams come true
While the cornstalks stand duty, wavy pumpkin vine waters
He breaks off a branch and a sword fight ensues..
He says "Tally Ho...Land Ahoy!!" to his crew
Dogs are barking below, and he shouts out a warning
There are sharks all around, so his shipmates must heed
He is Master Commander, the ruler of nations
He dreams of adventure from his loft in the tree
As he watches the clouds sail across a blue sea
Till his mother calls him in, for his suppertime leave
Well, little boys grow, and a childhood will fade
The leaf of the pecan, no longer holds shade
Now a stump of the tree, is all that is left
Yet the memory still thrives, so deep in his breast
When the weight of the world comes tumbling down
He visits this place with the stump in the ground
The rings wrap around him, to take him aboard
To the place of his childhood, a place he adored
Tonight he will sleep in a bed of contentment
In his bunk he will dream of his loft in the tree
Tomorrow he'll climb up the steps to his vessel
Tomorrow he'll be where the eagles fly free....
There is stillness in this chilly night
How peaceful is a planet that glimmers white
Where frost and moonlight weave a silver glaze
And sillhouetted trees are black as ink
Where the only sign of life are whiffs of breath
Let me stand and drink upon the sky,
Then rest my eyes upon the glory of the world
Upon these strange and unfamiliar hills
I give my thanks for how such soothes my soul
Winter has buried our world in alabaster white
Familiar landmarks wear a cloak of new disguise
Yet still the same are scattered thorny lights
Splattered wildly in the blackness of a sky
Winter has polished up the stars against the dark
Brilliant, new, until their points are thistle sharp
How peaceful is a planet so glimmering white
To stand in voiceless wonder and gaze
Do not speak, the crystal world would shatter
Too fragile to bear the weight of words
Shadowed in the silent room, the day is almost done
Dusk climbs in through the window glass, with one last ray of sun
I start the task, climb on a chair, reach up to shelves so high
to mother's boxes neatly stacked, as the dust gets in my eyes
I take one down, to look inside and sit upon a chair
I find some musty linens, laces needing some repair
I also find old photographs, the year was '42
Her face was smooth as porcelian, with life still young and new
Old documents and letters, a history unveiled
Her letters, torn and yellowed, such stories they would tell
The next box held some china, so lovingly embellished
And then I found a book of verse, inscribed with poems she relished
Some dresses stained and wrinkled, their fabric thin and tattered
Were once a thing of beauty, as if they really mattered
Her jewelry, gold and silver, some lovely rings and brooches
A warm sensation circles me, her presence now approaches
I sense a change come over me, and fleeting leave of gloom
The darkness of the evening lifts, as sunlight fills the room
She wraps her warmth around me, her fragrance in the air
The grief I've held is free to go, I know that she is there
Among these things, I find the last, the smallest box of all
Inside it are the baby clothes, I wore when I was small
A letter there to tell me that she knows the tears I've cried
Her words of love that never died, they fill me up inside
These treasures speak her words to me, and now that I am grown
She wants to tell her story, those parts I've never known
I've heard her voice, while sitting here, among her china flowers
I"ve found such peace, she's next to me, to spend these quiet hours
So young, I was, and so naive
There was no doubt, I did believe
This babe who's latched inside my womb
The ties we had would always be
Latched on was he, as he was fed
Then later days, our hands instead
Not tall enough to open gates
I would reach the latch for his escape
In time he grew to need more space
The cord we had, still had it's place
The loving ties from birth, so long
Were gently stretching.., moving on,
Yet still remaining full and strong
In time he grew, to be a man
Our bond had changed, but still lives on
He fell in love, as it should be
He latched on with her, I'm glad to see
It didn't mean our own was gone
Songs are sung when lovers part
But no song for a mother's heart
When new adventures come one day
And new roads take him far away
The man he is, has been set free
To be the man he wants to be
The child he was is never gone
She's letting go, yet holding on
If once, one wish, were mine to choose
So many would my thoughts pursue
But one within my heart still yearns
For just one day, the clocks would turn
Together you and I would be
Sitting there among the trees
I would lift you up upon my knee
Just like we did when you were three…
For Francine's Contest: Children In Rhyme
O' middle child, dear son of mine, you have always let the others shine
All through the years, you have stood behind
---I want to say, I've noticed you
Your sister's charms, of course, we knew...
And your brother's skills were multitude
But, my quiet child, though your words were few
---I want to say I've noticed you
While people cheered, and guitars were played,
as your siblings sang upon the stage
You cheered them on with no restraint
---but, I want to say I've noticed you
Such wit and charm, a heart of gold,
More generous soul, I've never known
A shoulder you will always lend
---a brother, friend until the end
I love you all, .....of course I do
I have watched you grow, each one of you
My quiet child, you are still the same
---you'll step aside from all acclaim
As parents now, all three of you
I am proud beyond the words I hold
My middle child, I hope you know,
while you've always been a one to sow
a quiet gift to all you've known
---I want to say I've noticed you........
