For all those parents who have lost their baby boys

I wrote this poem years ago for a friend, pregnant, who learned she was carrying a son.

Today, I’d like to dedicate it to the parents who lost their baby boys to a senseless act of violence at Pulse in Orlando. And I’d like to go further and also dedicate it to every parent who has lost their precious child in such an unspeakable way: while at school, in a movie theatre, living in or visiting Paris and Brussels, travelling on airplanes, fighting in uniform overseas, and in so many other equally tragic events too numerous to list here.

My heart breaks for you. I really can’t begin to imagine.

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My Baby Boy

You’re a butterfly, my baby boy,
The way you dance inside of me.
Soon you’ll emerge from your cocoon,
to be loved by us unconditionally.

Can you feel the joyful longing
that awaits you on that day?
I will count your toes and fingers
and rejoice that all is okay.

I’ll cradle you so gently
in the circle of my arms.
You’ll feel my fervent promise
to protect you from all harm.

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I will marvel at your silken skin
and stroke your downy head,
Sing lullabies and rock you,
Keep you warm and dry and fed.

I’ll bandage knees when they’ve been skinned,
and wipe away your tears,
Teach you about rights and wrongs,
and help to ease your fears.

No matter what your mischief,
when I look into your eyes,
Love will blossom in my heart,
and turn my scolds to sighs.

boy and teddy pixabay
School plays, long summer days,
High school will soon arrive,
Rebellion, hormones, hockey, girls,
and teaching you to drive.

As time whittles the years away,
I’ll need to set you free,
and have faith that I have raised you
to be the best that you can be.

With tears of pride and adoration,
I’ll then uncap my jar,
to free my precious butterfly—
proud of the fine young man you are.

butterfly pixabay

 

There was actually a time when winter wasn’t so bad…

After dusting the cobwebs from my memories of winters in the past, this is what I found.

When This You Read, Remember Me

Remember when winters never seemed long?
Cold? What cold? We were young; we were strong.
kids-winter-20With every new snowfall, remember the thrill
of tugging our sleds up the nearby hills?
sledding childrenRemember the outdoor skating rink,
with its indoor wood stove and hot cocoa to drink?Remember our snow forts, and hiding inside
from those boys who threw snowballs at us from outside?
snowball girlRemember plucking icicles from the balustrade,
and using them to decorate the snowmen we made?
sledding and snowmanRemember how we laughed, our breath frosting the air?
Ice balls on our mittens, our scarves…in our hair.
playing in the snowThe winters, they were never so long back then,
when they were shared by the best of friends.
best friendsHere’s to you, Sue, my best friend then and always.

I wish I could be a kid again

clouds2Like most kids, I spent my youth wishing time would speed up so I could finally become an adult. Like a mantra, I constantly grumbled to myself, “I can’t wait till I’m older. I can’t wait till nobody can ever tell me what to do again. I can’t wait till I can stay up till whenever I want, buy whatever I want, go wherever I want. I can’t wait till I’m free to do anything I like, whenever I like…”

Well it sure wasn’t long before my wish came true.

As an adult I discovered that I finally had the freedom to: (1) buy whatever I want (most of which I can’t afford); (2) eat whatever I want (except if I do, I won’t be able to fit into any of my clothes, all of which are bargain basement vs. designer); (3) go wherever I want (as long as I’m back home before the street lights come on so I can be up in time for work five days a week); (4) do whatever I want (after I’ve discussed it with my spouse); (5) not allow anyone to tell me what to do (except for my boss, my spouse, my kids, my doctor, my banker, society, etc.); and so on. You get the gist.

Little did my child self know that the joys of adulthood would also include: (1) increasingly achy joints, along with other my-body-is-falling-apart-faster-than-an-overstuffed-hard-shell-taco health issues; (2) a burgeoning intolerance to loud and intrusive noise of any kind—particularly where neighbors are involved; (3) the realization that pretty much nothing you purchase is actually a good deal; (4) bills, bills and more bills for totally boring stuff like a new roof, car repairs, taxes; and (5) learning that: surprise!—life’s not fair; no matter who you vote for, there’s always an asshole at the top making chimpanzee-level decisions; you have a lot less control than you thought you had when it comes to any form of interaction within the confines of the human race; unless you’re Helen Mirren, your window of opportunity for wearing a bikini without appearing as if you’re desperate to regain your lost youth closes with a wham after a certain age.

So, now here I am—a full-fledged adult—wishing I could be a kid again.

our gangGo figure.

I Wish

If I were to:

Wish upon the brightest star,

Catch fireflies inside a jar,

Ditch my car and ride a bike,

Switch “hell” and “damn”

With “rats” and “yikes,”

Race outdoors to build a fort,

Guzzle Kool-Aid by the quart,

Play Barbies with the kid next door

And hopscotch till my feet are sore,

Read the comics instead of the news,

Wear only scruffy running shoes,

On Saturday mornings, watch cartoons,

Make farting noises with balloons,

Make sure I’m indoors every night

Upon the glow of outdoor lights,

Fight to stay up far too late,

Keep ignorant of time or date,

Do some homework every day

But always find the time to play.

