Young Woman, I See

Young woman, I see your pain
remember a time when I too
struggled for autonomy, purpose

Wish I could reach across
the span of generations, mirror
the beauty that I see, release

the tangle of deception that binds,
facilitate your potential, help
advance your journey, lift you

beyond the clutter and noise
and deliver you to freedom, but
your book has not been written

and the chapters need to unfold
as they will, and I am no deity
who sees with clarity the path

you must choose, the destiny
that calls you – trust that life
is educational, and you bear

the resources to see your way
through; celebrate your hunger
and rejoice in your triumphs

I will watch with nostalgia
and the pride of recognition,
for your giftedness is real

your optimism a worthy tool,
and I know you will succeed –
have faith in your tomorrows

for you were born to shine
and the pages of your memoir
await experience’s depths.

(Young Woman, I See first appeared here in September, 2017. Image my own)

Living with the Unwritten

Impossible to ignore –
even though I’ve tucked it away
there, between the chair
and credenza –
a life-sized story,
waiting to be told.

As much as it compels me
to pay attention,
I am repulsed –
this is my life
we’re talking about

And not just mine –
the tale weaves itself
with tragic threads of others
and what right do I have
to expose that?

And yet, I don’t know
that I have the strength
to squash it – this living
breathing thing…
wandering aimlessly
about this house.

(Image my own)

Who Am I, If Not Responsible?

This pedestal of responsibility
elevates me out of reach,
out of touch, lumps together
childrenspousemothersister

Caregiver extraordinaire,
present overcrowded by
obligations, am unwell,
off topic, fed up…surely

I am other abled, have room
for more, non-martyr related –
hesitant to plan, my purpose
for being so intricately tuned

to the needs of others, should
quit while I’m ahead – silence
the noisy uncertainty, free us
all from this unhealthy game.

(Image my own. Poem first appeared on One Woman’s Quest II, September 2016)

The Pact

“What happens after death?”
she asked one Sunday,
her long, thin body stretched
weakly across the settee,
her cousin balancing
his dinner plate at her feet.

Sundays they came together,
all the family, for Grandmother’s
dinners; the warm waft of fresh-
baked pies, the clank of dishes,
voices raised over old farm table.

He shrugged; it was always a concern –
she’d been frail from birth, this girl
he loved, two years younger, but
in every way his peer – said nothing.

“Let’s make a pact!” she blurted
“The first to die will leave a sign.”
“Grandpa’s bells!” They shook on it
and then, with a satisfied grin
she succumbed to sleep.

A more sombre clan gathered mid-week
eyes red and faces pale with the shock of loss –
no smells of warmth to greet them,
just cold platters prepared by church ladies

Slumped bodies, heads leaning close,
sipped tea on the place where she’d lain
that last gathering – no sound of children’s
laughter, the hole too hard to bear.

And when the sound came: metal
clanging on metal, ringing a joyous
clamour, she was the first to see –
Grandpa’s bells stirring – her sign!

She knew then he’d be waiting,
told me so before that last breath
and as I watched her go, I swear
I could hear the far off ringing of bells.

(The Pact was originally published September, 2018. Edited here. Image my own)