Monday, November 14, 2011

Alice, the poem

When I closed my practice in Miami, 17 years ago, and moved to Charlotte, I decided not to work.  I told my husband that I was just going to clean the kitchen floor and eat M&M's.  That didn't go over too well and I ended up working in a Hospice house in the country.  I have seen death and I have seen how the body fights for life itself and loses.  It is difficult.  But, it never is as difficult as watching someone you love decline.  When my mother was dying, her friend Mike wrote this poem for her.  And though she has now rallied, this poem will always touch my heart.  I want to share it with you.

by Michael Ham

Here, in the twilight, she stands in the shadows
and looks back upon the road just traveled.
Limbs, once young and limber, hold her frame with difficulty now-
the clarion voice of youth now mirrors the song of the butterfly.

She was the poet, and now she is the poem-
a story for the reader yet to come.
There is a clarity to her rhyme-a subtlety to her meter-
and in her verse is the story of humanity.

Here in the twilight she awaits the evening,
not in melancholy, but in anticipation.
She does not stand alone, for here-further back in the shadows-
are all the characters who shared her stage-her light.

She was the play write-and she inhabited her play-
a generous actress always ready to share the applause.
When a fellow actor stumbled, she picked him up
and infused him with a desire to be better-for her.

She was the teacher-sharing the song of poetry with the world.
She was the mentor-passing her love of words to youth.
She was the friend-she was always the friend-
showing each fearful soul what courage looks like.

Here in the twilight- as shadows deepen-
she does not hide her eyes from the coming dark-
but sees the dawn of discovery
that rises on the far horizon-and she prepares.

Here in the fading of the day-when meadowlarks serenade-
She sees the faces of all she loved-of all who loved her-
And as that last glimmer of light falls softly on her aging cheeks-
She hears the angels sing; hosanna.

When I asked Michael for permission to print his poem on my blog, he generously said that it was my mother's poem...his gift to her and it was her permission, not his.  Thank you Michael for this wonderful gift.

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