Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ebb


I KNOW what my heart is like
Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
Left there by the tide,
A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.


Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Enough




I tell myself this is enough, but AZ is so far away.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

My eyes long for the sight of you





AH, if you knew how soon and late
My eyes long for a sight of you
Sometimes in passing by my gate
You'd linger until fall of dew,
If you but knew!
Ah, if you knew how sick and sore
My life flags for the want of you,
Straightway you'd enter at the door
And clasp my hand between your two,
If you but knew!
Ah, if you knew how lost and lone
I watch and weep and wait for you,
You'd press my heart close to your own
Till love had healed me through and through,
If you but knew!

Once We Played.


ONCE we played at love together--
Played it smartly, if you please;
Lightly, as a windblown feather,
Did we stake a heart apiece.
Oh, it was delicious fooling!
In the hottest of the game,
Without thought of future cooling,
All too quickly burned Life's flame.
In this give-and-take of glances,
Kisses sweet as honey dews,
When we played with equal chances,
Did you win, or did I lose?
Was your heart then hurt to bleeding,
In the ardour of the throw?
Was it then I lost, unheeding,
Lost my heart so long ago?
Who shall say? The game is over.
Of us two who loved in fun,
One lies low beneath the clover,
One lies lonely in the sun.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Remember, Body

Body, remember not only how much you were loved,
not only the beds where you lay,
but also those desires for you,
shining clearly in eyes
and trembling in a voice—and some chance
obstacle thwarted them.
Now when everything is the past,
it almost looks as if you gave yourself
to those desires as well—how they shone—
remember—in the eyes that looked at you,
how they trembled for you in the voice—remember, body
CP Cavafy, translated by aliki barnstone





Sunday, June 21, 2009

Courage


    LONELY heart so timid of approach,
    Like the shy tropic flower that shuts its lips
    To the faint touch of tender finger tips:
    What is your word? What question would you broach?

    Your lustrous-warm eyes are too sadly kind
    To mask the meaning of your dreamy tale,
    Your guarded life too exquisitely frail
    Against the daggers of my warring mind.

    There is no part of the unyielding earth,
    Even bare rocks where the eagles build their nest,
    Will give us undisturbed and friendly rest.
    No dewfall softens this vast belt of dearth.

    But in the socket-chiseled teeth of strife,
    That gleam in serried files in all the lands,
    We may join hungry, understanding hands,
    And drink our share of ardent love and life.
    Claude McKay

Come


    COME, when the pale moon like a petal
    Floats in the pearly dusk of spring,
    Come with outstretched arms to take me,
    Come with lips pursed up to cling.

    Come, for life is a frail moth flying
    Caught in the web of the years that pass,
    And soon we two,so warm and eager,
    Will be as the gray stones in the grass.

    Sara Teasdale

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Auguries of Innocence



To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell through all its regions.
A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipped and armed for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
The wild deer wandering here and there
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misused breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.
He who the ox to wrath has moved
Shall never be by woman loved.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh.
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them, and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from Slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of Envy's foot.
The poison of the honey-bee
Is the artist's jealousy.
The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so:
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands,
Throughout all these human lands;
Tools were made and born were hands,
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright
And returned to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes Revenge! in realms of death.
The beggar's rags fluttering in air
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier armed with sword and gun
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.
One mite wrung from the labourer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands,
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mocked in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner who sits so sly
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.
When gold and gems adorn the plough
To peaceful arts shall Envy bow.
A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding sheet.
The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not through the eye
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light
To those poor souls who dwell in night,
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

William Blake

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Give me my Tears

Give me my tears
that leak from my eyes
puddling around my breasts.

Give me my soft sobs
echoing in my empty room
bouncing off my lonely bed.

Give me my sadness, sorrow
rising up from my belly
pushing against my ribs.

Give me a moment to feel
the ache, the grief, the moment
until I open my eyes, my mouth
and let it pour out to fill the empty room.

When it gets to be too much,
I will open the window
and let it all flow away.

jkb 6-10-09

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Hug

The Hug
by Thom Gunn


It was your birthday, we had drunk and dined
Half of the night with our old friend
Who'd showed us in the end
To a bed I reached in one drunk stride.
Already I lay snug,
And drowsy with the wine dozed on one side.

I dozed, I slept. My sleep broke on a hug,
Suddenly, from behind,
In which the full lengths of our bodies pressed:
Your instep to my heel,
My shoulder-blades against your chest.
It was not sex, but I could feel
The whole strength of your body set,
Or braced, to mine,
And locking me to you
As if we were still twenty-two
When our grand passion had not yet
Become familial.
My quick sleep had deleted all
Of intervening time and place.
I only knew
The stay of your secure firm dry embrace.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Rainy Day

Written at the old home in Portland

THE day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall, <<(this is a well-known quote--have you heard it?)
Some days must be dark and dreary.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, May 3, 2009

9 Million

Twilight

Twilight

    DREAMILY over the roofs
    The cold spring rain is falling,
    Out in the lonely tree
    A bird is calling, calling.

    Slowly over the earth
    The wings of night are falling;
    My heart like the bird in the tree
    Is calling, calling, calling.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I shall forget you presently, my dear


I shall forget you presently, my dear
I SHALL forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favourite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And oaths were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far, --
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.

