Thursday, July 4, 2013

If You Are Reading This Poem


This amazing picture was made for me by Ella at Ella's EdgeI usually hate my picture but this one suits me right down to the ground. Ellie, you are super-talented!


If you are reading this poem,
some day
in the years ahead,
when I am gone,
passed into the corridors of time
and memory,
my voice and cackle silenced,

you may find me, still,
in all these words
I've left behind.

Will you read them?
Will you finally begin
to understand
this wayfarer,
plodding pilgrim,
who slogged through swamps
but also soared, at times,
through the bluest of skies,
always looking up
to count the clouds,
to nod my kinship to trees
with their dancing branches,
a pilgrim whose feet
stayed on the ground
but whose heart so often
tried to fly free
of its moorings.

Take this book.
Go sit beside the riverbank
and turn each page,
where I have recorded
the moments of joy
and heartbreak,
of love for this suffering planet
and its confused humanity.
Listen to the song of the river
that companioned me
through my last years,
whose voice was surrogate
for my beloved too-far-from-me sea,
my heart always keening
for the cry of the gull,
the smell of sea-salt and fog,
the sight of that long sandy beach
stretching ahead of me to Forever.

You may notice
the twinned themes
of gratitude and grief,
reflect upon the rocky road
and all the losses-
so many starting overs
with scarcity of resources,
but no shortage
of indomitable will.

In later years
my shoulders became
less able to bear the weight
of all that had been lost
at such great cost.
Grief finally caught me
by the throat and
made me pay
for all the times
I stayed too strong
to grieve and, finally,
I shed a century
of accumulated tears
that could no longer
be denied.
I grieved it all:
my childhood,
my youth that fell into brutal hands,
my store by the sea, my livelihood,
my trust, all gone.

Mid-life, one glorious leap
to the  western sea
and ten years of knowing

how joyous life
can be.

I grieved my leaving of the sea,
the decade of making do 
with so much less
and, finally, and hardest of all,
my wolf-dog.
With his passing,
the last link to
those glorious times
was gone,
along with the one creature
on this earth
who loved
only me.

One year of tears, and more,
filling my rowboat
to the point of capsizing,
faster than I could bail,
as old griefs hopped aboard
the new and finally
found release.

Yes,  many losses,
many making do's.
But always, too,
great thankfulness,
for all that is,
for all that there has been.
Remember, if you will,

my unceasing gratitude
for life's beauty,
for eyes with which to see it,
for feet to walk me across the forest floor
and for my great love, the song of the sea,
which showed my soul a vastness of vision
it could never  have encompassed
on its own.

If you are reading this poem,
you may wish that we had talked more
about the real stuff,
didn't leave so much unsaid.
But never worry.
In the heart and in one's spirit,
as we increase in wisdom,
one knows what is intended,
one understands everything
and lets go of the small wounds
and the big,
under the over-arching canopy
of comprehending
that every soul mine touched
while I was here
was meant to find me.
Each child who came to
life through me
was meant to be my child
and, through each one of you,
I grew in different ways
that were possible only through
having been your mom.

Some souls have
a more difficult passage;
such has been ours
on this planet.
But in one lifetime,
I feel like
I have lived
at least ten lives,
each life one decade long.
In each, I grew and changed,
transcended and transformed.

Finally, if you are reading this poem,
know "there is peace
that surpasses understanding".
Towards the end, one forgets
all the pain,
and remembers mostly the good:
the laughter, the sunsets,
the glorious adventure,
the pilgrimage,
the growth and the glory.
One remembers the love
and those one has loved
and forgets all the might-have-beens,
in the compassion of understanding
that nothing could possibly
have happened
any differently,
given my beginnings,
and there came a time
when I would not have had it
any other way.

If you are reading this poem,
put this book down now,
and do me one final favor:
Look around you. Just look.
What do you see?
Are you sitting by the shore at sunset?
Are you on a forest trail, leaning against
the comforting trunk of an ancient cedar?
Are you by the river,
listening to the roar of the rapids,
waiting for the salmon to arrive?
Turn your eyes around you
in a complete circle.
Love all that you see.

Look at it all
with brand new eyes.
Look at it, for me.


Whoa, I found this in my drafts section and cant remember if I posted it a while back, or not. I wrote it when I thought I would never be able to return to my beloved Tofino. Now there will have to be another stanza added on, down the road............because here comes joy, again, grinning like a big old friendly dog and heading my way.

21 comments:

  1. Absolutely universally exquisite - pleads for publication - A joy :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. yes I am reading this poem ... and I love every word and those in between spaces ... exquisite indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonder of wonders ... and then there is that incredible photo. So cool. (((hugs))).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sherry, this poem should be the FIRST poem in one of your poem books. It speaks reams.......

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your words will be read for generations to come and they will know you by your words ... this is immensely satisfying Sherry. You are so wise .... Ella's lovely artwork is the perfect compliment to the poem.

    ReplyDelete
  6. These lines are especially meaningful to me, Sherry:

    If you are reading this poem,
    you may wish that we had talked more
    about the real stuff,
    didn't leave so much unsaid.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh wow! You brought tears to my eyes, as your words resonated in my heart! Thank you Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
  8. These words are a testament to a life well lived. You have captured your trials and tribulations with exquisite texture much like ella's picture of you.

    It's been a fun journey these last four years getting to meet you through this venue. You have touched us muc like he wolf's eyes sees the soul within.

    Looking forward to the additional stanza, mi amiga

    ReplyDelete
  9. An autobiography so filled with love, passion, yearning, pain, joy, sorrow. I'm glad the end is not written yet. The end will last a long time and it will be full of happiness. That's my psychic prediction for you.

    I love the picture. I can think of no better portrait of you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In the not so short time we have come to know each other Sherry, I am glad and grateful for our little exchanges, warmth, extended as well to those just beyond our circle all over the world.

    Thank you for being such a good friend Sherry.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My favorite poem of yours xx made me cry, fantastic! I love you :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sherry,

    If you are reading this know that I understand your journey. I wept as I read this as the intensity touched a chord within my soul. I paused when you asked me to and I thought what do I see...I see a woman with a vision..a new road to travel and I wish her well in the journey. Enjoy the new view.

    Bright Blessings..

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, Sherry. I feel like I know you even better after reading this. The mingling of gratitude, joy, and grief are so strong. Just beautiful. I love Ella's photo of you. Perfection!

    ReplyDelete
  14. If you are reading this poem, then you are lucky to have read these words! Words of wisdom for us all to remember to look around and appreciate what surrounds us! Looking forward to reading the next stanza!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am crying and smiling for you! YOU so need to your know voice has been heard loud and clear as a bell! No,like a fog horn at shore~ I am so happy you like the photo! Your spirit soars like White Owl Woman and when on the ground, like a wolf!
    YOU have a wild connection with nature-I understand that! It is part of who you are!
    Wow, this poem says so much-I'm going to read it again! Thank you Sherry for all the gifts you have given me! @>-----------

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sherry this was a wonderful thing to read. You have given is all so much of yourself that your words will be spread throughout the world for years and years to come through the voices of all those you've touched.

    ReplyDelete
  17. covering time, experience, and emotion. this is a wonderful read and I'm glad to hear there is even more joy to come.

    ReplyDelete

I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!