Saturday, July 2, 2011

Francis' words for the title

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Tomorrow - July 3, is the 1 ½ year anniversary of Francis’ death, the date last year, when I wrote “It’s Six Months Ago Today.” I think that’s why, during my daily walk to the cemetery just now, I got the idea of writing again.

You’re likely to think the subject of this email – “Francis’ words for the title” - refers to Francis' story and mine which I told you in my last entry 4 1/2 months ago I was writing.

But my writing partner's mother got seriously ill, and I was more absorbed in the poems that kept coming, and still come, though at a slower pace. So, after six productive meetings during which I did get started on writing our “story,” - to make a long story short, a poetry editor's article in the Mar Apr issue of Poets & Writers led to my getting from April Ossmann, a professional assessment of my poems. Her encouragement and “grading” as “strong,” “medium,” (& the default “weak”) led to the decision to write, not one, but two books – first a poetry collection, and then, our story.

Second result: By now I’m deeply engaged, with the help of a published poet from Washington state, Mike O’Connor (bio & photo there with more to come) who has become my Reader/Copy Editor, in “digging deeper,” as April advised, to revise the “medium” poems. It’s very engrossing, healing, work.

No need to look for a publisher. Our friend David Gawlik's “Caritas Communications” will publish the poetry collection first, and when it's ready - our story. David, like Francis was, is also a married priest as well as a photographer (extraordinaire,) and longtime editor of CORPUS Reports. Even though he lives in Wisconsin, and we saw him only twice a year, he became Francis’ and my dear friend since we started attending annual national CORPUS Conferences in 1990, - and Francis began attending them even in the late 80’s!

My energy has been so wrapped up in this writing - in addition to teaching a yoga class, and babysitting our godchild Rowan weekly, along with other things and gathering with friends – and now the necessary and enjoyable though time-consuming gardening, (not to mention caring for our sweet chickens!) – I have been jealously protecting time to write.

By the way, - Francis’ words for the title are:

Sing To Me And I Will Hear You The Poems

Here below are a few of them:


You Gave Me No Clue January 17, 2011

I’d encounter you

at the annual King celebration *

I wasn’t in grief

- How could I be?

You came to accompany me!

You weren’t left out,

I found that out:

Surrounded at table by friends

who met yearly for this –

between speakers, awards

and the dinner itself –

I sensed in my gladness and laughter

a joy too expansive,

too deep to have come from me


No - I knew it was you

enjoying our friends

by living my life with me.

*Martin Luther King NAACP Dinner

Whoever Heard June 10/15, 2011

a more loving request

of his wife by a dying man

– to accompany you

by singing alone

our love-vow chant

as you passed?

Oh my love, not “request”

but your gift to me.

Whoever heard

an answer like this

when the hospice nurse asked you

"What's holding you back?"

"It's the joy," you said.

Oh Francis, this joy

in our love beyond death

holds me here daily in prayer.

Nothing Can Fill June 19, 2011

this gargantuan gaping

hole of my loss -

except this:

my relief at sparing you

a widower's pain.