The End

Throughout the echoing chambers of my brain
I hear your words in mournful cadence toll
Like some slow passing-bell which warns the soul
Of sundering darkness. Unrelenting, fain
To batter down resistance, fall again
Stroke after stroke, insistent diastole,
The bitter blows of truth, until the whole
Is hammered into fact made strangely plain.
Where shall I look for comfort? Not to you.
Our worlds are drawn apart, our spirit's suns
Divided, and the light of mine burnt dim.
Now in the haunted twilight I must do
Your will. I grasp the cup which over-runs,
And with my trembling lips I touch the rim.

Amy Lowell

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Divorcing

One garland
of flowers, leaves, thorns
was twined round our two necks.
Drawn tight, it could choke us,
yes we loved its scratchy grace,
our fragrant yoke.

We were Siamese twins.
Our blood's not sure
if it can circulate,
now we are cut apart.
Something in each of us is waiting
to see if we can survive,
severed.

Denise Levertov

The Ache of Marriage


The ache of marriage.

thigh and tongue, beloved,
are heavy with it,
it throbs in the teeth

We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,
each and each

It is leviathan and we
in its belly
looking for joy, some joy
not to be known outside of it

two by two in the ark of
the ache of it.

Denise Levertov

*leviathan -- large sea monster

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Be the Verse

They [mess] you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were [messed] up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.


Philip Larkin [1971]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What is YOUR favorite poem?

April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH. What is YOUR favorite poem? I challenge you to find one and share! Don't forget to give the author :)

Compensation



But Not to Me

Spring in New Hampshire (To J. L. J. F. E.)

TOO green the springing April grass,
Too blue the silver-speckled sky,
For me to linger here, alas,
While happy winds go laughing by,
Wasting the golden hours indoors,
Washing windows and scrubbing floors.
Too wonderful the April night,
Too faintly sweet the first May flowers,
The stars too gloriously bright,
For me to spend the evening hours,
When fields are fresh and streams are leaping,
Wearied, exhausted, dully sleeping.

Claude McKay

Song of a Second April




APRIL this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
Dazzling mud and dingy snow;
Hepaticas that pleased you so
Are here again, and butterflies.
There rings a hammering all day,
And shingles lie about the doors;
From orchards near and far away
The gray wood-pecker taps and bores,
And men are merry at their chores,
And children earnest at their play.
The larger streams run still and deep;
Noisy and swift the small brooks run.
Among the mullein stalks the sheep
Go up the hillside in the sun
Pensively; only you are gone,
You that alone I cared to keep.


Edna St. Vincent Millay

An April Day

ON such a day as this I think,
On such a day as this,
When earth and sky and nature's whole
Are clad in April's bliss;
And balmy zephyrs gently waft
Upon your cheek a kiss;
Sufficient is it just to live
On such a day as this.

Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr.

April Song

WILLOW in your April gown
Delicate and gleaming,
Do you mind in years gone by
All my dreaming?
Spring was like a call to me
That I could not answer,
I was chained to loneliness,
I, the dancer.
Willow, twinkling in the sun,
Still your leaves and hear me,
I can answer spring at last,
Love is near me!


Sara Teasdale




Jane Wasson
WORKS OF ART by Jane Wasson Visit http://www.janestarwalker.com/
to purchase some of Jane's amazing works!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Polarity

NAY, why reproach each other, be unkind,
For there's no plane on which we two may meet?
Let's both forgive, forget, for both were blind,
And life is of a Polarity, and time is fleet.
And I am fire, swift to flame and burn,
Melting with elements high overhead,
While you are water in an earthly urn,
All pure, but heavy, and of hue like lead.


Claude McKay

Romance

TO clasp you now and feel your head close-pressed,
Scented and warm against my beating breast;

To whisper soft and quivering your name,
And drink the passion burning in your frame;

To lie at full length, taut, with cheek to cheek,
And tease your mouth with kisses till you speak

Love words, mad words, dream words, sweet senseless words,
Melodious like notes of mating birds;

To hear you ask if I shall love always,
And myself answer: Til the end of days;

To feel your easeful sigh of happiness
When on your trembling lips I murmur: Yes;

It is so sweet. We know it is not true.
What matters it? The night must shed her dew.

We know it is not true, but it is sweet--
The poem with this music is complete.

Claude McKay

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Garden























    My heart is a garden tired with autumn,
    Heaped with bending asters and dahlias heavy and dark,
    In the hazy sunshine, the garden remembers April,
    The drench of rains and a snow-drop quick and clear as a spark;

    Daffodils blowing in the cold wind of morning,
    And golden tulips, goblets holding the rain --
    The garden will be hushed with snow, forgotten soon, forgotten --
    After the stillness, will spring come again?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Aftermath and The End


Okay, I confess. Ninety percent of the poems I choose are based on how I am feeling about things.



The End

Throughout the echoing chambers of my brain
I hear your words in mournful cadence toll
Like some slow passing-bell which warns the soul
Of sundering darkness. Unrelenting, fain
To batter down resistance, fall again
Stroke after stroke, insistent diastole,
The bitter blows of truth, until the whole
Is hammered into fact made strangely plain.
Where shall I look for comfort? Not to you.
Our worlds are drawn apart, our spirit's suns
Divided, and the light of mine burnt dim.
Now in the haunted twilight I must do
Your will. I grasp the cup which over-runs,
And with my trembling lips I touch the rim.
Amy Lowell

Buried Love






    I HAVE come to bury Love [I shall bury my weary Love]
    Beneath a tree,
    In the forest tall and black
    Where none can see.

    I shall put no flowers at his head,
    Nor stone at his feet,
    For the mouth I loved so much
    Was bittersweet.

    I shall go no more to his grave,
    For the woods are cold.
    I shall gather as much of joy
    As my hands can hold.

