You Never Know, and More…
– Poetry by Janice Falls –
You Never Know
Stepping out of autumn-chilled water,
sun still warming my bare skin,
I glance back at the lake wondering,
will this be my last swim of the season?
I cut the last generous rose of summer
to bring into my kitchen where I can
continue to drink its rich scent.
How much longer will it last?
Once, waving goodbye to my parents,
already in their eighties, their happy faces
turned toward me, I asked myself,
Will I see them together again?
As my friend was dying, it suddenly
struck me, Jean’s never going to hear
the loons’ wavering cry again.
Now I ask myself, will I?
Advice to My Younger Self
Listen to me, my dear.
This is important.
When you get up in the morning
you must take your heart in your two hands,
hold it tenderly,
speak to it with careful attention,
listen to what it whispers for only your ears.
This you must do no matter the weather,
your mood, your plans and all that will be
Your heart will want to contract at times
like an anemone disturbed.
Let it stay open.
Let it break as it will.
Tend its wounds with care knowing it can heal
and be stronger at the broken places.
It needs your kind attention;
no one else can do this for you.
Teach this vulnerable core of your being
that you will care for it always
as you would a newborn.
You must do this every single day.
Surprised by Death
I’ve put death to one side,
something to think about later.
I assume each morning
when my feet touch the floor
that I will return to my bed later, or,
falling asleep that I will wake again.
And then my friend of forty years
unexpectedly dies one morning.
Here then, my small prayer:
let me be amazed by the shock to my
tongue of fresh lime, by the bright red
of the bee balm, by my husband’s dear
aging face on the pillow beside me.
Let me be astonished every day
that we are all still here until we are not.
About the Author – Janice Falls
Janice Falls is a semi-retired psychotherapist in Ottawa, Ontario who enjoys her work too much to give it up.
Poetry has been woven into her life-long love of words. Writing poems is her way of giving expression to the ineffable.
She also posts some of her favourite poets at https://janicefalls.wordpress.com/
Her work has appeared in the Canadian anthology Memory and Loss; the online collection Beginning Again, creative responses to Poetry of Presence; and in Send My Roots Rain, a Companion on the Grief Journey.
Did you like these poems by Janice Falls? Then you might also like:
The Body as Poem
Metaplasia and other poems
This is What Death Does
Things I’ve Learned on the Road
Dog Men (A Prison Story)
We grew up on fear and became heroes
Mud Season, Graceless & Violet Abandon
The damsel in distress was not for me
In the Blink of an Eye, Risk Taking, Afterfall
In Time I’ll Thank Shamon
The Space I Take
The Worst Drunk Poem I’ve Ever Written
Or, consider the following:
To check out all the poetry available on Dreamers, visit our poetry section.
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