Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Poems

I don’t know what it is about winter that inspires the poet in me but it does. Maybe it’s being able to see through uncluttered bare branches, to see what I didn’t notice during the distraction of Fall. Anyway I am just grateful for the gift of another poem.

Winter Whine

This is not your gentle January.
This month means business.
Freeze drying the brain
Shoving shiv ‘ring bones within
To seek refuge nigh
Desiccating hearth,
There to brood on shortened days
To cry dry tears for dead dreams
And look back in anguish.

Or perhaps, January says “go out”.
Sip in the icy breath of life.
Dance merrily on the slippery way.
Dare to fall and rise again.
And look ahead in awe.

© E.M. Ramos 1/8/2010

The next poem was inspired by my dear friend Mary, 95 years young, who says that she seems to be sleeping most of the day. I have long connected late life with winter. And so ….

Winter Waiting

Winter time’s for sleeping.
That’s just the way it is.
All the world appears dead,
Draped in dried, drab reminders
Of Autumn’s harvest.

Yet just below the surface
Life lies in quiet repose.
Renewing energy
Dreaming of Spring
Hoping for rebirth.

© E.M. Ramos 1/17/2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Memories of Dad #2

Here’s some very early ones. The story of my naming. During my Mom’s first pregnancy, they made a trip to my Dad’s hometown of Erie, PA and visited his 8th grade teacher, Sister Mary Eleanora. They told her that they were hoping for a boy, but if they had a girl, they would name the baby after her. And Sr. Eleanora replied: “I’ll pray it’s a boy, but I hope it’s a girl!”

I was the youngest in my class when I started kindergarten at St. B.’s school. In those days, Catholic schools had 2 graduating classes a year - January and June. I was slated to stay in kindergarten another 6 months because I was so young. Dad (kiddingly?) remarked one night: “Tell your teacher to put you in 1st grade or else!” And of course, I told her what my Dad said. When I was promoted to 1st grade in January, I was convinced it was because of Dad’s “threat”.

Dad would wake me up early in the morning for fishing trips, carry me asleep to the car. It seemed like we drove hours to the lake, listening to 40’s music on the radio, songs that warm my heart to this day. I loved baking in the sun, sitting in the row boat, waiting for a nibble, and watching the dragon flies dance romantically on the tip of my rod. Or just be mesmerized by the sun reflected in the water’s ripples. Dad taught me to appreciate silence. And his greatest gift to us: a deep love of nature.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Remembering Dad

As I said in my last blog, I am extending my celebration of my father over the next several weeks and months. Here's installment #1.

My fondest memory is Dad coming to our rescue in an upstate lake. How old was I? 9? 10? 11? I swam out with my sister, Kathy behind me and found I couldn't touch bottom. She grabbed on to me - I knew how to swim and she did not. But I could not move with her hanging on. The bathers on shore just looked and made no motion to come to our aid. But Dad saw what was happening, kicked off his shoes, and came out, clothes and all, pipe in his mouth, to save his girls. I will never never forget the expression on his face as long as I live. My savior! It gives me great hope for any other trouble I will face the rest of my days. Kathy remembers Dad drying out his money after the rescue. I remember that he changed into his bathing suit and wanted us to have a swim lesson. Kathy did. But I wouldn't go near the water for quite some time. Hmmmm...