    I shall stay all day in the sun
    Where the wide winds blow, --
    But oh, I shall cry at night [But oh, I shall weep at night]
    When none will know.

    Sara Teasdale

Monday, March 30, 2009

Romance

    TO clasp you now and feel your head close-pressed,
    Scented and warm against my beating breast;

    To whisper soft and quivering your name,
    And drink the passion burning in your frame;

    To lie at full length, taut, with cheek to cheek,
    And tease your mouth with kisses till you speak

    Love words, mad words, dream words, sweet senseless words,
    Melodious like notes of mating birds;

    To hear you ask if I shall love always,
    And myself answer: Til the end of days;

    To feel your easeful sigh of happiness
    When on your trembling lips I murmur: Yes;

    It is so sweet. We know it is not true.
    What matters it? The night must shed her dew.

    We know it is not true, but it is sweet--
    The poem with this music is complete.

    Claude McKay

Saturday, March 28, 2009

She Walks in Beauty

The author of this poem, Lord Byron, was quite a character. A lover of women and boys alike, he epitomized and immortalized the "Byronic Hero" a sullen, brooding, defiant young man who fixates upon some unforgivable mistake in his past. It was written about Byron that he was "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Byron is possibly best known for his tale of "Don Juan" a character who some argue is autobiographical in nature.
    SHE walks in beauty like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
    And all that's best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
    Thus mellowed to the tender light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

    One ray the more, one shade the less
    Had half impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress
    Or softly lightens o'er her face,
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express
    How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

    And on that cheek and o'er that brow
    So soft, so calm yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow
    But tell of days in goodness spent
    A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent.
    Lord Byron

She is not beautiful

Sometimes you might love someone who frowns more than smiles...... For the youngsters out there, "fair" in this poem refers to beauty. "She is not fair to outward view" = she's not beautiful in appearance.

She is not fair to outward view

    SHE is not fair to outward view,
    As many maidens be,
    Her loveliness I never knew
    Until she smiled on me:
    O, then I saw her eye was bright, --
    A well of love, a spring of light.

    But now her looks are coy and cold;
    To mine they never reply;
    And yet I cease not to behold,
    The love-light in her eye:
    Her very frowns are better far
    Than smiles of other maidens are!

    Hartley Coleridge

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lament



    LISTEN, children,
    Your father is dead.
    From his old coats
    I'll make you little jackets;
    I'll make you little trousers
    From his old pants.
    There'll be in his pockets
    Things he used to put there:
    Keys and pennies
    Covered with tobacco.
    Dan shall have the pennies
    To save in his bank;
    Anne shall have the keys
    To make a pretty noise with.
    Life must go on
    And the dead be forgotten;
    Life must go on
    Though good men die.
    Anne, eat your breakfast;
    Dan, take your medicine.
    Life must go on;
    I forget just why.
    Edna St. Vincent Millay
    Image: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/00675/orphans1_675357c.jpg : REUTERS

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Waking up Midlife


A Daughter of Eve

    A FOOL I was to sleep at noon,
    And wake when night is chilly
    Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
    A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
    A fool to snap my lily.

    My garden-plot I have not kept;
    Faded and all-forsaken,
    I weep as I have never wept:
    Oh it was summer when I slept,
    It's winter now I waken.

    Talk what you please of future spring
    And sun-warm'd sweet to-morrow:
    Stripp'd bare of hope and everything,
    No more to laugh, no more to sing,
    I sit alone with sorrow.

    Christina Rossetti

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ladybug

When I was a child

Ladybugs would fly to me.

They would land on my arm

And whisper little secrets in my ear

Of things I would become:


A kind man
And gentle of mind,
A man of spirit
That could close great divides.

But I don't feel that big.
In fact, as I sit in the grass
And talk to you.
I feel like a tiny ladybug
On someone else's arm
And your ear is most important to me

© Time Inc.For personal non-commercial use only photo by Margaret Bourke-White 1952
Dahlia photos: I took these pictures of my dahlias back around 1999-2000. jkb

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Widow's Lament in Springtime

by David "Darkarts" THIERREE.

photo by SamLindsey

    Sorrow is my own yard
    where the new grass
    flames as it has flamed
    often before but not
    with the cold fire
    that closes round me this year.

    Thirty-five years
    I lived with my husband.
    The plumtree is white today
    with masses of flowers.

    Masses of flowers
    load the cherry branches
    and color some bushes
    yellow and some red
    but the grief in my heart
    is stronger than they
    for though they were my joy
    formerly, today I notice them
    and turn away forgetting.

    Today my son told me
    that in the meadows,
    at the edge of the heavy woods
    in the distance, he saw
    trees of white flowers.

    I feel that I would like
    to go there
    and fall into those flowers
    and sink into the marsh near them.

    William Carlos Williams

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I THOUGHT you loved me.


In the Orchard




photo: http://www.stuartallen.info

    I THOUGHT you loved me.
    No, it was only fun.
    When we stood there, closer than all?
    Well, the harvest moon
    Was shining and queer in your hair, and it turned my head.
    That made you?
    Yes.
    Just the moon and the light it made
    Under the tree?
    Well, your mouth too.
    Yes, my mouth?
    And the quiet there that sang like the drum in the booth.
    You shouldn't have danced like that.
    Like what?
    So close,
    With your head turned up, and the flower in your hair, a rose
    That smelt all warm.
    I loved you. I thought you knew
    I wouldn't have danced like that with any but you.
    I didn't know. I thought you knew it was fun.
    I thought it was love you meant.
    Well, it's done.
    Yes, it's done.
    I've seen boys stone a blackbird, and watched them drown
    A kitten -- it clawed at the reeds, and they pushed it down
    Into the pool while it screamed. Is that fun, too?
    Well, boys are like that -- Your brothers --
    Yes, I know.
    But you, so lovely and strong! Not you! Not You!
    Muriel Stuart

A March Day in London


THE east wind blows in the street today;
The sky is blue, yet the town looks grey.
'Tis the wind of ice, the wind of fire,
Of cold despair and of hot desire,
Which chills the flesh to aches and pains,
And sends a fever through all the veins.

