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Posts Tagged ‘death’

Haiku for Fall

HAIKU

Brittle umber leaves

       pirouette to the cold ground

              in their dance of death

3/14/90 Phyllis VanVleck

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Tonight is prom night for some of our local schools and, while I wrote this poem about a birthday, it holds even more truth for prom night.  Be safe out there and don’t drink and drive.  No mother ever wants to get that call from the police.

 

     WHY ME, MOM

 

It was his birthday party.

They were first to arrive.

He told his girl he’d promised Mom

He would not drink and drive.

 

So soda was their drink of choice

Just that, and nothing more

And when the party ended

They headed for the door.

 

They climbed into his old blue car

And watched his friends depart.

He noticed some were staggering,

Bringing fear to his sad heart.

 

“I’m glad I listened to you, Mom.”

He whispered ‘neath his breath,

Because my friends are drunk tonight,

And could be facing death.”

 

“I kept my promise to you, Mom.”

He spoke aloud with pride.

Then drove away to meet his fate,

His girlfriend at his side.

 

Then sometime later, on a curve,

He saw a drunken friend.

They met head-on in violence,

Just slightly ‘round the bend.

 

Near the crash, upon the ground,

The injured totaled five.

Someone heard him whisper, “Mom,

I did not drink and drive.”

 

His blood now stains the highway red,

And in his labored breath,

The lad called to his Mother,

That ‘twas HE who now faced death.

 

“Oh, Mom, why am I lying here

In such horrendous pain,

As blood flows freely from my wounds

And mixes with the rain?”

 

“My drunken friend is walking ‘round.

I can’t help wonder why?

And now he’s looking down at me,

Too drunk to even cry.”

  

“Oh no, dear God, it cannot be!

I just heard someone say,

‘This boy is hurt so badly,

He won’t see light of day’!”

 

“Why is it me that dies, Mom?

I’m not the one to blame.

I was not drunken at the wheel,

A good friend wears that shame.”

 

“Come quickly, Mom, I need you,

To kiss before I die.

I kept my promise to you, Mom.

Yet this is my goodbye.”

 

“Write on my stone, Here Lies a boy

Taken in his prime,

By the thoughtless act of a good friend,

Drunk driving just one time.

 

2/27/97       Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

 

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    GOD’S GREAT TAPESTRY

 

My small grandchild came to me

          And leaning up against my knee

Asked, what happens when you die?

          And then, before I gave reply,

 

Why can’t everyone walk, like me?

          Why can’t some people hear or see?

How is it that our God’s the same,

          But religions have a different name?

 

Why do people fuss and fight?

          How come he’s black and I am white?

If I’m happy, why isn’t he?

          Why doesn’t he have as much as me?

 

Hush, Dear Child, and listen here.

      I don’t know it all I fear,

But I will undertake the task

          To answer most of what you ask.

 

I guess it’s hard to understand

          Life’s complexities in our land.

In order to see, you will be wise

          To view with heart, instead of eyes.

 

God made man from dust, you know

          And all men back to dust must go

But death just means this body’s gone.

          Our Soul’s new body will live on.

 

This earth is just a stepping-stone

          On the way to the Heavenly Throne,

And if we follow God’s command

          We’ll all meet in the Promised Land.

 

We’ll pass from earth, to Heaven’s Gate,

          Where such as you need not wait,

For it’s opened wide to let you in,

          And also others cleansed of sin.

 

The Angels sing to welcome you

          Those gone before, join in, too

Happiness shines on every face

          When standing at the Throne Of Grace.

 

We’ll have new bodies, free of pain

          It’s Heaven’s gift that each will gain

I truly hope I’ve made it clear

          That death is not a thing to fear

 

Now for the rest you asked of me

          Please listen very carefully

With open mind and open heart

          And learn from what I may impart

 

Characteristics of humanity

          Compare to a garden’s variety

There’s colorful flowers on display

          And some of each, make a great bouquet

 

The blend appeals because of hue

          And life should be that way, too

Think how dull the world would be

          If all were just like you and me

 

For color of skin, eyes, and hair

          Are just facets of the shell we wear

And underneath, I make this claim

          All of us are just the same

 

You mustn’t let trouble you

          Someone else’s different hue

Judge man for what he is inside

          For prejudice is just false pride

 

You asked about man’s belief

          I’ll tell you this, with much relief

It matters not the given name

          ‘Most everyone’s God is the same

 

