I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

28 June 2015

Taking My Life in My Hands

In one hand, I hold hurt:
the loss of my dearest husband
into his death; the pain
of a grown son become an enemy;
various cats who used to be;
particular dogs who were mighty.

I hold my mother
who named me after a fragrant herb,
telling herself she was naming me
for a pretty actress — symbolic
of love and misunderstanding
as we never quite connected ... except deep.

I hold the stepmother
who fed me poison (no, not literally,
though she'd have liked to
and to force it personally down my throat);
the father who betrayed
me and my little brother into her keeping.

This is the hand that handles
the housework, the food,
the weeding and pruning,
the careful allocation of the money;
the hand that signed divorce papers — twice 
and afterwards dried my eyes.

In the other hand, the healing hand, I hold
memories of happiness
with my late husband, and with the others;
the conjured-up touch of their skin.
I hold my parents in this one too,
when they were young, when they were glad.

I hold, in this hand, my stepfather's hand
who was a friend, and all the hands
of all my friends. And I hold the hands
of my children, back before one let go.
I feel the fur of the remembered 
cats and dogs, and the cat I still have.

Here in the healing hand is a map
of the green Caldera I live in (20 years now)
its mountains, rivers and ocean.
I hold, too, the island
where I grew up its mountains and rivers
and wild ocean. I even hold an old city.

My hands themselves are old.
The backs are freckled with liver spots
and the veins have turned into strings.
But the palms are rosy and firm,
still smooth-skinned, still plump. These hands
have a clean smell and a good grip.

I stand poised, one foot on a rock
and one dipping into the water.
I am almost dancing. The wind
flirts with my skirt. The sky is a gentle blue
like the water; the clouds are fluffy soft.
There are golden flowers, green grass.

From the cups of my hands pour streams
of living water. The streams combine.
The hurts I hold are soothed and healed,
just as the sweet things I hold are defined
by certain sharp edges. I find a precarious
balance, and spread my red wings wide.

Inspired by an exercise in Wingbeats

Also posted in my facebook Notes. If you think you have already commented, but don't see your comment, it was probably made there!

‘Six Word Saturday’ emanates from Call Me Cate’s blog, Show My Face. To read her and other people’s ‘Six Word Saturday’ posts, click the icon.

Also shared at Poets United's Poetry Pantry #258


  1. A brave poem.. glad to see the positivity at the end.

  2. one hand is magical surely, that lets go sadness and clings to happiness...the speaker's voice is sweet, courageous and inspiring...

  3. This is like a letting-go poem Rosemary. Very personal, but in the process you have taken the positives and establish you being a strong woman. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. This for me links with the comment you kindly left for me that one day 'it is no longer so' - we slowly slowly have to take our life in our hands - so easy to say , so hard to achieve but what an achievement to reach that place and find your wings...i admire the strength of your words and you...

  5. It can never be a smooth ride in whatever way one wants it. To plan a way for the journey is basic but life is such others knock it to their own agenda! It certainly is a challenge! Wonderfully penned Rosemary!


  6. This is so touching.. so sad.. it takes a lot of courage to write such a poem.. to share your pain with others.. know that sharing makes its a little easier..wish I could relieve you of such pain.. breaks my heart.

    Lots of love,

    1. You have a tender heart! Pain is unavoidable, but some of it is past.

  7. A poem in classical style, and a storytelling of great sadness.

  8. Beautiful poem, Rosemary. I'm glad that you continue to find balance.

    My Six Words

  9. How wonderful that through all that has happened you can still be positive and be soothed by the life you now live.

  10. So many hands to hold, so many people you have to be someone for, or someone of - and yet where are you in all of this. So many people are passed hand to hand, being what is expected of them but never themselves. There comes a time you either have to take it in your hands or just not have one.

  11. In our hands we can hold so much; and finding balance is key!

  12. Rosemary, love how you connected your relationships with the Tarot...we're touching so many people throughout our life knowingly and not, so really we can draw a tree of our connections. And who can be friend for all? our brain become kinder and heart - seeing clearer and keep a balance...Ths for sharing.

  13. so much sadness we can endure, and somehow life wins at making us stronger.

  14. Wow this is abdetious write. Yet my mind drifted to snimage of a Hindu goddess with many arms. Maybe we are all a litte bit . like here for life throws many experiences we couldnt possibly cstch with just two hands. Thanks for a wonderful write Rosemary. Hope you are having a nice Sunday

    Much love...

  15. I love it when a poet pours out her heart. You've done so in this poem. Nice to hold your life in your hands, one washes the other and heals.

  16. what a wonderful snippet of life.

  17. Ha, I thought I commented here but it must have been on facebook. I adore this poem, it is one I can honestly say "I Wish I Had Written This"!! Love the idea of the two hands, and what they hold.........especially the healing hand and how both hands cup and pour streams of living water......my heart lifts at the mention of those widespread red wings!

  18. This is a purging of pain and love still found in those hands...just so heartfelt and beautiful Rosemary!

  19. Rosemary - I am breathless - in wonder - in awe - with respect and with love - my eyes tear with love and as my breath returns it is somehow calmed and cleansed. Wonderful healing - Thank you for this

  20. This is so beautiful. It left a lump in my throat. I have had many complicated relationships and attachments, also. People can fill you with gladness and they can break your heart. I have come to believe that some people have such an ego-centric personality flaw, they are not capable of giving to others and are, in fact, lifted up (in their own twisted minds) when those around them are brought down. They are a terrible vexation to the spirit. But if you lucky (and I think you were, as am I) you find someone who takes your hand and loves you and reassures you that: they didn't deserve, in the first place.

  21. Rosemary, I felt your words the pain in the journey. Your ending stanza is filled with healing and understanding. May the scars fade and the healing waters continue to flow.

  22. Unfortunately, I forget to use both hands, and focus on the one that holds bad stepparents, pain from loss, etc.

    That hand, the one holding hurt, has a fantastic grip, usually.

    1. It's been a long journey. I suspect I'm a lot older than you. I can only say, keep travelling your own journey, step by step. And perhaps you could try to pay more attention to what the healing hand holds. Just being aware of it, not forcing anything, might be a sufficient start.

  23. Life is full of both lets hope the one hand holds more.

  24. Beautifully done, Rosemary.

  25. Rosemary,

    Our hands are maps with the journey and perhaps the experiences encountered along the way, written into our hands and held in our palms..A life poem of trials and a dash of healing.

  26. Oh, to gulp that water! How very tough to read; I imagine much harder to live and write. Thank you for sharing this deep journey with us, and for capturing it so well.

  27. I read a life there.. Memories there... A brave lady, I say!