From end to end, with aimless feet,
All day long have I paced the street.
My limbs are weary, but in my breast,
Stirs the goad of a mad unrest.
I would give anything to stay
The little wheel that turns in my brain;
The little wheel that turns all day,
That turns all night with might and main.

What is the thing I fear, and why?
Nay, but the world is all awry--
The wind's in the east, the sun's in the sky.
The gas-lamps gleam in a golden line;
The ruby lights of the hansoms shine,
Glance, and flicker like fire-flies bright;
The wind has fallen with the night,
And once again the town seems fair
Thwart the mist that hangs i' the air.

And o'er, at last, my spirit steals
A weary peace; peace that conceals
within its inner depths the grain
Of hopes that yet shall flower again.

Amy Levy

March Evening

March Evening

Blue through the window burns the twilight;
Heavy, through trees, blows the warm south wind.
Glistening, against the chill, gray sky light,
Wet, black branches are barred and entwined.

Sodden and spongy, the scarce-green grass plot
Dents into pools where a foot has been.
Puddles lie spilt in the road a mass, not
Of water, but steel, with its cold, hard sheen.

Faint fades the fire on the hearth, its embers
Scattering wide at a stronger gust.
Above, the old weathercock groans, but remembers
Creaking, to turn, in its centuried rust.

Dying, forlorn, in dreary sorrow,
Wrapping the mists round her withering form,
Day sinks down; and in darkness to-morrow
Travails to birth in the womb of the storm.

Amy Lowell

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The way your little finger moved

AH, God, the way your little finger moved
As you thrust a bare arm backward
And made play with your hair
And a comb a silly gilt comb
Ah, God--that I should suffer
Because of the way a little finger moved.

Stephen Crane

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

About Me and my Choice of Poems

Just to let you know, the poems I choose are not all about my ex-husband. He is doing a good job of killing any feeling that I have for him. Generally, I love romantic poems, poems of love, loss, life, etc. So now u kno!

I Do Not Love You


I DO not love You! No! I do not love You!
And yet when you are absent I am sad;
And envy even the bright blue sky above You,
Whose quiet stars may see You and be glad.
I do not love You! yet, I know not why,
Whatever You do seems still well done, to me --
And often in my solitude I sigh --
That those I do love are not more like You!
I do not love You! yet when You are gone
I hate the sound (though those who speak be dear)
Which breaks the lingering echo of the tone
Your voice of music leaves upon my ear.
I do not love You! yet your speaking eyes,
With their deep, bright and most expressive blue --
Between me and the midnight heaven arise,
Oftener than any eyes I ever knew.
I know I do not love You! yet, alas!
Others will scarcely trust my candid heart;
And often I catch them smiling as they pass,
Because they see me gazing where you are.


Caroline Norton

Note: In the interest of making this poem more palatable to a younger generation, I have changed the thou's and thy's to you and your. Normally, I would indicate this by using brackets [ ] but I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the poem either. Now, thou knowest! ;D

Friday, March 6, 2009

But Not to me

THE April night is still and sweet
With flowers on every tree;
Peace comes to them on quiet feet,
But not to me.

My peace is hidden in his breast
Where I shall never be,
Love comes to-night to all the rest,
But not to me.


Sara Teasdale

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Once More Into My Arid Days


(Arid means dry; without rain)

ONCE more into my arid days like dew,
Like wind from an oasis, or the sound
Of cold sweet water bubbling underground,
A treacherous messenger--the thought of you
Comes to destroy me; once more I renew
Firm faith in your abundance, whom I found
Long since to be but just one other mound
Of sand, whereon no green thing ever grew.
And once again, and wiser is no wise,
I chase your colored phantom on the air,
And sob and curse and fall and weep and rise
And stumble pitifully on to where,
Miserable and lost, with stinging eyes,
Once more [I reach for you]--and there is nothing there.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Summer Morn In New Hampshire

ALL yesterday it poured, and all night long
I could not sleep; the rain unceasing beat
Upon the shingled roof like a weird song,
Upon the grass like running children's feet.
And down the mountains by the dark cloud kissed,
Like a strange shape in filmy veiling dressed,
Slid slowly, silently, the wraith-like mist,
And nestled soft against the earth's wet breast.

But lo, there was a miracle at dawn!
The still air stirred at touch of the faint breeze,
The sun a sheet of gold bequeathed the lawn,
The songsters twittered in the rustling trees.
And all things were transfigured in the day,
But me whom radiant beauty could not move;
For you, more wonderful, were far away,
And I was blind with hunger for your love.

Claude McKay

Monday, March 2, 2009

Solitude

I always love it when I find the source of a common saying. I have heard the first lines of this poem repeatedly throughout my life--live long enough and you will too! Here it is folks, first coined by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, in her poem as follows:


LAUGH, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.

For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of it's own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ashes of Life

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;
Eat I must, and sleep I will, -- and would that

night were here!
But ah! -- to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike!
Would that it were day again! -- with twilight

near!

