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Excerpt for Silhouettes by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



Silhouettes

By Samantha Lee Terrell

2019



“Silhouettes” is dedicated to my whole family, but especially my husband, the biggest supporter of my poetry, the love of my life, and who also took the beautiful cover photo I selected for this chapbook. Thank you Josh~







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Bookends


I’m still

Filling

Notebook pages,

Telling

My story

Best I can, for posterity, or the ages.

Time for a break

To unpack

A few boxes

Stashed

In the guestroom

Closet.


I find old letters, photos,

Mementoes;

Items

I chose

To participate

In life’s forward momentum.


Here, a shirt of my father’s

Hangs

Waiting for someone

To grow into; our babies’

Outgrown things crowd the other side

Of this space, borrowed from


Future guests, with whom

We’ll tell stories,

Discuss children,

Priorities,

Parents:

Bookends.













Breathing Room


Take a wide berth

Being watchful, careful

Make a concerted

Effort


Using caution, alert and aware

Gently, gingerly, be purposeful and prepared

Giving and taking,

Healing and breaking,


In the wake

Of waiting,

Docking far

Enough, but near.














Unlocking the Spirit

The body's a vessel
For a spirit too big.
Precious moments turn into
Important messages which the
Mind comprehends, though
Body and words
Fail to fulfill them.
He describes tall trees,
A forest, open and lush and green,
Alongside which is a path
Untaken? Perhaps, not yet;
Though seen
Through panels that opened
Before slits of eyes
Barely seeing,
Yet seeing
Better than ever before.
He said he once
Wanted to write
A children's book,
"It's Hard to Lock Yourself Up."













Homecoming


Because he was, he is.

Because he knew, we know

Of clouds and sunshine

In cornfields vast,

And ice-covered ponds

In his Iowa past.


“The Parson,” I’m told,

Means “the person”

He was: father-figure,

Mentor, friend,

Whose love,

Once-bestowed, knows no true end,


Filling empty gaps with

“Challenges and surprises”

Our Parson mentioned in his final spoken prayer;

Like swollen banks of Midwestern creeks;

Or the full moon which rose as he

Entered eternal sleep.


Because his heart

Grew too large,

Ours too,

May grow

To understand the homecoming

That occurs in the act of letting go.












Thank You


Thank you for the lesson, the gift

You finally could

Teach.

The only one you couldn’t preach

In life, but one which you would

Demonstrate

In death--

That there’s so much more than

We can grasp.

It’s surprising even to those of us


Who claim to believe

That there’s

A great beyond

That we have heard of

And now we know exists;

That we are not alone,

But surrounded.

We are blessed

Not because we can look in a mirror and beautifully be,

But because in our blindness we can by grace, see.













There’s a Saying, “Live, Laugh, Love”


It’s been five weeks

Since we buried you

Deep

In our hearts. Though, your urn sits capably,

Stronger than us, on the side-table


Alongside familiar

Newspaper clippings,

No longer comic strips

You regularly

Shared with a chuckle, but obituaries


Gathered up,

Like your spirit into the throng.

Dissimilarly, it’s physical, carbon-printing on thin paper

we can yet touch,

Coming from news circuits across the country,

Announcing your death; your birth into loving eternity.













Lassoing the Moon


Suitors often say, or so I’m told,

They’ll ‘lasso the moon’

To win the favor

Of their love, make her

Swoon.


Now, as every full moon passes—

And, brighter, bigger,

Each? Her favor long-since won,

Love made, and his earthly-life done,

A widow is left to her solitary vigor


For continued life and new horizons,

Which birth more full moons,

A parting gift to his true love, bestowed earnestly,

As if to say—at least, in the scope of eternity—

Not ‘good-bye,’ but ‘see you soon.’












Mending Things


I found my toolbox today.

It’s great for fixing things.

My dad gave it to me

When I was sixteen.


It wasn’t trendy pink, like some I saw marketed to fathers

Who believe in stereotypes, to give to their unwitting daughters;

Maybe to sweeten the pain of sore thumbs

Struck


By hammers in unfamiliar hands. Now though, I’m 40 and grateful

For its dark gray, utilitarian look. It looks like a toolbox should look.

I was reflecting earlier in the day

About a comment Dad had made


The week he died;

We were supposed to remind

My uncle to ‘fix that fence.’ Presently, I wonder if he meant

Our uncle should let bygones be bygones. Mending is important.


Toolkits are necessary.

They needn’t be pink.













Forty Years in the Garden


Having been born

Forty years after your own birth,

You presumably received

A surprise in the news that

I was to be.


Yet forty more years

Was never enough

To preclude

The quiet confidence you did,

Often, exude.


Now, I’ve had surprises of my own.

Through parenting,

I became we.

Through we, I became

A stronger me.


And, forty years was said to be

A significant length of time

That the Israelites wandered;

One of many lessons

You taught us to ponder.


Forty years was not enough

To thank you for your guidance

Or, receive it; To enjoy our time;

Or tell you my tomatoes currently

Ripen on the vine.


But without choosing,

When you became forty,

We said hello.

And without choosing, when I became forty, we said goodbye.

So as for this year’s garden? Perhaps you already know.













That Mournful Place


Grief is a privilege reserved

For the rich

With time,

While those forced

To bury their dead in haste

Would likely

Rather have hours to waste,


And the ones who don’t get their

Adequate chance

To say good-bye,

Must search even harder

To find the reprieve

Offered by this solemn gift:

To grieve.


