Saturday, December 26, 2020



What is the story behind the poem?
she asks. Write that.

When I write about blue skies,
shall I tell you that they saved my life,
kept me looking up all my life,
gave me hope during my most hopeless years?

When you look at this peaceful, smiling woman, 
would you ever guess that inside her lives
a terrified child with a history of trauma and abuse,
with a lifelong dream of a love that never arrived
in the way that she dreamed, yet arrived, nevertheless,
in ways more amazing than I ever could have imagined,
better, more perfect, because it taught me
to love the whole world.

We approach the blank page with
our minds and fingers, rolling out our history
- our her-story - in fragments, in memories,
in stories of that time out of time
burnished golden by the setting sun
of our old age. Growing old
is to live in the Country of Perspective,
which would have been helpful to have
when we were young and green and growing
through a confluence of conflicting experiences.
We picked our way through like sniffing dogs
in a minefield, aware that under every rock
lay hidden the potential of devastation:
so many times we crossed that emotional wasteland
until we learned to trust the most important one
we need to trust: ourselves. And then
we learned to laugh.
And then to sing.

Watch me standing in the forest, breathing peace.
You can't tell, but the trees and I are speaking,
in the language of spirit, shape-shifters, 
listening to the whispers of
the wild ones hiding among the leaves.

A little girl once wandered through the forest
seeking kinship with ponderosa pine;
and now an old woman communes with
trees that always were, and never can be,

Last night I watched Don't Be Nice, a film about slam poets and their poetry which blew my mind. They said "what is the story behind the poem? write that" and this spoke to me. I also saw the power of performing a poem, more than simply reading it in rote fashion. It makes a difference. They made me want to up my game.


  1. "The story behind the poem" That is surely an inspiring one from you Sherry! Your hard journey has given you a grand perspective and a gorgeous poetic voice! Love this my friend!

  2. I am watching you in the forest breathing peace and thinking, yes, that's what we all ought to be doing. Another poem so in tune with your environment :)

  3. I really like how this poem came to be. And I love the story it tells. I've always thought that the best proof that things--and us--can be better is seeing the stories of those who have done it... and done so through the harshest of situations.

    I shall look for the movie.

  4. "we learned to trust the most important one...ourselves" So true. I read somewhere if you wish to be happy first you learn to love yourself. There is truth there, for sure.

  5. Power, truth, and revelation Sherry — excellent writing. Wanted to share this in case you have never experienced Brandon. This is the power of poetic performance.

  6. Looks like you have! upped your game.

  7. Love the idea of a Country of Perspective and the way you've given this patterns that bear re-reading. :)

  8. There is always a story behind my poetry, it may be hidden deeply or hanging out for all to see, to wonder about, to speculate on exactly who this Helen Person is. What I love about writing, about your writing.

  9. All great art comes from struggle.
    Reading between the lines is as important as reading the lines.

  10. What a positively lovely poem Sherry- your breath is in every word.

  11. "praying for a whimper of silver lining"

    Lovely phrase. I felt like I could breathe again after reading this, Sherry.

  12. The story behind the poem is the more interesting aspect of writing. It preserves the reality scenario of the poem. Great write Sherry!


  13. I was happy to read of the line, "the trees and I are speaking", tis said a plant grows better when it is talked to. I talk with the animals but greens, not yet.

  14. Sherry, this makes me feel sort of sad. You deserved deserved love. It makes me angry that you were treated so poorly in early life. You are such a giving and warm person! Damn it. Life isn't fair.

  15. The story behind the poem, interesting concept to ponder. I think all poems have a story-line. I think we often leave fragments of ourselves through our words. Life can be rough but, you have found a way to navigate through the vines, to find the beauty of the pines.

    Wishing you a peaceful and healthy 2021!


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