Love has gone and left me and I don't know what to do;
This or that or what you will is all the same to me;

But all the things that I begin I leave
before I'm through, --
There's little use in anything as far as I can see.

Love has gone and left me, -- and the neighbors knock
and borrow,
And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse, --

And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow
and to-morrow
There's this little street and this little house.


Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sorrow

SORROW like a ceaseless rain
Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain, --
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane,
Neither stop nor start.
People dress and go to town;
I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown
Or what shoes I wear.


Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Union Square

Union Square

    WITH the man I love who loves me not,
    I walked in the street-lamps' flare;
    We watched the world go home that night
    In a flood through Union Square.

    I leaned to catch the words he said
    That were light as a snowflake falling;
    Ah well that he never leaned to hear
    The words my heart was calling.

    And on we walked and on we walked
    Past the fiery lights of the picture shows --
    Where the girls with thirsty eyes go by
    On the errand each man knows.

    And on we walked and on we walked,
    At the door at last we said good-bye;
    I knew by his smile he had not heard
    My heart's unuttered cry.

    With the man I love who loves me not
    I walked in the street-lamps' flare --
    But oh, the girls who can ask for love
    In the lights of Union Square.
By Sara Teasdale, of course. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rest

Rest.

WE are so tired, my heart and I.
Of all things here beneath the sky
One only thing would please us best--
Endless, unfathomable rest.

We are so tired; we ask no more
Than just to slip out by Life's door;
And leave behind the noisy rout
And everlasting turn about.

Once it seemed well to run on too
With her importunate, fevered crew,
And snatch amid the frantic strife
Some morsel from the board of life.

But we are tired.
At Life's crude hands
We ask no gift she understands;
But kneel to him she hates to crave
The absolution of the grave.

Mathilde Blind

Monday, February 23, 2009

Absence


Absence


YOUR words dropped into my heart like pebbles into a pool,
Rippling around my breast and leaving it melting cool.
Your kisses fell sharp on my flesh like dawn-dews from the limb,
Of a fruit-filled lemon tree when the day is young and dim.
But a silence vasty-deep, oh deeper than all these ties
Now, through the menacing miles, brooding between us lies.
And more than the songs I sing, I await your written word,
To stir my fluent blood as never your presence stirred.


Claude McKay

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Night in Jakarta


Stepping outside of my pavilion in Jakarta, the humid breeze feathers warmly across my face. Across the narrow road, a tall coconut tree is silhouetted against the tropical sky, its jagged fronds moving gently in the night air. The stars twinkle slyly above, as I wonder for the umpteenth time how I could have come so far away from my family to live in this foreign place.

Glancing to my right, past the lush foliage, I see the red glow of a cigarette. My landlady is sitting outside of her house. Laughter punctuates the dull murmur of voices emanating from behind the house. Another marathon card game is evidently in progress. It will go on all night. Something white catches my eye on the tree dividing our properties. I notice that she has covered the belimbing, or yellow star fruit, with a plastic bag to prevent the birds from getting it.

Looking up the street, I see the neighbor is ordering noodles from the street vendor. Framed in the glow of a gas lantern hanging precariously from his push cart, the vendor pulls noodles from a steaming vat, tops them with crisp fried onions, pale chunks of chicken, and hands the plate to my neighbor. Somewhere in the darkness, the call of the sate vendor echoes through the night: “Saataaayyyyyy!”

Suddenly, the Muslim call to prayer rises into the blue black sky, propelled by speakers from every mosque in the city. “Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!” The eleven o’clock call to prayer reminds me that my bed is also calling. I turn and go back into my house. Shutting my door on Jakarta, I go to bed. jkb2001

Friday, February 20, 2009

If you but knew

AH, if you knew how soon and late
My eyes long for a sight of you
Sometimes in passing by my gate
You'd linger until fall of dew,
If you but knew!
Ah, if you knew how sick and sore

My life flags for the want of you,
Straightway you'd enter at the door
And clasp my hand between your two,
If you but knew!
Ah, if you knew how lost and lone

I watch and weep and wait for you,
You'd press my heart close to your own
Till love had healed me through and through,
If you but knew!

mathilde blind

Into my Dreams


I TOOK your face into my dreams,

It floated round me like a light;

Your beauty's consecrating beams

Lay mirrored in my heart all night.

As in a lonely mountain mere,

Unvisited of any streams,

Supremely bright and still and clear,

The solitary moonlight gleams,

Your face was shining in my dreams.


Mathilde Blind

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gray Fog


Gray Fog
A fog drifts in, the heavy laden
Cold white ghost of the sea --
One by one the hills go out,
The road and the pepper-tree.
I watch the fog float in at the window
With the whole world gone blind,
Everything, even my longing, drowses,
Even the thoughts in my mind.
I put my head on my hands before me,
There is nothing left to be done or said,
There is nothing to hope for, I am tired,
And heavy as the dead.


Sara Teasdale

Summer Night, Riverside


Summer Night, Riverside

IN the wild soft summer darkness
How many and many a night we two together
Sat in the park and watched the Hudson
Wearing her lights like golden spangles
Glinting on black satin.
The rail along the curving pathway
Was low in a happy place to let us cross,
And down the hill a tree that dripped with bloom
Sheltered us
While your kisses and the flowers,
Falling, falling,
Tangled my hair. . . .
The frail white stars moved slowly over the sky.
And now, far off
In the fragrant darkness
The tree is tremulous again with bloom
For June comes back.
To-night what girl
When she goes home,
Dreamily before her mirror shakes from her hair
This year's blossoms, clinging in its coils ?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Chicken and the Road


As a young child growing up in rural Wisconsin, life was filled with unique challenges, crossing the road, for example: My mother always told me, “Look both ways before crossing the street. Make sure you watch for cars.” As an obedient child, I endeavored to follow her advice to the letter. My opportunity arose when my brother and I had to walk to the end of our driveway, cross the gravel road, and wait for the school bus. Simple, you say? Not quite!

