sometimes it has to be poetry

November 3rd, 2015



Imagining Joe’s homing pidgeons







homing pidgeon





W.C. Willams describes life changing, “so much depends.” I love this poem. The first time I read this poem aloud, the words felt key to my life. The glaze of rainwater nourishes me, too.

So much depends

upon a red

wheel barrow

glazed with rainwater

beside the white


Another example of love is when one of my Alaskan students first introduced me to a eulogy most of us know, Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep.  She loved those words so much that she pretended she wrote it.  We had to have a parent conference, and explain plagiarism to my student.  Loving it is not the same as writing it.  I understood why she wanted to own it, though.  I memorized it, too.

Mary Elizabeth Frye was inspired to write Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep in 1932.  She wrote it on a shopping bag to console a friend.

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there

I do not sleep

I am a thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints on snow

I am the sunlight on ripened grain

I am the gentle autumn rain


When you awake in the morning hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circled flight

I am the soft stars that shine at night


Do not stand at my grave and cry

I am not there

I do not die


It’s moments of grace and truth described by Mary Frye and W.C.Williams that that make my life worth living.

Recently, my colleague’s sons have planned a ‘celebration of life’ for their father. My friend Joe’s passion was raising homing pidgeons, and he loved watching them fly up and away.

While preparing to leave this planet, Joe and I talked weekly on the phone.  He told me, “If you asked me if I wanted cancer, I’d say NO.  But if you asked me if cancer was worth what I learned about life, I would say that I would never trade what cancer taught me.”  I see his words as poetry.  I will miss my friend.

Blessings to poetic truth.



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