October drizzles a blanket
of soggy leaves in the park
covering burial mounds
next to civil war cannons
Beneath rubber boots
small twigs snap
Sound staying beneath my feet
muffled by foggy mist
A woodpecker’s hammer
breaks apart the clouds

So I sit down
take off fingerless gloves
press my palms against
a warm black molded bench
Pull off my cap
with my hair undone
Look up to absorb the sun
The hat blows off the bench
rolls toward the pond and stops
caught on the edge

There are times I miss
picking up your empties
cleaning your ashtray
You know that plastic
turquoise colored one
I bought for you
when you come to visit the kids
After all we have between us
now is history
It’s where everything is headed

Yesterday keeps untold stories
folding into dreams once real
No person can unsing
a song that once was sung
Lingering one sacred night
below a harvest moon
I watched our windows
from the backyard barefoot
Inner lights shining forth
our children’s laughter

Upper photo Wikimedia Commons by Dietmar Rabich; lower photo in the public domain, attribution not found


18 thoughts on “Narrative

  1. Silvia Lia Leigh, MD says:

    “No person can unsing
    a song that once was sung”
    Dear MaryJo, I so feel you… Your words were encountered, heard and received.. From my heart to yours, peace!

  2. Poignant poem about loss, memories (large and small), and more, Mary Jo. Brilliant line among many brilliant lines: “No person can unsing a song that once was sung.” And that’s a magnificent photo you found to put above the poem.

    • Your comments are always so humbling, Dave. The phrase you single out is a personal tribute and take on the expression of an old friend who is a brilliant, prolific but unpublished poet in her own right. History is composed of uncountable and poignant stories, not just the ‘official’ record handed down to generations. I’ve always loved Dylan’s phrase in the song Chimes of Freedom: “For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale”. Thanks, again.

  3. Dear Mary Jo, This is the 4th time coming to your poem. I read it first last night, just before sleep so that I could embed the sounds of the “woodpeckers hammer” and the “small twigs snap” and feel the warmth of the sun coming through the “foggy mist” in my dreams. These are powerful symbols of Autumn and the poignancy of remembrance and loss. October is a time of recollection, of profound memories drifting “folding into dreams once real” with the sounds of “children’s laughter.” Frances once said, when I was in one of my petulant moods, that words that are spoken take a life of their own – so chose carefully. They reach out and become integrated in another person’s mind and heart. You have reached my heart, Mary Jo. Thank you! Many hugs coming your way with my gratitude.

    • Oh, Rebecca, your words, photos and videos are likewise for me! When these words resonate deeply with someone, it makes my work a gift to myself as well. Thank you very, very much.

  4. This is such a poignant poem of memory and loss and those moments of grace that still remain:

    Lingering one sacred night
    below a harvest moon
    I watched our windows
    from the backyard barefoot
    Inner lights shining forth
    our children’s laughter

  5. I so enjoyed your poem, Mary Jo. Yes, even the small things like emptying ashtrays are embedded in our memories of loved ones. It’s so true that a song once sung can never be unsung. I’m grateful for that too. 🤗

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