pictured words

a simple pairing of pictures and poetry

Tag: Family

Two Sisters in Three Chapters

My big sister and me

Chapter 1.  Rain.

The day I was born,
it rained hard on my sister …
submerging her soul.

Chapter 2. Wombs.

Her first pregnancy’s
uniqueness dimmed, when I found
myself pregnant, too.

Pregnant together
again. A son for me. A
tragic loss for her.

Simultaneous
third pregnancies perhaps seemed
a cruel joke, to her.

Chapter 3.  Lost and Found.

In thirty-five days,
we lost Mom and Dad, and found
a common heartache.

In thirty-five days,
we lost Mom and Dad, and found
shared grief is shared love.

In thirty-five days,
we lost Mom and Dad, and found
a needed sister.

© Marie Elena Good, 2020


Home is where I watch the Buckeyes with Dad

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As August slips into the back side,
and daylight is squeezed
into fewer hours,
I miss the distant sound
of drum cadence,
bringing in a new season.
In just a couple weeks,
Dad and I would have had
our decades-long ritual
of gathering in front of the T.V.
and saying (as though it is a surprise),
“Can you believe it is already
the first game of the season?
Didn’t the season just end?”

It didn’t matter whose home we
were in,

until it did.

Those final years, he became too frail,
and it became harder,
and then impossible,
to get Mom out the door.
So we would haul food to their place,
and hope Dad could stay awake
and out of the bathroom
for most of the game.
We hoped he could enjoy it
a fraction of what he used to.

The lamp that was part of each home
Mom and Dad called theirs
now lights my front window
as I write poems
about football
and marching bands
and drum cadence
and Mom
and Dad.

Because poems
and their light
are all that remain.

 

© Marie Elena Good, 2020

 

YESTERDAYS (Father’s Day 2020 Sonnet for my Dad)

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Just one more chance to hear your drum set swing,
And feel the pride well up inside my core.
And I believe I’d give most anything
To watch as you conduct a band once more.

To hear you call Mom Sweet Pea one more time,
And see the love for her in aging eyes
That cleaved to days of youth, well past their prime,
Embracing the enchantment love implies.

From time to time, I feel as though you’re near.
I sometimes hear your words play through my mind.
Oh how I’d love to linger for a year
While you are here, and death is left behind.

Though we may try to hold what fades away,
Our yesterdays were never meant to stay.

© Marie Elena Good, 2020

ONE (Ekphrastic)

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Love, laughter, and fun
under the same moon and sun,
for we are all one.

© Marie Elena Good, 2020

#seventeenintwenty

RELATIONSHIP

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This is an age of unbroken connection.
Our fingertips tap into instant links.
We’ve little tolerance for imperfection,
And as our ego grows, our goodwill shrinks.

And in this age of unbroken connection,
Our face-to-face relationships have waned.
Resulting loss of physical affection
May render us emotionally maimed.

Now suddenly a time of social distance
Is thrust upon us necessarily.
Most look for ways to be of some assistance,
And find these ways, extraordinarily.

I’m thankful in this time of social distance
For God, who binds my drifting heart to His.
Our Father God pursues us with persistence.
Be still, and let Him show you who He is.

© Marie Elena Good, 2020

Quick note: My last three lines include words and truths from scripture, and from a long-loved hymn, as follows:

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson includes the phrase of prayer, “Bind my wandering heart to thee.”

The Bible overflows with God’s pursuit of us, including Psalm 139.

Psalm 46:10 tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Second Week of February (an Ekphrastic poem)

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It has been four years
since we nearly lost Izzy,
our grandbaby girl.

It has been two years
since my mother passed on to
the heavenly realm.

Now my son-in-law’s
mother is hospitalized,
fighting for her life.

The second week of
the second month of each year
feels like a movie –

a film I am in,
but choose to view from a safe
distance. Unseated.

© Marie Elena Good, 2020

McKelvey’s

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Photo source unknown.  Found at Bob on Books.