But when faced

With the

Soul’s utter

Distaste

For loss, a mourner

Still mourns, whether the time on the clock is the size of

A spacious room, or merely a heart’s small corner.














Clear Consciences


Death

Is a great

Analogy

For birth,

As loss is analogous

To gain, but the

Conscience


Doesn’t

Like

To give

Up credit

Free and clear;

Attempting to trap

The mind in a cycle of fear


And woe.

Unless the spirit

Can relinquish

Control,

Finding, instead,

Peace

For heart and head.













The King and His Servant


Nine months gone by
Since your heart grew still;
The time it takes for a womb to fill,

Or our souls to heal,
To some extent.
Now, we’ve reached a new season of Advent.

With anticipation
All around,
Bells making their familiar sound,

We must let go,
As we draw near
To Christ the King; “Come, Faithful, hear!”

With this Sabbath’s name,
We mark one more ‘last,’
Your final church service, this Christmas-past.

And, with lives
Forever enriched by you,
We reluctantly find it’s time, to try to begin anew.













Pallbearers


When carrying the

Heavy weight of burdensome woes

Smaller strides are necessary;

Heel-to-toes, heel-to-toes…


And yet, the sharing of an

Angst-filled load

Makes possible, what one

Could never bear alone.














Step Back To Gain Perspective


There’s guilt in the mere

Overcast idea

That an ending can be anything

Other than an ending.


But graves look better at a distance.

From up close,

They are painfully raw piles of loose

Dirt and knotted up, incensed roots


That need detangling.

And the healing

Waves of grass blowing in wind

Have long yet to grow over again.

 

Then, almost too soon, shudders

Of rumbling thunder

Bring the rain, predictably followed by sunshine,

Until it’s conceivable that with time,

 

From the once more solid ground,

Another viewpoint might be found.

And despite the pain that’s gradually abating,

A new beginning may indeed be waiting.













Between the Longings


Here,

We have watered

This earth with

Our soul’s tears


Shed for loved ones, interred;

And wept, for unfulfilled

Longings of our spirits,

Habitually stirred.


There,

Offers no promise of

Freedom

From life’s despairs,


No guarantee

Of satisfaction,

Success or

Prosperity.


But, in between,

We yearn

For hope,

As yet, unseen.














A Tottering Solace


A hare must

By needs, feel secure

If preening it is

To, cautiously, endure.

Mere contentment and solace

Will not sustain

The self-care

It should like to entertain.


Thus, rare is the gift

To stop for awhile

As witness to the habits

Of a creature so docile.

Before striking its anxious nerve,

Be still, and quietly observe.













Winter Confrontations


Upon frozen fields,

My eyes, too, freeze,

Surprised to find a passer-by

Who's me.


The answers to all the world's questions

Seem slightly beyond vision;

As clear and as blurry as

A beautiful illusion,


Waiting there,

In more than the seeing.

But there, just, there amongst the stillness

Is hearing, in lack of noise; breathing


Crispness of cold air in the lungs, and

Somehow also, peace in the soul; feeling

Connection to frost-covered everything through

Crackling grass, under my proud feet.













Theory of Relativity


Blurred vision

That is so very focused

Misses nothing,

Sees little.


So, we are rich,

Yet poor;

Well fed,

Yet we hunger.


Becoming who we

Will be,

We are

Only even as we are not.













Role Models


He walked among

Sinners, and was crucified

With thugs.

She worshipped with High

Priests, and ministered to low-lifes.


Role models inspire a yearning for great events,

But reality

Demands attention to the present tense,

No matter how mundane.

The counter-intuitive requirement to achieve notable things,

is simply, unpretentiously, maintain.













Calisthenics


In a world

Accustomed to

Constant change,


Going through

The motions can

Invoke claustrophobia


Causing aching for

Expression, instead of

Everything same.


And, it’s stifling when

Attempts at breaking stride

Are met with disdain.


But there is

Comfort too

In calisthenics which,


In a world

Accustomed to

Constant change,


Prescribe a

Need for

Something same.














Hands of Service


Our hands define us.

Leathery,
World-worn,
Masculine.

Newborn,
Helpless,
Precious.

Upper-class,
Manicured,
Privileged.

Lower-class,
Over-worked,
Under-served.

Elderly,
Arthritic,
Delicate.

And, all fingerprints are unique.
But all hands inside work gloves, are equals.













Right Motives


Because we can

Make ourselves comfortable among those who

Hate, despise, use;


Because we can

Stand proud and strong,

Even when life's trials seem long;


Because we can

Stand against injustices and set examples of peace

At the table spread for us amongst our enemies,


Are we obliged to?

And, to what end?

Or, does 'because we can' tempt us to pretend


That we’re “making a difference;”

“Finding solutions;”

Rising above societal pollution?


Because we can

Make the haters, users, despisers,

Uncomfortable; make their greed a little harder


To achieve. Because we can

Combat against life's

Shared trials;


Because we can

Stand up for justice

And against discord…we must.














Tipping the Unlighted Candle


To participate in passing of

A flame,

The unlighted one

Must lean

Towards

The source,


Which cannot

Of itself tilt in too far,

Creating victims, with

Rather than a glowing gift, a burning scar.

We must, therefore, bring ourselves towards a fire’s heat

Lest we become the cold, embittered who fail to seek.



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