Posted tagged ‘grief poem’


June 24, 2018


I weep in my sleep, thinking it’s because you’re gone
and never forgave me,
then wake, knowing that I weep
because I never forgave you,

while you forgave me all the time;
it was me
who missed my chance. 

I wonder how I hurt you
with that non-forgiving dance,
but you forgave that too,

clasping my hand with your two
with each breath, stop-breath–



For Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on Real Toads, to write a “micro poem.”  Her example a beautiful poem by Rumi, called It Doesn’t Matter.  Drawing is mine; 2018, charcoal on paper; all rights reserved. 

What Might Make It Better

September 21, 2017

What Might Make It Better

I want to call you and tell you
that I actually am
losing my vision–so I’ve just
been told–
I want to hear
how worried that makes you,
which would somehow allow me to say, dismissively,
“don’t worry,”
that all
will be okay.

Though actually I wouldn’t tell you
about my troubled vision
if you were still alive,
not wanting to worry you.

Oh, how I miss not telling you
what I would not.





Poem for Fireblossom’s (Shay’s) prompt on Real Toads.. Drawing mine.  Charcoal on paper, all rights reserved. 

And, to change the sad subject, I am also happy to announce that I have published a new children’s novel,  called Doggone! This is a sequel to Dogspell and also involves Seemore, the highly talented dog, and his sidekick, Sally; illustrated by yours truly.   Available on Amazon but am happy to send free copies to anyone who wishes to review!  





September 11, 2017


Like those flowers
by the side of the road in fall
that you see first
as blurred blue
but then find here
and here
and here
until they are all
that is everywhere,
so grief focuses, sharply,
as green recedes,
road fades,
and trees like shy teens try not
to be seen
and you know looking
at those blue blossoms
(even if it is not your parent
who has been lost)
that you will never be a child again, and that honestly
you have been one
your whole life long.



Poem that I will likely link to Real Toads Open Link Forum this week.  Very uncertain of line breaks, but so it goes– pic is mine. k.


August 9, 2016


He husbanded her ash for years; when the wind blew, he’d place some,
as if it were pollen and he a reverse bee,
upon a plant or low-hanging tree, and wait, downwind,
for its caress.
He would feel himself then weeping
into her hands, though it would seem to others
(if anyone had seen) just wind in his eyes.

But he worried as he aged
that he was using the ash too fast, that it wouldn’t last him, or worse–
and this was worse–
that he’d been self-indulgent with his machinations, and that in his wish to hold on to her, he’d never let her rest, that he had wrested her from
the singular life of ash, one eddying release, the possibility
of well-spring–

So he took the ash to a lake she’d loved
and sat there with the box–he’d never been able to transfer her
to an urn, she hated the taste
of metal–
which held inside the tied plastic, and inside that, the ash,
just sat there for some time,

with no leaves that could blow, just lake, and ripples of lake,

until he opened the box, the plastic, dipping palms into the soft remains,

until, not even looking–late for a lakeside–he pulled off shirt and shorts, and rubbed the ash like some tribal warrior over his thighs and calves, his knees and the backs of his knees, arms and belly, chest and shoulders, neck and nape of neck, and
his face.

He did cry–for her, for himself, and for the ridiculousness of himself, standing there not a warrior, on even a beach that was embarrassed, and the tears made rivulets
in the tightness of drying ash;

and he looked down at his legs, his torso, at the hair that was flattened by the ash, and at the hair that sprouted through the ashen mats, trying to feel something other than
the crusted rim of his own skin

until, slowly, he walked into the water, which took him aback with its warmth–

It was water that still held the day, water that held him too now with the day,
water where grey unwound.


Prosish poem for Real Toads Open Platform.  I am also linking to dVerse Poets Pub, for Whimsygizmo’s prompt about blue (one suggestion: to write a sad poem.) Pic is mine.  All rights reserved.  


