Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy and a Poem: Joy

Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy and a Poem: Joy

down, down the snowy hill
frozen giggles and mittens grabbing joy
grab it, winter girls, ride it
on sled tracks and carefree clouds
to all of your nows, laugh and again
feel the white delight of unbroken mornings
become the sky, it’s yours
enjoy the ride

When Mother Gets Angry

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When Mother gets angry, the children are not safe,

clinging to walls that collapse around them, crushing

childhood beneath her wrath.  She roars at us, and throws

our things about, for they mean nothing to Mother

when she is mad.  She’ll unleash torrents, and we will try

to hide, but Mother knows all the hiding places.

She will knock them down or flood them with her rage, until

we are gasping for air, begging Mother to forgive us.

And when she calms again, Mother is nearly silent.

She never apologizes, only watches us through cloudy eyes

as we try to pick up broken pieces of Mother’s fury.

We hold the children and shake, and try to explain, but

we can’t.  Haunted by the cruelty Mother has unleashed

on some, we whisper and hope, and glance up warily.

Do not make Mother angry.

 

 

The Girl in the Purple Dress (for June)

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Her name was June, but she left in May,

before the sunflowers could bloom and ask

for more days.  In the stone church, whispers

spoke of the claim: cancer, a brain tumor.

Stolen summer laid her cold, draped in flowers

taken in their bloom. They would die soon. 

I kept my head bowed, listened for June,

waited for the preaching, sobbing, and hymns to end.

In the front of the church, in a purple dress

with a black bow in her hair, June’s daughter sat;

I knew her well. She looked straight ahead and made

no sound, and that is why I kept my head down.

And when the cars were gone, and I was alone

I wept, and I wept to the church and through June.

The last months of her life, when the brain tumor

grasped and haunted her head, June had changed.

And her daughter, so many days, so many different

colored bows, would tell stories of the crazy things

her mom would do and stay. And it wasn’t June.

It wasn’t your Mom. I cry because we have lost

part of summer, but I weep for her girl in the purple dress,

and the June she remembered as she sat on those steps.

Frozen in the Moment

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I keep them frozen in the moment of joy,

soaring through southern summer heat

with squeals and laughter that only linger

in tender youth. Their toes point like dancers,

hands reach skyward – up, up, up –

it’s all out there for them to seize,

a sky of possibilities, where each will find

her own blue, create her clouds.

Time may move, but I keep them here, safe,

in this place, where their summer days at the lake

pass gently, with joy and promise. As long as I

hold them here, in a golden frame,

they shall never be swallowed up

by the dark, cold waters beneath them.