My mother failed to consider that we lived way out in Washington Coulée. Cars were few and far between. Walking to the end of the driveway, which was half a mile from the house, my brother would immediately cross the gravel road to wait for the bus.

I, however, would hear the voice of my mother: “Look both ways before crossing the street. Make sure you watch for cars!” So I looked both ways: up the gravel road, down the gravel road, down, and up. My brother would be yelling at me to hurry up and get over there, while I stubbornly continued to “watch for cars.”

Eventually, I would see a cloud of dust in the distance: a car! A tendril of excitement developed in my stomach. Mean-while, my brother was hollering at me.
“Come on!”
“No! A car!” I replied, one shaky finger pointing at the little puff of dust.
“COME ON! It’s WAY down there!”
“NO! Mom said to wait for cars!” I looked at him as he gestured in the exasperated way that older brothers have.

And so our conversation would go; my brother yelling, while I anxiously waited for the car to pass. The closer the car came, the faster my head swiveled back and forth between my brother and the car, and the more excited I became. Jumping up and down with nervous excitement, I would continue to refuse to cross the road, irritating my brother to no end.

“COME ON!! Get over here!” My brother waved me over like a policeman motioning to traffic. Dancing with the suspense, my stomach tight with panic and extending my shaking hand in the direction of the oncoming vehicle, I refused.

“NO! There’s a CAR!” Panic increased as the car approached. My eyes swung between my brother and the car. My breathing came fast; suspense was building. Finally, when the car was about a block away, I couldn’t take it anymore. As my brother continued to holler at me to cross, I suddenly complied.

“Okay!” I yelled shakily and dashed directly in front of the car. As I was dashing into the path of the oncoming car, my brother suddenly changed his mind.

“NO!” He yelled, his arms frantically waving me back. Of course it was too late, and I was already on his side of the road, the much-anticipated car whooshing past us.

I think this happened a few times, before my brother decided he couldn’t handle the stress anymore. If I saw a car anywhere down the road, no matter how distant, I would refuse to cross until it passed. Of course, I never was able to wait and would end up running in front of it. Finally, he decided that he would have to wait with me. I have vague memories of my brother standing behind me, his skinny arms crossed over my chest. As I strained against his arms, wanting to run in front of the approaching car, I would hear his voice in my ear.

“Calm down. Breathe! Breathe!” He would repeat this over and over, as I wriggled with the terrible suspense of an approaching car. As I was only about 6 years old and completely caught up in the stress of learning to cross the street, I am not sure what my mom was doing during this time. Perhaps she was the one who suggested my brother wait and cross the road with me, instead of allowing me to carry out my death-defying ritual on a daily basis.

Some time later, we moved to a small town where cars were a more common occurrence. You can imagine what effect that had on me! Somehow, thanks to my brother, I survived learning to cross the road. In fact, eventually, he didn’t have to hold me in a death grip in order to prevent me from running in front of cars.

It’s hard to determine why my brother could receive a warning from Mom and take it in stride, while I, hearing the same warning, would become an obsessive lunatic instead. Perhaps you think this is an isolated incident from my childhood, that I really couldn’t be so strange. Little do you know! I have quite a story to tell about how closely I listened to my mom’s warning not to play with matches... But that, my friend, is best left to another day. jkb 2000

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spray


Spray

    I knew you thought of me all night,
    I knew, though you were far away;
    I felt your love blow over me
    As if a dark wind-riven sea
    Drenched me with quivering spray.

    There are so many ways to love
    And each way has its own delight --
    Then be content to come to me
    Only as spray the beating sea
    Drives inland through the night.

    Sara Teasdale

Flower of Love


Flower of Love

    THE perfume of your body dulls my sense.
    I want wine nor weed; your breath alone
    Suffices. In this moment rare and tense
    I worship at your breast. The flower is blown,
    The saffron petals tempt my amorous mouth,
    The yellow heart is radiant now with dew
    Soft-scented, redolent of my loved South;
    O flower of love! I give myself to you.
    Uncovered on your couch of figured green,
    Here let us linger indivisible.
    The portals of your sanctuary unseen
    Receive my offering, yielding unto me.
    Oh, with our love the night is warm and deep!
    The air is sweet, my flower, and sweet the flute
    Whose music lulls our burning brain to sleep,
    While we lie loving, passionate and mute.
    Claude McKay

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Motherhood

Motherhood is traditionally defined as that period of time which a mother spends raising her children. Yet for anyone who was, is, or even has had a mother, it is obvious that the word really entails a myriad of duties.

Inevitably, a mother is a nutritionist of sorts. Solely responsible for the nutrition of her family, she must constantly be aware of what is or is not entering the mouths of her children. Not only that, a matriarch must be able to realize that a piece of apple, found behind the sofa by a toddler and immediately popped into the mouth, has less nutritional value than a fresh apple. Lest one think that feeding children is easy, try feeding a two year old. The little one sits on his throne, awaiting his meal, only to reject it as unfit for consumption the minute it appears before him. Or he may accept it, only to use it as a flying missile to hurl at anyone who passes by. My own two-year-old child may ask repeatedly for a peanut butter sandwich, but when one is prepared and offered, will scream “NOOOO!” and run in the opposite direction.