I remember you, from when there was a spring
When the seasons were ripe, with verdant green
Our nimble feet danced in the wind
and on the brink of everything
Not a furrow in the brow of youth
We borrowed life for just awhile
We tapped our shoes, on a promised stage
Where carefree laughter was the rage
that filled our age with endless miles
We danced and twirled a twin ballet
just you and me on summer's waves
Two pirouettes, in mode of curls
of blossoms, frilled, and tender leaves
unfurled in winds, we found a way
to soar our wings, above the world
We knew not yet
of death or dying
or of regret, or cause for crying
But, something frowned upon the season
You caught the wind, and without reason
A colder wind
that kept you flying
far beyond my eyes could see
And to the other side
beyond my words
beyond my tears
Now here alone
I touch the day
and taste the night
I will walk alone, in autumn sun
And lay myself on dying leaves
I think of you and think of then
I feel the wind against my face
that sweeps me to a distant place
where I recall what is not erased
I'm closer now... to hear the sound
The whisper of the seasons calling
Above the trees, the sky is blue
I think of you, and feel the breeze
And all the while, the leaves are falling
For Catie's Contest: Inspired by a poem by Elaine George: "Autumn - A Ballade"
For he who leans upon the ancient tree
In future’s shade, a thousand years from now
Will you engage a wrinkle in your brow
And ponder ore’ the death of fallen leaves?
Are we so not alike in fairness gained
Or time might choose to forge us enemy?
Would cloak, or hair, or skin, a different blend
Invite those eyes to shun away from me?
If first, those born, have greater weight to bear
Or yours, one day, the lift more heavy lot
Each step by step, we travel blind and torn
Do crossroads come the same or some are not?
Will one day find you leaning by a tree
And find a stone beneath the powdered dust
And wonder if it once belonged to me
To think it bone, or questions turned to rust?
Iambic Pentameter........By Carrie Richards
Cleaning out my refrigerator, an ice cube slides to the floor
startling the cat, and interrupting a locomotive of thought
that often tracks me down in a beam of light---
Today it streams through a window, where everything seems marred,
by doubt, and dust, crusts of ice and sticky jello spilled on a glassy shelf.
Oh, not the first time, this revelation of light,
I've had it before while kneeling on the floor as I do now,
and many times that I've knelt on a floor,
to clean up my messes,...
praying for help, praying for light, praying for forgiveness...
and now on the floor to sponge up melting ice, water and tears
Raising a young family...a life so demanding...
Caring and nursing...two sides of the coin...
My father and children....my husband caught between...
It wasn't the impossible...but was never enough...
The time took a toll....why did it seem cold....as cold as the ice?
Could I have held out?.... Could I have been stronger?...
A little while longer....
I shiver with memory,... or is it guilt, and regret? Regret, perhaps shame?
Is it only the chill of the open fridge door?
Or is it more?... So much more?
Hmm, interesting metaphor, "a open door"..........
did I leave it open long enough,... wide enough?
Did I do all I could? All I should ? Was I patient enough? Was I all I could be?
Was I tough enough to watch someone linger,
lingering on, I ponder it now...
Difficult years......but a fraction of life, is how it appears,....
Now looking back.... black fades to gray..
but it comes back in spades, to haunt me today
A little while longer.....
I could have been stronger....
like visitors from outer space
they came with tears, and lined the sidewalk
long in face, and arms embracing
some (I have no inkling) who
they were or why they felt compelled to come here
dozens came with casseroles
a few with flowers, wads of tissues
tender words of helpless mutterings
many acts of generous offerings
don't get me wrong, I watched the suffering
expressed in words or acts of kindness
I watched it all, and felt the love
did not dismiss the warm compassion
returned it all, with pure compliance
a thankful heart, a swollen throat
I hugged these strangers at the door
to comfort them, who shed their tears
upon my shoulder, offered them
a place to share their sympathies
a place to spend their mercy, pure
but, this was my child who suffered loss
impossible........I can't express it
protected from the very start, by
loving hands, her dad's and mine,
we watched her grow, and let her go
she grew from the vine ....into a rose
but life composed a tragedy with goals
beyond our reach...beyond our wildest dreams
and left her with a loss beyond control
like visitors from outer space we watch
as others come, and others go
they blow into their tissue wads
and empty the boxes one by one
and cry with us, and then they all go home
do we cry........? Oh no, not yet...
instead we smile a grateful smile
and thank them kindly for the while
and for the ways they share their love
but we can't cry into our own clenched wad
of tissue from the tissue box
she needs us to be strong, somehow
and so that is the way it is, we vow...to hold back all the tears for now
for, this was my child who suffered loss
impossible........I can't express it