pictured words

a simple pairing of pictures and poetry

Tag: Loss

FALL

Photo by Bianca Gasparoto on Pexels.com
There’s a chill in the air. Just enough to grab a sweater
and cute boots.
Enough to birth sweet, crisp apples.
The kind of perfect chill that calls my dad to mind -
the pride I felt watching him direct the Star-Spangled Banner
for the football pregame on a perfect autumn afternoon 
that smelled of popcorn and stadium dogs. 
The kind of chill that warms my heart and feeds my joy.

Fall:  The season of my heart.
Fall:  Collapse.

As I drink in the season, life collapses at the feet of a friend.
She writes of the woeful loss of her husband
with words that both singe and chill.

I know her only from afar, 
but I know her. 
How often have her stirring words
and soothing photos of the beauty surrounding her
touched my heart, and lifted my spirits?
How often has she bravely shared the slow slide of Alzheimer’s
as it stole her sweetheart far too soon?
When the news came to me,
I spent much time vainly stringing words
and counting syllables -
only to realize there’s a chill in the air,
and no words warm enough.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021

Dearest Janet:  May you feel the strength of our Father’s love, and the warmth of your Poetic Bloomings family.  Gentle hugs …

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

 

Second Week of February (an Ekphrastic poem)

newyork-movie

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

COMFORT FOODS

Easter Ham Pie. Mom

It’s Mom’s recipes –
stained, and written in her hand –
that nourish my heart.

© 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

THE VALUE OF FAMILY AND THIRTY FIVE DAYS

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One year ago, today,
we unexpectedly secured
a one-bedroom apartment for Dad,
and moved him into it.
It was just down the hall from Mom and Dad’s place,
where Mom had passed in the wee hours prior.

A back-and-forth blur
of family
furniture
clothes
drums
wood carvings and wood-carving tools
kitchen supplies
medications
wheelchairs
walkers
jazz,
and love,

until one space was empty,
and the other, full
of sunlight and life
that dared each other
shine.

Food followed.
A feast, really,
provided by cousins.
All of us squeezed
‘round a long table
with Dad at one end,
and Mom’s brother and her identical twin
at the other,
between which
more conversation and laughter managed to flow
than tears.

Who could have known
a mere thirty five days later,
the one-bedroom’s sunlight would be called to shine
alone.

© Marie Elena Good, 2019

ROCKS, STREAMS, AND STORYTELLERS

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Photo by Keith R. Good

End-of-life
for those with whom we are particularly close,
seems to bring out who we are at our core.

Some of us are rocks.
Unbreakable.
Pillars.
Feeling the need to hold up all around us.
Or,
perhaps,
we just can’t let our surface crack,
lest we fall to pieces.

Some of us are streams.
We go with the flow,
while staying our course.
Occasionally we pick up others in need,
and carry them along.
But sometimes a stream’s flow
is fashioned from tears
that even a dam can’t contain.

Then some of us are storytellers.
We talk.
We laugh.
We reminisce.
We play familiarity like a piano concerto –
every part by heart.
We connect to those who are listening,
and telling stories of their own.
But can it be that we need to get lost in a story,
because the reality at hand
is too painful to fully embrace?

Let the rocks be strong.
But if they crack,
help them pick up the pieces.

Let the streams flow.
And if the tears run,
let them –
even as God collects
and records each one.

Let the storytellers recount,
and their experiences, count.
And if the present moment breaks them,
hold their pain
as a book in your embrace,
and help them tenderly
turn another page.

© Marie Elena Good, 2018

LINDSAY ROSE

Day 6 photo heart copyDay 6 photo

It was early fall.  She was young and animated.  The baby girl who had cheated death had become a young woman full of soul, and bright as her favorite color.  Her palette was in hand. Her imagination as open and vibrant as changes soon to grace the trees.  Camaraderie, harmony, and laughter were yearnings, with promise of fulfillment.  Until, on her way to a weekend of music with friends, her song was silenced.

she laughs with Jesus
as they paint the sunset with
orange Crayolas

© Marie Elena Good, 2018

(I wrote the 17-syllable ending in September of 2011, on the anniversary of Lindsay’s car accident, and her passing from this life to the next.)

FOR POETIC BLOOMINGS AUTUMNAL POEM-A-DAY CHAPBOOK CHALLENGE, 2018,  DAY 6:  ORANGE

SAVING SOUNDS

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They’ve not been gone long.
Just a few month’s time.
Sometimes I hear her laugh.
His voice, singing,
“I don’t buy sugar  —
Just touch my cup.”
Her coffeemaker’s sizzle.
His, “Go Bucks.”
Her, “I love you.  —
You know that.”
His drums.
Her sigh.

I clutch these sounds —
Secure them to my heart,
And listen to its beat.

© Marie Elena Good, 2018