Another aspect of motherhood is that through some unwritten law, one becomes immediately responsible for every item in the home, and must be able, upon questioning, to state the whereabouts of the aforementioned item. At any given moment, mother may be asked the location of a shoe, a CD, a book, or even a particular screw. Surprisingly, a skilled mother is usually able to give rough coordinates of the requested item. I often surprise myself in this regard. Once my husband asked me where his flathead screwdriver was. My response was, “ I don’t know! Check in the junk drawer in the kitchen, toward the back on the left.

Other maternal duties include acting as doctor, diagnostician, nurse, and occasionally a pallbearer at the funeral of a beloved pet. Specific methods are used to carry out diagnosing illnesses, or to determine the need for outside help. A touch of lips to a forehead can measure temperature, and a sniff of the nose will diagnose a yeast infection. Observation alone will indicate the need for a doctor, when a child who is normally tearing your house apart, suddenly decides to spend the day lying on the sofa. A keen ear will diagnose a congested cough versus a dry, hacking cough, a hungry cry versus a sleepy cry.

Wisdom is a welcome addition to any maternal role. Knowing when to referee a disagreement between offspring, the exact moment when blows are likely to be thrown, or when all one needs is a hug from the other. An intuitive mother picks and chooses her battles, allowing her eight- year -old to wear a bizarre combination of colors and seasonal garb on occasion if only to prove a point: listen to Mom! Being able to recognize the fine line between disobedience and independence, or naughtiness and sleepiness requires experience, as does recognizing that a little love and affection calms many an intense situation. In addition, it is necessary to remember that childhood is such a sweet, fleeting time of life and that it is important to allow a child to experience all that childhood brings with it, without trying to fix or prevent every mishap--only the ones which jeopardize health or safety.

Keeping a family clothed in school clothes, play clothes, and costumes is another task of motherhood. This includes the occasional sacrifice. I remember my own mother cutting up her wedding dress to make a Cinderella costume for me in time for Halloween one year. Often, she would forego purchasing clothing for herself in order to ensure that we had new clothing to wear for school or a special occasion. Such selflessness is a characteristic inherent to motherhood.

Also inherent to motherhood is doing laundry. Piles and piles of dirty clothes soon turn into piles and piles of clean clothes. Sorting and folding, classifying and stowing are included in the daily routine of a mother. Fighting the sock monster that steals socks, knowing that somewhere in your child’s room is a secret stash of dirty clothes, having an intuitive hunch that your nine-year-old is wearing dirty underwear under clean clothes, such skills come only from experience.

The various hats and responsibilities that weigh upon the chosen few, the mothers, are many. It is through soul-searching, seeking knowledge, and life experience that mothers are created. Good mothers are not born; motherhood is not a built-in talent, but one that is developed. A special place in Heaven is reserved for those who have met the challenge of motherhood; it is labeled a “No Screaming-yelling-crying-whining-drooling-complaining Zone”.

jkb 1999

Friday, February 13, 2009

Our Souls have Touched

OUR souls have touched each other,
Two fountains from one jet;
Like children of one mother
Our leaping thoughts have met.
We were as far asunder
As green isles in the sea;
And now we ask in wonder
How that could ever be.
I dare not call thee lover
Nor any earthly name,
Though love's full cup flows over
As water quick with flame.
When two strong minds have mated
As only spirits may,
The world shines new created
In a diviner day.
Yea, though hard fate may sever
My fleeting self from thine,
Thy thought will live for ever
And ever grow in mine.

Mathilde Blind

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hidden Love

I hope you are not sick of Sara. I love her poetry. This is my last Photo-shopped poem background combo I think. Unless I feel inspired to create more. I will try to shake it up a bit for you after this one. I promise!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A True Friend

This poem has been spread around the internet without the author's name. The author's name is Khahlil Gibran. One of my pet peeves is not giving credit to the author of a work. Basically, if you paste something on ur blog, email, etc and do not give credit that implies that it is your own work. That, my friend, is wrong anyway you cut it. Please, put an author's name with his work. Google it if necessary. Again, my photoshopped background with Gibran's poem.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Warni














I remember the first time that I met Warni. We were preparing for a trip to Anyer, located on the coast of the Java Sea. We had been living in Jakarta, with my in-laws for six months and had recently moved to our own place. I had a young girl of sixteen to clean my house, but she only lasted a week. After seeing maids come and go at my in-laws, I was seriously debating whether it was worth the hassle. Yet there she was, with her daughter beside her, inquiring whether or not we needed a maid. Warni was a diminutive woman with her black hair pulled neatly back from a serious but pleasant face. When asked, she explained that she had been referred to us by our previous helper and had until recently been employed by an expatriate family who had returned to their country. Her attire was mismatched but obviously well cared for, and she seemed to have good personal hygiene. With mixed feelings, I told my husband to tell her to see us when we returned on Monday.

Returning home, sunburned and relaxed, we found Warni waiting patiently by our front gate. In spite of her impassive face, she was irritated that we had returned a day later than promised. Nevertheless, it was the beginning of a relationship that would last for seven years until we left Indonesia.

From that day, Warni took care of our house, did our laundry and shopping, mailed our letters and paid our bills, braving the heat of the dusty, crowded city on a monthly pilgrimage to pay the utilities. I trusted Warni with money: her honesty was impeccable. One day, she came to me with money in her hand.

“Ibu, there is money.”

“Where did this money come from, Warni?” I asked.

“On street in front of gate.” She replied, without expression.

If there was money in my husband’s pocket, she refused to wash the pants until I broached the matter:

“Warni, have you washed Pak Edward’s pants?”

