Month: April 2018

The Death of a Cardinal

Just last week a neighbor called to ask a favor.  She was at work and received news that her 97 year old mother-in-law, who lives in an assisted living facility, was not doing well and was taken to the hospital with a suspected stroke.  Our neighbor requested that we help with her dog while she rushed to the hospital.  We listened to her instructions as to where the leash was kept, how to coax the dog down the stairs to go outside, and lastly where the reward treats were kept.  Of course we were happy to help our dear neighbor but felt sad for what could be her impending loss.  As we walked next door we stopped in our tracks because laying there on her driveway was a beautiful male cardinal, dead.  He was so beautiful.  Of course his color was striking but to see him laying there, with no outward signs of distress, was quite shocking considering the task at hand.  Was it an omen?  Was it a sign of inevitable passing? All these crazy things went through our minds.  We were worried for our neighbor, her dog and now this.

As it turned out, her mother-in-law improved later that day and there was no evidence of stroke.  She was experiencing some kind of infection so everything turned out well.  So what of the Cardinal? I picked him up and buried him in the garden with a covering of leaves.  I said a word of thanks for his life and felt a sadness come over me.  Who knows what happened to him.  Perhaps he flew into an oncoming car, or just died of old age.  It was hard to tell but it did stir something in me. I began to think about birds in general and how their behavior is so similar to humans.  They mate for life, building a nest to share with their partner.  They raise their family in that nest until the young are ready to spread their wings and fly away. The melancholy feeling stayed with me for several days and I subsequently wrote this poem.  I hope you will understand and enjoy it.

Death of a Cardinal

A flash of scarlet caught my eye
A cardinal had come down from the sky

I wondered how could that be?
He was too old to have fallen from a tree

He lay there with not a sign of breath
So beautiful but clearly this was his death

I found him alone in someone’s driveway
With no visible damage as he peacefully lay

I imagined his mate full of concern
What did she think when he did not return

Do they mourn like us when a loved one is lost?
Save face in front of the babies no matter the cost

These things always go through my mind
Is sorrow just for the likes of mankind?

Birds have partners as humans do
We all breathe and breed and need food too

We love and nurture those we love
So why did this Cardinal come down from above

It made me realize that life is to be treasured
Who dies and why is not to be measured

This beautiful bird was laid in a leafy grave
With my word of thanks for the joy he gave

Christine Bolton

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From a Dark Place

I wrote this poem at a low point in my life when I had experienced emotional pain.  I felt helpless in my situation and was sure my heart was broken irreparably and my head would certainly explode.  When I look back on poems such as this, I am always so taken aback by the darkness of my thoughts and the sheer helplessness that I felt at that time. I eventually got beyond the hurt and was able to live a happy life again, but I find it quite shocking to revisit that state of mind.  Just the act of writing down these feelings has proven to be therapeutic.  It shows me that by letting my words flow onto paper, to describe those emotions and question why, I was able to heal and move on.

I hope these words of mine will somehow resonate with you.

Despair

The darkness came so suddenly
Enveloping me and dragging me into a pit of despair
Blinded and scratching for clarity
Shocked by the swiftness of events, I call to you
You do not hear

You do not listen, you are closed
What is evident is your hurt and anger
As much as I try, you resist me
I want to help and heal your wounds
That were so carelessly inflicted in your past

Dazed and confused
I am lost without you
My love spurned and my efforts rejected
My promise to keep you safe from future pain
Falls on deaf ears

The loss of you is too much to bear
My hurt is deep
Like the slice of a knife through my heart
It will not heal
I did not know how broken you were
And now I know to my detriment

Christine Bolton

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A Painted Pony

A Unique Bond

As a former owner and lover of horses, and understanding the unique bond that is formed between human and animal, discovering this poem many years ago meant so much to me.  It was powerful and mysterious.  It reminded me of the respect which is required in order for the two to work as one.  It also made clear that one does not own the other.

The author is unknown but through a little research I found that it possibly relates to a desert horse in Africa.  However when I read it, it conjures up a vision of a Native American in full warrior dress riding bareback on a painted pony.

I am your equal

I am a wild creature that can never be like you

I have heart, courage, and the game spirit that is my heritage

And I will be respected

I will be taught, and I will please, And maybe in time I will be your intimate

But I will never be your possession

Mine is a fierce love, which knows no mercy for failure

No sympathy for weakness

I have come from the desert with its closeness to the spirit of nature

Which you do not understand

I was born of the Wind

Mine is a warrior spirit

I cannot be humiliated in

punishment or defeated even in death

For my spirit lives on in my children’s children

Unknown

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My Reality Check

Travel Is Good For The Soul

I can’t believe it has been a month since my last (first) blog!  I had the good fortune to travel to Switzerland and Italy and remember what it is like to be European.  Having lived in the USA for half of my life I am sometimes confused internally where I actually hail from.  I usually know the moment I arrive as it feels as if someone has taken my hand and said “welcome home”.  It’s like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes or running into an old friend. I feel grounded.

The cleanliness of Switzerland and the efficiency of its people reminded me of their sensibility.  A time and place for everything, courtesy is given and expected in return, attention is paid to how one dresses and subsequently perceived.   It is proper and civilized and a reminder of how things used to be.

Italy was like being welcomed home by your mother.  Warm and wonderful with no shortage of good food!  A healthy respect for family and heritage. If I feel starved of culture living in Florida, then a visit to this little country possessing more World Heritage Sites than any other, certainly took care of that for me!

So why am I sharing this with you?  This trip touched my heart and soul and in a strange way it brought me peace.  Sometimes our heads are so full of our responsibilities that we feel that we might just explode.  No matter how busy we are, how big our workload, how little time we have to just be ourselves, how hurt we can feel at low points in our lives, it is knowing that there are options to help our healing.   There is only so much we can do for others and because we are stretched we forget to take care of ourselves. Taking a walk to blow off the cobwebs, even if it’s in the rain. Visiting a museum or gallery and appreciating a piece of artwork. Observing other families and how they interact with each other. All of these suggestions work for me but one of my favorites is to pick up a journal or notebook and begin writing. It is portable and it is something that can go with you anywhere. 

Our words are our power and the written word gives us the ability to heal ourselves from within. It is an outlet for frustrations and fears and a platform for our feelings.  Just by going through the motions of laying it out on paper we are opening our minds to possible answers.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Until the next time …

Christine Bolton

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Poem of the Month – April

Paradise

Like a precocious lover
You are drawn In
By its beauty
You are hypnotized
By the power and elegance
Of this place
Which is a metaphor of your life
It is your hopes and dreams
What you live for
It is your desire
To be happy and in love
In this beautiful place but is not to be
Because this lover will
Squash you and stomp on you
It will leave you breathless
And gasping for air before it moves on
To its next love
You are insignificant
In paradise

Christine Bolton

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