To you it may seem rather strange

          But different viewpoints, cause such change

And that is how Faiths saw their birth

          In different areas on this earth

 

Now for your questions on one’s health

          Also those on poverty and wealth

The hurtful side does seem unfair

          Because these things are hard to bear

 

But perhaps it’s God’s ultimate goal

          That this should refine a person’s Soul

And if they rise above their test

          I’m sure that they are truly blessed

 

Now, those who choose to fuss and fight

          Haven’t learned to love just right

They’re filled with anger, and also hate

          But they can change, it’s never too late

 

Though hard it is, to change one’s way

          It should be done without delay

Forgive and forget ills done to you

          And give much love and kindness, too

 

Sometime in our journey of life

          We meet with sorrow and deal with strife

And sadness comes from our dismay

          But just ’til the pain goes away

 

For happiness is a state of mind

          And really not so hard to find

Look Up (not down) – ahead (not back)

          It’s easy, once you get the knack

 

One last word I give, my Dear

          A quote, to help you conquer fear

‘You would not see the rainbow’s hue

          Without the storm that frightened you’

 

Your questions were deep, for one so small

          And I told you, child, I know not all

But I did my best to answer true

          All of the questions troubling you

 

And things that I’ve related here

          Should give you understanding, Dear

It’s been His plan through history . . .

          We’re threads in GOD’S GREAT TAPESTRY

 

 

12/19/99            Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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           DAVID’S BATTLE

 

I was there when you made your entrancedavidcurlonhead-jpg

into this world, your eyes blinking

against the brightness and sensations

of your surroundings.  Your tiny tadpole

belly heaved as you screamed in protest

at this sudden change in your existence,

but ready to take on life

with all its complexities.

I held you in my arms, marveling

at your perfection.  You were my dear

design in life, and filled your space

perfectly.  As I held you close I could

feel the steady beat of your tiny heart

and feel your soft breath upon my cheek.

We bonded, just as life promises,

and I could not conceive of losing you.

Now, forty-eight years later, I hold

your hand as you struggle to stay

in this world.  Barely aware of life

around you.  Wires and tubes keeping

you alive.  A machine giving you the breath

that once came so naturally on its own.

I kiss you for the last time, and I

release you from your promise not to die,

as I watch the line on the monitor

flatten.  I wish that I could take your

place against this insidious Goliath,

but such choices are not ours to make.

I will keep you with me in memory,

where cancer is just an ugly word,

powerless to inflect its indignities

upon those so undeserving.  Powerless

to rob us of those we love.  Fly away

to that wonderful land of promise, Son,

where those you love will someday join

you for a blessed reunion.

Until then, soar among the stars

where the beyond is like our dreams.

 

Ever in my heart … Always in my mind.

I love you, Son.

 

11/90 to 2/93    Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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Destiny

 

So long ago that they were wed.

He brushed away her tears,

as she expressed her fears

of the unknown road just ahead.

He took her trembling hand

and kissed her wedding band,

as she let go of life’s sweet thread.

 

Phyllis De-Witt VanVleck     

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  PAGES FROM A DIARY

 

Today is my sixteenth birthday

He gave me this book and a rose

Then he blushed and gave me a hug

And he kissed the tip of my nose

 

Today I’m eighteen, a woman

I wondered if he would propose

Then he gave me a diamond ring

He’d placed on the stem of a rose

 

Today is the day I’ll marry

And he didn’t forget a rose

It is in my wedding bouquet

With the yellow ribbons and bows

 

Today I gave birth to a son

And he’s perfect from head to toes

He pinned to the baby’s blanket

The most beautiful fragrant rose

 

This is my eightieth birthday           

As always, he gave me a rose

But I doubt there’ll be another

For I feel my life’s near a close

 

               ~ ~ ~

 

She’d be eighty-one today, he wrote

She left me in April, last year

I planted a bush by her headstone

So she’ll always have roses near

 

9/10/90 – Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck

 

3’rd … PAW (in Pa) 1990

2’nd … Indiana NPD 1995

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AND THEN I UNDERSTOOD      

 

She lost her son,

and I was witness

to her anguish

as she wrapped herself

in grief.

I couldn’t help but wonder

if there was an end

to her torment,

as it smothered the spark

that had made

her such a vital person.

Time did see a change,

but she never

got over her loss,

and I failed to understand.

 

Years later

I felt the depth

of her unrelenting pain,

and with it,

came understanding.

I lost my son.

 

2/6/93       Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

 

Won “Distinguished Poet” Award = 7/00

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