April 29, 2016


I look out at my parents’ patio, pained
by the presence of
the absence of
my dad, the gaps
in his smile when aged, glints
of gold filling.

I don’t see him especially
in the “new” cushions (now old
no matter how saved when not in use) and in
the even older cushions now used mainly
by geckos–
where he once lifted thinning limbs
in time to a music that was also old then,
beloved tunes I have to work to catch
in a flash in the brain pan, glints
of gold


Very drafty Instapoetry for Bjorn Rudberg’s prompt on With Real Toads to write a poem what one sees out a window in less than 100 words.  I am visiting Florida right now, so wrote of that. 

This poem is also some consecutive number for April, National Poetry Month. Photo is mine and basis of poem.  I am quite worn out at the moment, and may be late returning comments. 

I thank all for their support and inspiration in this month of poetry.  

Questioning The Idea of Heaven

March 6, 2015


Questioning the Idea of Heaven

Can it be true
that I’ll not see you

That all will never be
as it always should
have been?

Will we not laugh
at trivial cruelties, which you
will allow me to call
every single one?

Match memory for memory
like one might measure height
in penciled lines by the side
of a door, the pine jamb varnished yellow
as a child-drawn sun?

We did have the door,
the pine,
the sun–


A poem of sorts for Margaret Bednar’s prompt Artistic Interpretations on With Real Toads to make a poem using an image by Toril Fisher, this one called California Poppy Glow. Margaret has many lovely pictures of Toril’s work on the Real Toads website–the color in these flowers oddly made me think of sun.  (I may post another one re garlic–but haven’t quite done that one yet.) 


“Interment” (Quatern)

December 6, 2012



I cannot bear to lay you in the ground–
not even in your ash state, shaped by urn;
it seems so cold below that clay-clung mound,
too harshly gelid to comfort harshest burn.

It’s true pooled ash leaves little to discern–
it cannot bare; it lays you into ground-
up bóne and góne and chár, while I still yearn
for spark–the live shine caught upon the round

of tooth, cheek, pupil–that in rebound
caught me. I want to know, but fear to learn
just why I cannot lay you in the ground
without my throat hard-bartered for a quern

that re-mills pain with every swallow’s turn,
that grínds what’s already fíne around
and round, allowing neither fruit nor fern–
that cannot bear to lay you in the ground.


Here’s a reading of the poem.  (I sometimes hate to take people’s time with readings, but in this case, the poem works much better read. I have changed one word since posting the reading, but it’s pretty minor.)

The above is a quatern – a new poetic form for me, that involves a repeating line.  I wrote it for Gay Cannon’s challenge on dVerse Poets Pub (“Form For All”).  I am afraid I used a slightly longer (pentameter) line than recommended for the form.  I urge you to check out Gay’s explanation of the form and the wonderful  poets at dVerse.

And – if you have a moment – check out my books!  Perfect for CHEAP Christmas presents!   Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, orNose Dive. Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

Yeatsian Interlock – “To My Father”

November 18, 2012


To my Father (Ill for Some Time Before Death)

I miss you more than I can say–
you, who sat in a chair all day
so far away–  What did we say
those days? Just know I called each day
and you would listen–I say, hear.
I miss you in the buzz of silence,
where listening is silenced; I can’t hear
your ear, your soft soft ear, in this silence.

A reading of the poem, which may be interesting due to the breaks. – (Note that it does not have the full title.)
This is a poem posted for Kerry O’Connor’s “mini” challenge on With Real Toads to write a poem in the form of Yeats’ “He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven” – (check it out on With Real Toads.)  The Yeats’ poem (a wonder) uses interlocking repeated words and rhymes. 
I found this very challenging.  My poem  uses a bit more rhyme and repetition (just to make sure I got it all), which probably makes it way too sing-songy.  But I enjoyed the challenge nonetheless.   Thanks, Kerry!   
I am also linking this post to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.   Pearl (my dog) and I are currently working on Nanowrimo so couldn’t get a new poem up today.