Tag: Veterans

Memorial Day – To Acknowledge and Listen


I’ve been thinking, on this cool grey morning with a hint of rose along the horizon, what I might have to say this Memorial Day.  I thought of how much it means when we listen to one another, even when we cannot understand.  Listening is a huge gift.

Then the word “acknowledge” came to mind.  I was interested to read its definition in the dictionary, so I did a Google search.  The first definition on the screen said, “Accept or admit the existence or truth of.”

That is huge.

Once a dear person I know who served in Vietnam called me, after years of silence, to share a little about his experience.  He had read my poetry about the chronic illness and grief I had experienced, and he felt I would understand.  I am still so honored.  For me, this is what poetry is mostly about: healing.  I also love the beauty of language.

I think sometimes we are afraid of saying something “wrong” when really the person who is hurting is so helped by a simple acknowledgment.  A kind word.  Otherwise, the person in pain feels even more isolated.  Also, if we have failed in the past, we can simply say, “I’m sorry.”  We are all human.  I think people know when our hearts are in the right place.

One thing I loved about my mother was (is) her sense of humor.   Now that I am 59, sometimes I have experiences with someone younger who knows so much more than me.  I love this, and this is as it should be.  One day, after an experience in a store, I thought of myself with my mother sometimes, when I was young, and I started laughing as I walked to the back door.  No one was around and I said, “Oh, Mother, I’m sorry!”  I’ve been to family funerals where there was so much laughter with the tears – everyone telling their stories.

It’s a great Mystery, but conversations continue . . . as we acknowledge and listen.

Love and blessings,



The “fruit blossoms” are courtesy of antiqueclipart.com.

Simple Fall Day

We all know those “haiku moments” when change is here for sure.

Something in us knows we are not going back, but rather forward into a new time.  Perhaps the key to an office is returned, for someone else now.  Or a father’s clothes are given to a veterans’ group; he no longer needs them and would want them used.  We may hear a diagnosis at a doctor’s office.  A poem was accepted by a journal and I danced in the living room. These are old memories now.  How varied and rich life can be and always growing in some small way. A beautiful collage.

There are also the precious everyday moments, like today, when I decide an afghan with blue winter colors, warmer than the one I had by my chair in summer, is the one I need now. Like a child, I still like to be cozy with books all year: my timeless real self.

Mom gave me this deep love of language, and Dad gave me the love of simple everyday life.  Once when I was caring for my mom, I said one of those things that really isn’t helpful!  We had such a deep bond, though, that she understood.  In trying to cheer her up, I said, “Well you don’t have to take a bus home from UWM in the cold tonight.”  And she said, “Oh, but I felt so alive!”  So we tried to bring her old world to her.

pumpkins in the fields
and for sale
Autumn roads

Image: Karen’s Whimsy

Wisconsin Postcard

summer warmth
returns to Wisconsin

corn begins to grow
sweet tiny plants

a dairy cow naps
in sun in a field

a poet tries to paint
the postcard in words

others are painting
their watercolors
drawing birds

taking pictures
writing a novel
weeding and planting
caring for someone
grading papers and teaching
editing and publishing others
writing software code,
music, poems, and essays . . .

(please complete the list
with your art)

honoring and cherishing
a loved one’s memory

Memorial Day

* * *

To Harold Borgh, my father

Carl Borgh, who kept the trains running here at home

Eugene Brandt MD, who served and trained doctors, and then gave his career to a Veterans Hospital in Milwaukee

Paul Brandt, my cousin, who returned from Vietnam and left a conservation legacy in southwestern Wisconsin at his sudden passing at the age of 60

and so many others . . .

We honor you.  We love you.  We pray for peace.  Ellen