When I was a child, Christmas season included a trip downtown to window shop. Mom and Aunt Peg, my sister,  our Grandma, and our cousins went together.   My favorite was McKelvey’s Department Store, where our moms let us kids go to the fifth floor – the toy floor! Countless beautiful dolls, doll houses, trains, erector sets, life-sized stuffed animals, puzzles, paper dolls, coloring books and crayons galore, and a huge gumball machine. Imagine the magic! Not just a section, but an entire floor devoted to toys.   And imagine the disappointment when Mom and Aunt Peg came through the elevator doors, and we knew it was time to leave.

No purchase needed
when you’re dreaming with cousins
and Santa’s in town.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

MOM (a tribute)

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I.
You told me of the love in my eyes for you
when you first held me in your arms
the day I was born.
Is it any wonder.
I knew you, and had already experienced
the gentle warmth that was you.

II.
All my friends thought me the luckiest girl
to be able to call you mom,
even though you didn’t tolerate misbehavior
or disrespect. They saw the love right through
the discipline.  I tried to emulate you,
but it seems that isn’t the same as
it being a part of who you are.

III.
I saw how the mention of you
brought warm smiles.
Your gentle demeanor,
laughter, and love
were contagious.

IV.
I understand being an introvert,
and I ponder with amazement
how you dealt with that part of you.
You could have written a “how to,”
I believe. I understand more and more
the sacrifices you made.
The way you encouraged others,
and always had a kind word to offer.
The way you treated everyone
with the same level of respect.
Fiercely loyal to those you were closest to,
in ways that had to have been draining.
But we didn’t see that you were drained.
You would simply go “rest [your] back
for a few minutes,” or “rest [your] eyes.”

V.
You were my moral compass,
and still are.  I feel your nudges.
I hear your gentle voice. I pray
I inherited more of you
than I see in myself.
From womb to death,
and now beyond,
I thank God for the blessing
of you.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

All About the Love

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Dad was a teacher, a band director, and a professional musician.  In all of these professions, he was my father.  I was always learning in his presence.  He gave everything one hundred percent.  I hear, in his voice: “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”  “Take it with you.  If you need it, you’ll have it.”  “Do your best.” “Practice right.”  “Never look back.  Just move forward.”  “No regrets.” “Love is the most important thing.”

All of it, important.  All of it, useful.  All of it, wise.

There were times I was privileged to witness him at his core.  Times that planted pride and love in my heart that I can hardly express. One of the things that made my knees weak came very late in life.  I was sitting with a now extremely fragile man who was watching the love of his life slip slowly away, due to Alzheimer’s.  “I’m not sure how to handle the coming day when I go to her room to kiss her goodnight, and she doesn’t know who I am.”  My heart.  The conversation was one of the hardest of my life.  But also one that showed me he was still, in his elderly and fragile state, my father.  As we talked about dark days ahead that could begin any moment, he gave me advice that encompassed all he was:  “No matter what happens, remember her love.”

Love enthusiastically.
Love takes practice.  Practice daily.
Take love with you.  If you need it, you’ll have it.
(You’ll need it.)

Thank you, Dad.  Thank you.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

DEAR MOM AND DAD,

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Dear Mom and Dad,

Having devoted grandparents made my childhood something special.  Holidays were spectacular, with wall-to-wall cousins and outstanding meals — Irish on one side; Italian on the other.  Summertime meant choosing a cousin to spend a few nights at Grandma and Grandpa’s.  I suppose you probably knew, but we were kind of given free reign, and ice cream and nonpareils rained freely.  Those were fun years of my life.  I miss the years, and I miss my grandparents.

I don’t miss them like my kids miss you.  We didn’t have the special closeness my kids had with you … the kind where they weren’t sure they could ever live without you.  The kind where they spent their lives fearing the inevitable.  The kind that took special grace from God to go on in the wake of losing you both within 35 days of each other.  The kind that begs, “Just one more day.  Just one more conversation.  Just one more hug.”  The kind that made their lives richer for the living, a bit shattered in the leaving, and grateful for every shared moment.

A love worth the loss.
This is who I want to be
To my granddaughters.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019