i’m a bee right now, landing on memory-flowers
maybe i can make them into honey
maybe that’s a way to share you
with those to come those you never knew those like me who want more
an endless jar of memory-honey
sitting on the pantry shelf of my heart
halcyon father-daughter days golden and sweet transformed into words
you were the essence of goodness and light
that’s why I want to share you
with those to come those you never knew those like me who want more
~ i’ll be making memory-honey for the rest of my days
This is just another little poem from a grieving and grateful daughter – I’m sure there will be more as I process this new life in the world without him. Thank you for reading it and allowing me to share my remarkable Dad. For more about him and the amazing childhood he and my mom made possible:
Readers of this blog will know that my Dad died unexpectedly less than two weeks ago. Like anyone who loses a loved one, I’ll be processing this for a while. Not in a maudlin or “poor-pitiful-me” way; its just that my world has changed forever. Aside from sadness and nostalgia, my overwhelming feeling is one of gratitude for the gift of having a wonderful Dad for so many years, one who loved me (and so many others) with his whole heart. And so, a haiku:
joy-sorrow feelings how long will i love-miss you? ten times forever
A friend of mine shared a poem he wrote on Facebook that speaks volumes in its simplicity. I’m sharing it here with his permission. I was itching to give it a title, and then realized that part of its beauty is that it nameless. It just is – which is kind of the point.
I sit and ponder Searching for answers In a world full of wonder
Days come and go Everything changes Will we ever know
Days of joy and sadness Peace and turmoil Brilliant ones and those of darkness
How I miss some days Thankful some are past Nothing ever lasts
Cool summer breezes Autumn chill Gales of winter Yet I cannot feel
Dusk approaches Without fail Hide if you must To no avail
Prepare for the dark And wait for the light For surely it’s coming Your soul will take flight
To sit and ponder And search for answers Robs you of joy In this world full of wonder
The past is sadness Yet it has gone The future brings worries It steals our song
Live for today It is our present It’s where we are
It’s where we have been It’s where we are going Live for now And welcome not knowing
Thank you, Casey Sullivan, for voicing these feelings about the embracing the now in a world full of wonder.
As I was preparing this post, I saw a photo my son posted of a friend on Instagram, which he took just before finals week at the end of their freshman year at the University of Texas. It is such a perfect match for Casey’s poem. Looking at the picture, I can almost feel my son and his friend enjoying and absorbing the now of the near-dusk at Lake Travis in Austin, TX.
Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook (except the poem and photo)
i’ll never forget my days by the water
a childhood so perfect
it almost hurts to remember
seashells and crab boils, best friends and cousins
a brother so close
he was almost my double
sunburns and skinned knees and sand in our eyes
fishing and sandcastles
huge wide-open skies
potluck parties where parents talked politics
where active listening happened
and no one left mad
“beach bum” friends of my parents, ex-soldiers
recovering from war
found peace in the waves
bonfires, fireworks, beach birthdays and family
acceptance and love as
abundant as sunshine
i’ll always remember
those days by the water
I stumbled on the concept of “100 Word Wednesday” in a blog called Bikurgurl and decided to participate this week, Week 15 of the challenge. The prompt was this beautiful lighthouse, and the rules are simple: write something 100 words long, use this image or another of your choosing, and link back to the original blog. The lighthouse made me think of my childhood living by the water on a very different kind of shore on the Bolivar Peninsula in Southeast Texas.
This rough little poem came spilling out of me as I thought of those halcyon sand-ridden childhood days and so many memories flooded in. Everything seemed so safe, so permanent, so lively-lovely in our tiny town of 600, Gilchrist, Texas. My brother and I went to the beach almost every day, even in the winter. My aunt and uncle moved just down the street from us, and our cousins became more like brothers. Beach birthday parties and fireworks spawned grass-fires and the scruffy men of the volunteer fire seemed delighted to be called out. My mother made mirrors rimmed with sea shells and sold them at a local art gallery.
My parents, while definitely not hippies, had escaped the mind-numbing sameness and materialism they found in suburban life for the quirky, slower and sometimes downright backward way of life on the Bolivar Peninsula. I didn’t realize at the time that the larger world was present, even there. Mom and Dad hosted election parties and invited all kinds of folks from both sides of the political aisle, and taped the lively but respectful conversations to send to my uncle, who worked for Hamilton Beach in Africa and was on a plane that was hijacked on his way home (he survived). A young man who was AWOL from the Army climbed up our stairs turned himself in to my Dad on our deck one Saturday morning while we were watching cartoons. “Beach bums” staying in a cabin a few doors down from us turned out to be Vietnam vets, confused and weary guys trying to patch up their lives and come to terms with their experiences. They were kind to an awkward tween-age girl; they paid me a few dollars to embroider peaceful sayings and seagulls on their frayed bellbottoms. They remained friends with my parents long after they all left the beach for more stability inland. Hurricane Ike took away the entire town in 2008.
So many more memories and stories, but this was supposed to be a post for 100 Word Wednesday. So I’ll leave you with some links with related stories and a few pictures.
He was younger than me, and I treasured him like a brilliant little pet. He was sweet and shy and peculiar. There never has been, and never will be, a person like him. He is gone from us now, but lives on in our hearts.
When Steve was 5, he submitted a poem to Highlights magazine (a children’s publication), and the whole family was proud and astonished when it was published. I have always loved this poem for its clarity and directness and simplicity. I have been accused of helping to write it, but I will only admit to being an 8-year-old editorial consultant.
The Bee Poem, by Steven Harvell, Age 5
I am a bee, so look at me:
My stripes are yellow and black.
They’re on my head,
And on my neck
They’re even on my back.
Glover Gardens will soon be an empty nest as our last millennial leaves for college in August. I’m combing through photos for the graduation party slide show and stumbled on this memory from his 2nd grade year. Texas schools had a wonderful No Place for Hate anti-bullying campaign with a poetry contest that year, and my kid’s submission was selected to be read aloud at the annual PTA meeting. I loved the poem at the time and still do.
Bullying, by Thomas Wenglinski
Any bullying here?
‘Cause I don’t want a sneer.
I hate it! I hate it! Yes I do!
I want to change things…That’ll be new!
In Texas, we have No Place for Hate…
If you don’t like it, go to another state.
I will never forget that sunny spring evening in Southeast Texas. The kidlet had a baseball game the same night as the PTA meeting. He read his poem in his baseball uniform and we left immediately afterward for the game.
Those were the days when dinner was eaten on the fly as we careened from one kid activity to the next and the issues of the day were making sure the requisite uniform was clean and findable and the homework got done somehow. The big highs were wins like poetry contests and pop fly balls that somehow landed in the baseball glove. I treasure those sleep-deprived halcyon days even while I look forward to the next step in his journey.
It is a beautiful thing to watch our kids grow into themselves and soar into their new journeys, but a little bittersweet, too.