Tag: Poetry

FINDING HER HERE, by Jane Relaford Brown – A Poem on Aging

FINDING HER HERE, by Jane Relaford Brown – A Poem on Aging

A ran across this poem – Finding Her Here – the other day and wanted to share it with you. It sums up so beautifully what so many of us are experiencing as we accumulate years. I hope you enjoy it! DS

FINDING HER HERE  by Jayne Relaford Brown

I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter,
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor—
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
         weathered basket.
I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing-up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons
        and sunrises.
I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
yet not at all scarce—
who knows she is plenty,
        plenty to share.
This poem is from the author’s book of poems:
My First Real Tree – a 68 page paperback, hand-sewn, with flat spine – $14.00 available for purchase on the publisher’s website, FootHillsPublishing.com. 
Jayne Relaford Brown received an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego
State University and teaches writing at Penn State Berks-Lehigh Valley
College.  She lives near Kutztown, Pennsylvania with her partner of fifteen
midlife poem
Living with Mental Illness and Surviving Suicide – One Mother’s Story

Living with Mental Illness and Surviving Suicide – One Mother’s Story

Leaving the Hall Light On  A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide is the powerful, heart wrenching story of one women’s journey through 17 years of heartbreak and struggle. It is a story of strength and courage, creative genius and despair. Madeline shares her confusion and anger, her hope and disappointment as she recounts the events that led to her son’s ultimate suicide, and along the way the reader has an up close and personal introduction to this debilitating disease and its effect on a family. I came away from this book with a new depth of understanding and compassion for all who are and have been touched by serious mental illness. It’s message has lingered long after the initial reading. It will broaden your perspective and awareness and for that reason alone, this is an important book.

In addition, Madeline is our peer. A woman of our generation and experience who tells her story, not only as a part of her healing journey but, to inform and support others who are struggling with a similar challenge. Whether or not you have someone in your life who suffers from mental illness, there is not a one of us who has not witnessed its destruction, most recently in the shocking and unexpected death of Robin Williams.  We long for understanding. We search for hope. Perhaps together, by raising awareness, we can find a cure, a satisfactory treatment, or at the very least, an opening of our hearts in support of one another.

Madeline Sharples

Although Madeline Sharples worked for most of her professional life as a technical writer and editor, grant writer, and proposal manager, she fell in love with poetry and creative writing in grade school. She pursued her writing interests in high school while studying journalism and writing for the high school newspaper, and she studied journalism in college. However, she only began to fulfill her dream to be a professional writer later in life.

In addition to Leaving the Hall Light On, Madeline co-authored Blue-Collar Women: Trailblazing Women Take on Men-Only Jobs (New Horizon Press, 1994) a book about women in nontraditional professions and co-edited the poetry anthology, The Great American Poetry Show, Volumes 1 (Muse Media, 2004) and 2 (2010). Her poetry accompanies the work of photographer Paul Blieden in two books, The Emerging Goddess and Intimacy as well as appearing in print and online on many occasions.

Madeline is now a full-time writer and is working on her next book, a novel, based in the 1920s. She and Bob, her husband of 40+ years, live in Manhattan Beach, California, a small beach community south of Los Angeles.

Connect with Madeline online: 

Visit her website: http://madelinesharples.com/

On Facebook: Madeline Sharples

On Twitter: @madeline40

On G+

“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

Wild Geese

The above image is from: Quotes By Women


Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Ohio. As a young poet she was influenced by Edna St. Vincent Mallay and has received much critical acclaim over the years. “Known for its clear and poignant observations and evocative use of the natural world, Oliver’s poetry is firmly rooted in place and the Romantic nature tradition”, according to her bio on PoetryFoundation.org.  “A prolific writer of both poetry and prose, Oliver publishes a new collection every year or two.”

The following poem was published in 1986.

Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from New & Selected Poems (Harcourt Brace).
Room for Silence

Room for Silence

"Remembering Eternity" Painting by Autumn Skye Morrison
“Remembering Eternity”
Painting by
Autumn Skye Morrison

Spending time in silence each day has become an essential part of my life in recent years. As a young person I valued the idea and practice of quiet meditation, though I was seldom able to do so in a comfortable, consistent fashion. I was too busy searching for answers and direction in more immediate and tangible ways. I was too arrogant and full of my own sense of things, too unwilling to give up control, especially of my thoughts.

