COMMISIONED POETRY WRITING
(Birthdays, Awards, Losses, Celebrations of Life . . . )
I have been writing poems to family members and friends who have passed away, sometimes for their Memorial Services, other times as a more private dialogue between souls. I will try to speak of any losses in your own life, including Obituary texts, in your struggle to find words.
Thoughts for Your Memorial Service (Example Celebration of Life)
It’s tough being a Grandma (as some here know),
when your own wearies of being wife and mother
take on a new dimension of watching your children
grow into their own selves, gaining from you, yet
still on their own, differing journeys from yours.
in a world ever and never changing both too fast
and not fast enough to “protect us from all harm.”
Last evening I fished for you, felt you standing
behind Grampa Clayton in the glowing dusk
as sunset filled the lake and sky and dissolved
into the darkening moment in time to go home
with a valuable catch. You are free to be anywhere
now, while all the rest of your extended family
still must rely on the old reliable telephone
and telepathy, when we can’t be in each others’ arms.
Even your last plane ride was an accomplishment
to be sure, an amazing gift of your persevering
energy and love for the whole of your brood.
Just so, your sojourn/journey here on Earth
continues in every step and laugh and cry
that your children, grand, and great, make
each day. We gather, now, and each time hence,
to commune with your great spirit of elementary love.
Trust, in the Dance (Example of Awards Poetry: Volunteering)
Sometimes there are just things that need
to be done; and it is never finished, this
saying yes in your heart before, during and
even if only after you become part of some-
thing, someone else’s life in a way that is
essential to our mutual survival.
If you have a boat, there is always
a flood, if you can hear it through
the din of telepathy, before anyone would think
to ask. The third basic instinct, ahead of
fight or flight, help.
And sometimes it isn’t life and death,
Sometimes it’s just life and life. And life is
precious, whenever we know it, and time
is a thing that we have to give only
so long as we are alive. Some people go
a long way on their own before we see
that their need is our need,
only we are on the outside
until someone asks, or we
ask, or we act even before
thinking to ask.
You can carry someone in your arms.
What else can you do?
There is always that question,
but to act on it is a leap across the stage
into a stranger’s arms, your own.
The Inner Game (To Sig) (Example of Memorial)
As children, even in the womb, we discover Loss.
It helps make every “Find” more precious, fragile,
slippery minnow in the water, and so we have family
and cherish friends, and mourn every loss, treasure
every wonderful thing they got to bring into Life,
and take what Life gives, each “One Day At a Time.”
First we fear, then are angry at, finally accepting
its cruel (indifferent) inevitability, maybe coming
to terms with – another closet filling with clothes
never worn, accumulating until there is no room –
where to find a place for all this sorrow?
In every bird call, flash of color, find Sig there.
The impact of string, sweet spot, and tennis ball,
and the sound that then follows: ball hitting net
(the second rule of tennis), ball hitting whatever
surface lying on the other side of the net, from
hardcourt, to clay, to grass, and hardcourt again.
Sure the 500’s matter, 250’s, even Morocco! Yes,
you made it with Diane to Houston, the U. S. Open,
but, NOT to Indian Wells or Monte Carlo with me.
Not to worry; when I go, I will buy an extra ticket.
But all of us who have counted you close will miss
hearing your voice, watching you demonstrate that
nine-step approach and recovery from, just keeping
the ball in play.