Do you think if that is what I did,

I could just go back and be a kid?

I wish…
our gang lineup

 

The plight that prompted a poem

My last post featured a tongue-in-cheek quilt made for a friend who’d been grumbling about wild creatures having the audacity to invade our areas of suburban sprawl after being driven out of their habitats by developers.

I thought I’d stay on the same topic by sharing a poem I wrote based on the plight that just seems to keep growing and growing (in my area anyway). Hope you enjoy it.jason long_unsplash.com

The Meadow

Once there was a grassy trail,
Leading to a meadow hale

With buttery-cups and black-eyed Sues,
Hot pink clover, asters blue.

squirrelWhere crickets chirped and butterflies
Spread orange wings to opal skies.

Where songbirds trilled amidst the leaves
Of mighty oaks and maple trees,

And evergreens and silver birch,
Where chipmunks chattered
And horned owls perched.flowers2

The heady scent of sun-warmed blooms
And earth and pine—a sweet perfume.

Purple thistle leaking milk,
Silver cobwebs fine as silk.

The world then was an open place
With breathing space.

Where little boys and little girls
With rosy cheeks and happy shrieks,
Ran to and fro’ with arms spread wide,
‘round and ‘round
The Meadow.

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The meadow rests in peace beneath
An asphalt grid of cluttered streets,
Where brick forests loom and multiply,
To keep the children locked inside.

Unmindful that their Meadow died.ryan mcguire_gratisography

(First photo courtesy of Jason Long of https://unsplash.com/ / Second photo by Donna Marrin / Third photo by Donna MarrinFifth photo courtesy of Ryan McGuire of http://www.gratisography.com/ / Fourth photo courtesy of http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/answer-congestion-not-build-roads-and-encourage-sprawl-its-get-people-out-their-cars.html )

Did you know that a place exists where you can borrow tons of stuff for FREE—any time you want, all year round?

This place I speak of welcomes everyone with open arms. There’s one in every community and it’s never far from home. Despite the many riches that this place has to offer, I can’t imagine a resource that’s more under-utilized by just about every adult I know.

This place is your local public library. It’s quite an amazing place, where anyone can walk in and borrow all types of books, magazines, movies, music and more…AT NO CHARGE. Where in the world can you get anything 100% free anymore, much less a massive assortment of stuff that feeds your brain and entertains you?

You only read electronic books? Well guess what—your local library offers thousands of eBooks, electronic magazines and other periodicals that you can download without leaving your house. And did I mention that it’s all FREE?! These days I download all my books and magazines electronically to my KOBO eReader simply by logging onto my library’s database and clicking on whatever I feel like reading. You can borrow electronic books from your library no matter where in the world you happen to be; all you need is access to a computer and your library card number. It’s insane!

What’s even more insane is that I know so many people who don’t bother to explore the goldmine of resources in these taxpayer-funded facilities. (So technically, it’s not truly free. You ARE paying for it whether you want to or not. So why not use it?!)

My community library has always been my favourite place in the world—my deepest gratitude to the Mesopotamians who developed the first libraries back in 2600 BC. And to my dad, who introduced me to the joys of library membership when I was knee high to a grasshopper. Here’s my story.

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The Library

My earliest memories of my father include the tower of books that he had stacked neatly beside his chair, one always resting open on his lap.

I inherited his great love for books before I could do much more than “read” the pictures. It wasn’t long before he began taking me with him on Saturday morning outings to a place that felt as warm and welcoming as home—a place where I could see row upon row of books no matter which direction I faced.

Dad’s eyes sparkled the first time he explained that this was our community library and I was allowed to borrow as many books as I fancied. He couldn’t have made me any happier had he handed me a bag loaded with sweets. The library was my candy store.

After leading me to the children’s section, dad would wander off to search for treasures of his own. The books with the most colourful spines would be first to attract my attention. Selecting one at a time, I’d page through, reading each word aloud while my mind soaked up the vibrant images. So many stories captured my imagination and lured me into dazzling worlds—where forest animals shared afternoon tea in jewel-toned dresses and feathered caps, where wizards hurled thunderbolts from magic wands and evil trolls always got their comeuppance, where handsome princes on white stallions rescued beautiful princesses in glittering ball gowns. And of course, where everyone lived happily ever after.

It always seemed to me that we’d only just arrived when dad would reappear from behind a shelf, cradling an armload of his own selections and announcing that it was time for us to go home. How difficult it was to decide which books to take with me when there were so many to choose from! I wanted to read them all.

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Decades later, books are still my eye in the hurricane of life. The love of reading that my dad instilled in me as a little girl is the most precious gift I have ever received, one that I will be able to treasure long after he’s gone.

No matter how the world changes around me, the library remains a significant part of my life. Where else can one go and be surrounded by volume after volume on every topic imaginable, to enjoy armchair journeys into worlds so different from our own and that we may never otherwise have a chance to experience? Aside from the air we breathe, not much worth having today is still free—except at the library. And it’s been that way for as far back as libraries have existed in our communities.

As a child the public library was a magical place and it still feels that way to me today.

How wonderful that some things never change.

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