Tag Archives: poetry

In the Glow

When my girls were little, I would lay down with them at bedtime, helping to soothe fears and calm hearts as they drifted off to sleep. Back then, I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d continue this nighttime ritual, even as their bodies grew so big that I could barely fit in the bed next to them!

There are probably dishes in the sink, dogs that need to go out, school papers to sign, maybe laundry to put in the dryer before bed. But I think about my nephew, who was 4 lbs at birth and I was scared he might break when I held him… He’s now 6’3″. I think about how quickly it went for my sister — from diapers and dolls and trucks to calculus and college and suitcases. So I go with them at bedtime; every night I press the pause button on this impossibly inevitable growing up, for just a little while.

Now it’s more of a sitting together, for a few minutes as sheets get straightened and stuffed animals gathered. But these moments are as sacred as ever. Questions, thoughts, or stories that had been reluctant or set aside bubble up to the surface, and I get to witness this offering, to serve as a touchstone for my girls as they close their day.

And when we turn off the lights and say goodnight in the warm peachy glow of the night light (or salt lamp), I get to travel back in time. In those still moments just before sleep, time isn’t real. There’s only drowsy eyes, golden strands of hair like a soft halo on the pillow,  and breath. There’s only being here. That’s all there is.

Below is a poem I wrote for a poetry prompt from Tweetspeak Poetry with the theme “Quiet as Velvet.” I was thrilled when they chose to feature my poem on their website! This is written from the perspective of that time when the girls were little… or maybe it’s  from that dreamlike perspective of no-time.

In the Glow

By the night-light glow
I see you holding the hem
Of the pink velvet dress
Worn by your lovey-doll

I watch, quiet,
as you slide the velvet
Along your rosebud mouth
And your apricot chin

The way you do
When sleep tugs
at your faded daisy pajama shirt
And your sparkle-eyes grow soft

Your breath hushes
like a bamboo rustle
The deeper, sleeping breath
My own breath slows

The velvet just resting now
Between your finger and thumb
I imagine you bring this softness
Into your dreams

I could quietly slide from your bed
But instead I stay
In the glow
and listen

This is all it is
This is everything


Happy Mother’s Day!

Dappled Things

Glory be to God for dappled things—
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
      And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
     With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                    Praise Him.

— “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

I love these autumn walks with Remi. Seeing her in her spotted glory against the blanket of peach and yellow leaves reminds me of this poem. I love it for the word-play, for the gratitude it so lovingly paints, and because I am also a lover of the contrasting beauty of “dappled things.”

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Enjoy the dappled things, the things strange, fickle, sour and sweet that tend to come along with holiday gatherings. Extra love to all of us whose table will be missing a loved one this year.

Easy to be grateful for things adazzle. Harder for things dim. May we find the past-change beauty in it all.