Outdoor Poems

Nothing inspires quite like nature. Admittedly, I’m usually inspired to slather on sunscreen and run from the bugs, but on those rare occasions when I can wander a cultivated garden it is pure bliss.

The Botanical Gardens nearest my home are a wonderful sample of what Paradise could be. Within a few minutes among the roses, hostas, and iris, the tension subsides, making room for creativity to flow. I may not be much good as an outdoors-woman, but I’m excellent at appreciating its beauty!

Here is a haiku triplet I wrote on one such visit:

A water’s whisper

bids me stay, and learn how

to still the rushing.

 

The path that winds back

upon itself lets each one meet

again, but newly.

 

Raindrops make ripples;

softened pebbles from the sky,

their presence soon forgot.

 

How are you inspired by nature?

Strays

One night at Wednesday Writers, Chet was telling us about his experiences in Chile and the stray dogs that roam the streets – even ride the buses, knowing their stop and trotting off on their unknown missions. We decided to come back the next time with a poem about strays, whatever that meant to us. Here is mine, framed in my work as the owner of a tea room and floral shop, the favorite haunt of widows and retirees…

They trickle in, one at a time,
eyes grazing the board for today’s special
Before gravitating to the table they share
Every Thursday.

Presbyterian, Methodist, Agnostic,
Retired, Working, on Social Security,
Bemoaning the odd ache and grey hair and
Extra pound.

Lira, Lila, Pat, Barbara,
Ann, Muriel, Violet, Jean,
Joyce.
They laugh and celebrate another year
and never speak of their silent mates
Left Behind.

I bring them dessert and
endless cups of coffee,
Taking my place on the fringe of
Their Pack.

Time makes strays of us all.

Fallout

One death follows another,
But without the fanfare,
The flowers,
The sympathy cards
Of the First.

A long-time friend is uncomfortable
with your grief
and departs in a murmured apology.
They really have become so busy,
But do call if you need anything.

The congregation looks askance,
Wondering what you did to deserve
Such misery;
An army of Job’s comforters
Twisting scripture into a
Cat ‘o Nine Tails.

The fatherless child taunted,
The inflated bill from the workman
The lazy man requests a loan.

Like a lover’s blows,
Only the first punch surprises.
The rest rain down
and are hardly felt.

For those who are meeting grief for the first time, it can come as a shock that life (at least for everyone else) returns to normal so soon. And that the widow radar comes out and creates a target on your back for every shyster in the tri-county area. Or that those around you can be so callous as to suggest that you – or worse, your child – need to develop a thicker skin.

I hope that you, if you find yourself in this unenviable position, are able to turn inward and recognize the traits of PTSD that you are probably experiencing. That you put everyone else outside the fence of your existence and focus only on what has a right to live in your space. You may not be able to stop the assault, but you can let it wash over you until you are stronger, knowing that it is their burden and not yours.