Monday, December 29, 2008

The Monday Poetry Train: Never and Always

I wrote this a couple years ago for one of my students who was dying of cancer. Unfortunately, Jacqui slipped into a coma before getting to read it and died a few days later. I gave it to her parents.
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Never and Always

You could concentrate
on all the nevers,
like you’ll never get married,
have children,
get wrinkles,
go to Europe,
own a home.

You could think about
those things, those nevers
but they are sponges
soaking up time.

The vase of your life
is almost out of water
so while you’re still
blooming
think about always.

How you’ll always be young
in your parents’ eyes:
soft pussywillows
that last forever.

You’ll always be the person
who taught me courage;
I am humbled by your bravery.
I’d like to let my hair go gray
but worry about what
the kids would say,
then I think of you,
statuesque in your baldness.

You’ll always be the person
who pops into my mind
when I think of conscientious
students.
Even when you had to have
an operation, you got all
your assignments completed.
I compare you to another kid
in our class who didn’t
even have an excuse
for never doing his work.

Always is the moon
rising fat and yellow
month after month.

Always is you,
someone to count on
to rise to the occasion.

Some people in eighty years
don’t have as much effect
on others
as you have had on me.

Thank you for being always.

16 comments:

John Tran said...

Wow... this is so powerfully touching.

cyclopseven said...

Encouraging piece.

Giggles said...

Heart rendering,extremely moving.
Wish her parents could read what you wrote!

Hugs Giggles

Raven said...

Just beautiful!

artpredator said...

this is a lovely, moving piece, specific and universal

were you able to share this with her friends and family? have you shared this with your students? i hope so...

i know the death of my nephew's father has had a huge impact on him--and he's still sorting through everything that's been thrown up in the air and landed very which way

paisley said...

i hope you passed it on to her parents,, as i am sure they shared many of the same delightful memories and idealism's about her as you did...

Julia Smith said...

I agree with Artpredator - the poem's specifics make it universal.

Today is my dad's birthday, and he died of cancer almost two years ago. Though this poem is written to a younger person, it was a perfect poem for me to find today.

'Some people in eighty years
don’t have as much effect
on others
as you have had on me.

Thank you for being always.'

A perfect thing for my dad, as well. Lovely.

lissa said...

bittersweet, wonderful poem to reflect all the sweetness of Jacqui

gautami tripathy said...

LInda, this is sad but wonderful. As a teacher I do know how it feels when one of our pupil passes away.

Your post moved me to tears. And that's saying something, you know.

mgirl said...

This is so touching it brought tears to my eyes. Even if she wasn't able to read it I'm sure she must have known how you felt about her. Beautiful tribute to a exceptional person, thank you for sharing it with us.

angie said...

That's beautiful, Linda.
To be someone's "always..."

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Amazing! This leaves me speechless.

sister AE said...

Thanks for sharing this, Linda. It is very touching and yet universal.

Asma Ahsan said...

Being around a dying person is a very powerful experience - It teaches you to value what you have in life and cherish it.

Thanks for coming over to my pages.

:)

gel said...

"think about the always"
Linda, this is so touching. I'm sure her parents cherish it and their daughter cherished you.

nairobi said...

Hey this is so touching...
its a great emotional experience to be with someone in their last days...
m sure this poem must have meant a lot to his parents..
good work there!

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