Henry Fonda Tea Rose

Henry Fonda Tea Rose
My Special Rose

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Love Stuff

Perhaps Valentine's Day has just been dreamed up to put a lot of money in the coffers of the Greeting Card companies, but, with all the gloom and doom news we keep hearing, it IS kind of nice to take even one day to celebrate love. One way or another, every human being needs and wants love, and even when we lose in the game, the Bard says, "It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."

After my mother became a widow for the 2nd time, I was comforting her to the best of my ability, and she said something that has really stayed with me: "Not only do you grieve for them, you suddenly realize you're not number one with anyone anymore." She went on with her life, of course, and had lots of love from her children, siblings and extended family, but I knew none of us could give her that special love she missed. That wonderful, mysterious, thing called love between two people that can be immortal, or, sadly, sometimes disappear like a vapor.

Here is a poem I gave to my husband on our 47th anniversary. Almost 10 years later, it still seems to say how much I value being number one with him:

Anniversary Song

We've kept our promises, spoken
or unspoken
in the language life mates adopt.
As birds who commit to mate and nest,
and wait patiently for cheep and sign
to reveal again the reason
for promises made and kept.

And, old love, tried and true, is
our fountain of youth, allowing
love filtered eyes to rest gently,
seeing else but the half that fits
perfectly to each separate,
incomplete soul.

Now, when bluebird calls his mate
in tones soft and scarely heard,
I think of you, my love, and promises
you've whispered to my heart,
and, you must hear my heart's reply:
"You are my life, as long as I live."


Friday, February 6, 2009

Three Little Words

It occurred to me as I was enjoying an eggplant sandwich today, that words can be compared to eggplants. You either love them, or you get along nicely with as little of them as possible. For instance, I find it very difficult to simply write, "Love Carole"on any sort of greeting card. If I begin to just add a little note, I start out writing normally, then seeing I'm running out of room, begin making my words smaller and smaller, and usually end up writing up and down and around the edges and on the back. When my youngest daughter was in elementary school, she told me one day how she hated to take the "excuse" notes I wrote to school. She said her teacher always put mine last. I fixed that teacher. The next one said, "She weren't there. She were sick." Let her think what she would.

My best friend, Ginny, solved her Christmas card problem. (I don't think she likes eggplant) She orders cards early and has the family name printed below the greeting. She doesn't even initial them. She hands them off to her attorney husband, who hands them off to his secretary, and she runs them through the office postage meter. Done! However, Ginny has kept every little note or poem I have sent her over the many years of our friendship. She does put little three-word messages on my birthday cards: "I miss you" or "I love you". They certainly suffice.

Then, on the way home from Gainesville last week, my husband and I were chatting happily; going slow in the traffic around Cleveland. I remember we were enjoying a debate about whether sour cream cake donuts were superior to glazed raised donuts. My eyes came to rest on a torn cardboard sign nailed to a creosote fence post. Three little words and a phone number were scrawled there in dark pencil: "I Need Work". They spoke volumes. I have grieved for that man and felt utter frustration ever since. I know he is just one of so many that are in this terrible situation. I keep thinking that this person probably has children, and how much those kids would enjoy a bagful of donuts--most any kind.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The House of Cards

Several weeks ago, I mentioned a poem I had written about 4 years ago. There was a very small old house just off Hwy 129N that had so much character. I didn't know it had an occupant until one Spring day I saw this bent over little woman watering her front porch plants. She was quite old, and wore the old fashioned sun bonnet and apron so typical of mountain women. I was inspired to put something down on paper to remember the woman, and the little house she lived in. I'm so glad I did, because she died less than a year later. The little house was pushed down and removed. It was replaced with a vinyl sided mobile home. Nothing to write about there!
This poem was published in A Sense of Place, New South Poetry Chapbook.


There is a tiny house that sits askew
in silent patience, holding out, holding on.
Winter paints ugliness on its bleak, leaning timbers,
no smoke curl charms the view or adds warmth;
I wonder how it can stand.

Inside, a very old woman waits, rocking
to a song with no words or music, remembering.
Neither joyful or sad, she numbly endures
the repetition of years and seasons.

If she lives till Spring, she will emerge
one day, much like her tulips, urged by the warmth.
Her gnarled hands will bring out rusty coffee cans,
watering every living thing, tearing away dry vines,
exposing new shoots to sun and rain.

She will be about her garden till Autumn frosts
shrivel the blossoms, and chill her ancient bones.
Then, she will shut the door of her tiny fortress,
remaining unseen, like the tubers now sleeping
in her garden, caring little for passing strangers
who gape and wonder how the little house still stands.

Carole R. Thompson