Now, there is room for silence. I’ve discovered that when we come to understand that all of our efforts to live successfully according to the world’s, will ultimately fail to fill the hole in our hearts that remains when we are disconnected from the source of all that is,  we can begin to understand the value of silence. It takes decades of trying and failing to see the absolute necessity for giving up control of one’s destiny and to finally rest in the peace of what is.

I was reminded of this beautiful poem by John O’Donohue posted on Facebook today by Woman, which is a great page that you might enjoy following too.

To Bless the Space Between Us

by John O’Donohue

To all that is chaotic in you..
let there come silence.

Let there be a calming of the clamoring..
a stilling of the voices that have
laid their claim on you..
that have made their home in you..
that go with you even to the holy places
but will not let you rest…
will not let you hear your life with wholeness
or feel the grace that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you cease.
Let what divides you cease.
Let there come an end
to what diminishes and demeans..
and let depart all that keeps you in its cage.

Let there be an opening into the quiet
that lies beneath the chaos..
where you find the peace you did not think possible..
and see what shimmers within the storm.

Soul Expression

Soul Expression

Have you ever heard of hooping? Check this out!
Dance, rhythm, motion. This image that I found on Hooping.org expresses it so well, don't you think?


Last night my son and I went out together for ice cream. I never thought I’d see the day when I would blissfully hand my keys over to him and ask, “would you mind driving?” He’s an adult now and I’ve come to lean just a little on his competence. He’s a kind, gentle soul and I feel blessed to have him in my life. We share some important interests, like love, compassion, kindness…and rock ‘n roll. He, like me, adores music of all kinds and has a keen ear for the details. He once told me that he listens to a piece one instrument at a time before he listens to it altogether. He has a well trained ear.

It was a beautiful night. He put the roof down on my convertible, popped in his latest favorite CD (that I had told him I loved) and cranked up the volume. We drove in rhythmic bliss through the dusky night to our destination. I couldn’t help but close my eyes, tip my head back against the seat and soak in the moment. Poetry set to music moves me like nothing else and this particular CD has this combination in spades. Music has the power to inspire and transform at the soul level, eliciting tapping fingers and dancing feet.

So much of the joy in life comes from places we find difficult to name. Remote to the conscious mind, yet privy to the deep and visceral. I don’t know how it is so, or how it works but I know it is essential and important, at least to me. It is a soul expression and I can’t imagine life without it.

The Flight to Wisdom

The Flight to Wisdom

Flickr image from Tom Stewart
I originally found this wonderful image on on Flickr.com and I agree with Tom Stewart, this chld from Peru is just a cutie

“Keep me away from wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

I cut my teeth on Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Even at a very young age there was a sense of truth in his words that resonated with my soul. All these years later, I feel the same way. The simple, yet profound words he used continues to reach thousands upon thousands of hearts and souls in a way all the complex gobble-dy gook of religious tombs and psychological manuals have never been able to do.

There is a reason for this. Truth is simple. Truth is understandable even to the simplest of minds. Truth stands the test of time. Truth bears its soul in the eyes of children. We must not allow ourselves to be fooled by a culture that throws a blanket of confusion over you us. To grow in wisdom we must throw it off.

Any culture consists of a myriad of traditions, customs, and beliefs that do not stand up to the test of time. We must live in the world, but we can choose to stand beside the culture often enough to learn to recognize its power to fool us, to lure us into a false sense of security or perhaps more often a false sense of insecurity.

Our media, for example, is peppered with word usage, tone, and a focus that is meant to startle us, to set us on high alert.  It wants us to live in fear and to believe it holds the truth so that we will check back with them often for an update on whether or not we are still okay.

The marketplace wants us to believe that our health is at risk every minute of the day.  Pharmaceutical companies want us to look for problems with our health so that we will think we need their help to remain healthy and buy their products. The insurance companies want us to be afraid of catastrophe so that we will buy insurance, “just in case”. The fashion industry wants us to believe that we could not possibly feel good about ourselves unless we’re wearing the latest fashion. The list of soul grabbing cultural entities that pull and tug at us every day is endless. One might wonder if we are really free, our freedom simply having been usurped in a different way.

Yet we do hold the power of choice. We can choose to step back, to seek a truth that stands outside of culture. We can choose to look into our hearts and souls to find our own personal truth and choose to live by that which we can be certain will stand the test of time.

Look into the eyes of a child
See the innocence, the purity
The unveiled love and trust that
Eagerly embraces only now
A single moment in time
Open, trusting, free.
This is the face of your soul.
In that quiet center of you
Where laughter, peace, and wisdom
Sing a harmonious song and lift you
Up upon the wings of truth so
You can fly.

©Dorothy Sander 2012