My grandmother’s memorial service is being held Thursday. All day, I’ve been working on creating a poem to read at her service. My mother would like each family member to take part in the service in some way…some are singing songs, playing guitar, reading her life story, etc.
I loved my grandmother. She had quite a life story. There are a million memories that I could stand up there and talk about. Yet, nothing seemed quite right. Nothing seemed to do her justice.
So, instead, I have decided to read a poem written by someone else. My aunt Debby died before I was born, back when my mom was about 13 years old. She was a poet, a writer, a beauty queen. She was beautiful. I have grown up reading bits and pieces of her writing, and I knew she had a gift even before I began writing myself. I’d like to think we shared this, that perhaps I got this personality trait from her – as no one else in either side of my family writes.
My grandmother had an accordion folder full of my aunt’s notebooks and school papers. Is struck a deep cord in my heart, that she kept them all those years, when she kept such little else in her home from the children’s childhood. They meant something to her. Mom pointed out a poem entitled “Death” to me last week and she and my aunt briefly discussed someone reading it that the service.
After being unable to come up with something myself, I asked my mother if it would be okay if I read that poem. I think that if my aunt were still alive, she would have wanted to read it herself. So perhaps this will be my contribution to the service – acknowledging my aunt, my grandmother, and the memories that she fostered deep in her heart of my aunt. I know my grandmother would approve.
by Debby Cisko
I picked a rose this afternoon. It was in my garden. The sun was shining down on the rose. Nourishing it. And at the same moment a soft shower of rain fell upon the earth. The whole earth. It was red.
The rose was ruby red. Soft. Deliberate. The rose was of blood. Ruby blood. Deep red ruby. Warm like blood. The rose was of life. Deep, rich life. The stem was of earth. Green, vibrant earth.
Now the rose is in my hand. My deep dark hand. Full of life. Vibrant. Full of warmth. My blood is red. Ruby red. My rose too is ruby.
My blood is in my hand. My rose is in my hand. Now I have to run against the wind. The strong steady wind. And splash my blood upon the universe. And throw my flowers to the flower children. For they speak of love.
And when I am drained of my blood I will die. But as I am dying, I will sing. A slow, strong song. And as I am lowered I will lie in deep velvet. Red velvet. And as my roses lay atop me, I will feel comfort.
Ecstasy will remain in my body, feeling at peace. Feeling perfect forever. And yet as I lay here I remember I picked a rose this afternoon. It was in my garden.