“Not yet, Ibu. There is money in pocket.”

If not for Warni, I could not have stood the every day frustrations that come with living in a third world country. She was my protector, my buffer from all things confusing and unpleasant. When maggots rained down from my ceiling, time and time again as some hapless rodent died in my roof, we fought them together. Warni swept them up, while I frantically called my husband, whose best advice was to close the door to that room. When time and termites took their toll on my roof and the monsoon rains showered filthy water into my kitchen, Warni was there. She spent seemingly endless hours cleaning it up, while I cried in my bedroom, pulling my hair in frustration. After she had finished, Warni went home and cried.

As a result of the roof dampness, mushrooms began to grow out of the ceiling, hanging on limber stalks. I left them there. One day, as Warni and I stood looking at our impromptu mushroom crop, she told me that the landlady was wondering why we didn’t remove them.

“Ibu, Tante Endang ask why we don’t take down.”

“Warni, if Tante Endang doesn’t fix my roof, we will use them to make soup and feed it to her!”

Warni laughed.

Through our years together, Warni and her family became a part of our family. When holidays came, we made sure that there were gifts, food and a bonus, careful not to offend. On the Muslim Day of Sacrifice, animals are butchered at the mosques and the meat is given to the poor. Knowing that Warni could use it, I asked her.

“Warni, have you gone to get your share?”

“No, Ibu.”

“Why not, Warni? It’s free meat.”

“My neighbors all rushing there, “ she replied, “Like they’ve never eaten meat before! I no need!”

Just as she helped me through my daily crises, I helped Warni with her family’s needs. When she came to tell me of her mother’s death in south Sulawesi, I sent her there. We often paid her daughter’s school fees and encouraged Warni to get some career training to prepare for the day when we would leave.

Often, I would give her our old clothes and other items to give away or keep, as she saw fit. She took them without comment, laying them aside until she left for the day. It wasn’t long before looking at Warni, I would have feelings of dejevu, as my clothing came back on her person, matched in her own unique combinations, complementing the rubber thongs that she habitually wore on her brown feet. I couldn’t resist teasing her—getting any reaction from Warni was a challenge:

“Warni, that shirt looks familiar, where have I seen it before?”

“Was yours, Ibu.” She answered, straight faced.

“Be careful, Warni” I cautioned, playfully. “People will think we are twins!”

When my daughter was born, Warni was there. From that moment, she helped me care for Chelsea. Often, she’d carry Chelsea at her waist in a long strop of colorful material, a sarung, tucked in at her shoulder. It was there that Chelsea spent countless hours at Warni’s waist, as, walking around outside, Warni fed her rice porridge mixed with vegetables, or the sliced juicy papaya that Chelsea ate several times a day.

Warni was like Chelsea’s second mother, caring for her when she was sick, feeding and bathing her. If not for her, I would never have gone to work, not trusting anyone else to take care of my child. As Chelsea had a strong personality, Warni had her own means of discipline. When annoyed, there was no explosion of anger, no spanks—just a period of being ignored. Warni would set her down, removing the sarung that tied them together. With her toffee face set, she would walk away, going about her chores, until Chelsea begged to be forgiven, running eagerly to fetch the cloth that would reunite them once again.

Warni had her own sense of humor. One day, as I was searching frantically for some treasured item from home, Warni stood calmly watching as I tore through every cupboard in the house. Finally, in desperation, I asked:

“Warni, have you seen my magazine with the rabbits on it?”

“Yes, Ibu.”

“Where is it?”

“I threw it away.”

I drew a deep breath, sputtering with incredulity.

“What??!!!”

Looking at her stoic expression, I detected a hint of a twinkle.

When my willful child decided—demanded—that she be allowed to eat a packet of chili sauce, proclaiming she liked it, Warni stood by.

“Chelsea want eat chili? It hot!”

Chelsea insisted.

“Okay, Chelsea no cry if hot!”

When Chelsea ate it up with her stubborn, “mmm, good, I like it” then frantically asked for a drink, Warni laughingly obliged.

“Nah, see, I told you!”

As much as I cared for her, I was not aware of how irrevocably our lives were intertwined, until I visited her home prior to our leaving Indonesia. Parking on the street, we made our way, snaking through the narrow mud packed path between the shacks. Chicks scurried before us, occasionally echoed in the dark shadow of a rat slinking out of sight in the smelly gutter. Although I had been there before, this was the first time I had actually entered beyond the door to partake of her humble, sincere hospitality. Her husband had informed us that since her employment with us had ended, she had been at home crying daily.

As our eyes adjusted to the inside of Warni’s home, it was clear that Warni would never be able to forget us. Her house was neatly kept, in sharp contrast to the surroundings and surprisingly well furnished. We looked around in astonishment: all the items that Warni had disposed for us over the years were arranged with care in her tiny home: hand painted woodwork that was my hobby, Chelsea’s baby toys and stuffed animals, miscellaneous soft furnishings, and the odd piece of furniture. Interspersed between the items we’d accumulated and discarded over the years, were photos of Chelsea and Warni, proudly displayed.

I left Indonesia and Warni behind with a heavy heart, knowing what she had meant to my daughter, my family and to me. However, I carry her memory with me to my native country, where she will always be with us in photos and in our hearts. I know that Warni will also remember us, inevitable, as she is surrounded by the accumulation of our life in Jakarta. In a way, this somehow comforts me—knowing that, even though we disposed of and packed up our Indonesian experience, somewhere in the back streets of Jakarta, a part of us remains.

jkb 2000 (pictured daughter and I)