She couldn’t stop thinking
About hands
At first it was his hands
And her inability to remember
Their look
     The way they felt
     As they tousled her hair
     After he touched his lips
     To the top of her head
          The warmth of them
          Cupping her breast
          Thumb teasing nipple
          Gentling her into sensuality
               Their comforting circular rhythm
               Easing her into sleep
               On nights her mind
               Roared and raced
Conversely she could never forget
How cold and heavy they were
When she lifted them to her lips 
For one last kiss
The hands of a clock
Winding down
As the mechanism of her life
Once simple tasks
Now as daunting as Everest
Her own hands
Gripping the handles 
Of her walking frame
Tenaciously gouging 
From an uncooperative body
Hands of strangers
Tentatively offered
Gratefully accepted
As she struggled
With the minutiae of life
In public places
The hands of family and friends
Reaching out
Giving comfort and assistance
Wrapped around the handles of her wheelchair
Pushing her lovingly
Back into the gallery and theatre of life
Tricia 03/2012

About triciabertram

I have written all my life. Writing helps me to make sense of a world I often don’t understand. Poetry is my supreme solace, closely followed by literature and music. When my son ended his life in 1999 I embarked on the most difficult journey of my life, my grief journey. To survive in this unknown, harsh landscape I had to write. It was for me, the only way I could even begin to move forward. Then in 2009 my darling husband died suddenly and so my journey continues. I write about other issues but because of my life experience, grief and death are continuing themes in my writing life. In our culture I believe there is a fear of death, an inability to accept the inevitability of our mortality, and this creates enormous difficulties for the bereaved and those around them. I have begun this blog in the hope I will create a small ripple in the pond of fear that is currently drowning the reality of death and grief. I will continue to skim the stones of my truth, watch them bounce, and see how many ripples I can make.

Posted on March 24, 2012, in Poems and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. You have painted such a real picture with this poem Tricia.

    There is such a depth of feeling to it I am really lost for words except to say it is beautifully written and heartfelt.

    Love and hugs

    Christine xx

    • Thanks Christine,
      Sorry it’s taken me so long to acknowledge your comment. I’m fighting my way out of a dark place and it seems to take all the energy I have.
      Your words mean a lot.

  2. This actually stimulates the visual cortex; it gives me mixed emotions

  3. Tricia, I don’t know what words to use to describe how I feel about this poem. It seems really odd to say that I “like” it, and even more disturbing to me to praise you for your skill with words and your beautiful talent. This poem is the naked truth…the raw emotions come through, and if it were fiction I would go on and on about its beauty. But because it mirrors your loss, it is beautiful, but painfully so. I read again your “about me” paragraph and you are so right. We do hide from our mortality and most of us have no idea how to be real with a hurting, grieving friend. I’ll still tell you I admire your talent, but I also know you’d give up any praise to have your son and husband returned to you. You move me deeply, Tricia. I wish I could give you a big hug, but I send you prayers for peace and healing…Debra

    • Hello Debra,
      It’s fine with me to say you “like” this poem. Yes it’s a sometimes sad truth, but for me there is also love and support of family, friends and strangers.
      And yes you are right, I would give everything to have Rod and Ken back. In fact it took me a long time to go public with my writing because I couldn’t bear to think I might benefit in some way as a result of their suffering. But I now see my writing as not just my story, it’s my interpretation of a universal experience.
      Thanks for your caring, warm words. I’m struggling at present and your genuine empathy helps me.
      Cyber hug

  4. Holding hands, although seemingly the simplest of gestures, is often the most meaningful.

    This poem is so brave and so beautiful – I would be delighted to hold your hand Tricia


  5. Perfect poem about the progression of life and those who will help us through it.


  6. Angela Trumble

    Beautiful, Tricia. 🙂

  7. aloha Tricia – your way with words – impacting and beautiful, deep and visual. a rich experience to read. aloha.

    • Thanks Rick.
      My husband and I had some wonderful holidays on the north shore of the Island of Oahu. We loved to dine at a restauant called The Crouching Lion as we watched day end and night begin. This restaurant overlooked the sea, and had a gift shop attached where we bought some delightful Hawaiian art work.
      There was another Hawaiian word I loved even more than aloha, it was I think, Mahalo (not sure of the spelling). It was the feel of the word as I spoke it that touched something visceral in me. Could you tell me what this word means please.

  8. aloha Tricia – yes, i know the Crouching Lion. that’s on the Windward side of the island. that’s the side i live on. and yes, it’s fun to eat there – sometimes the sea coming in is such a relaxing sound and visual there. even with the highway the palms across the road are always a pleasant view out to sea.

    a lot of the Hawaiian words are “breathy”. aloha can be translated in a lot of ways – as a greeting and parting word, yes, but it has a much deeper meaning that can be explained in several ways. one is a literal translation which is “to give you my breath” – meaning the breath of life. breath is the “ha” part of the word. it comes from the breath of a greatness – meaning the all greatness that gives life through breath and breathing to everything. the meanings spiral around that – because if you give someone your breath it also means you are at peace with them. “i give you the breath of life when you arrive and i give you the breath of life as you depart to take with you”.

    mahalo is simple to translate – it simply means “thank you” in our english. however, i suspect there is a deeper appreciation in that thank you – altho i do not know this. the hawaiian language to me is full of spirituality among other things so it’s possible that the appreciation may go beyond our polite thank you into an appreciation of the being of the other person (i dont know this, it’s more a sense i get). it is to me another “breathy” word.

    …and again, yes, i think the hawaiian language is a very visceral, feeling, spiritual, breath-giving way of giving and receiving words. it can be powerful, intense and emotional too.

    i am not an authority on the language tho. it is fun to learn about it when opportunities arrive. fun on. – aloha.

  9. Tricia, I’m very far behind in blog reading and just catching up with yours. Your poem just makes me want to reach out with a hug for you and your beautiful, insightful spirit.

  10. Wow, this is so passionate and beautiful.

  11. Poetry is best when it means and does not say, when its builds up its saying through images and contrasts built of metaphor, simile, and the compression and discipline of language. This is true poetry, poetry driven into the spirit with little regard for the poet, but with a feeling for this life, difficult and glorious, that we are all living. Loss is painful; the aftermath of loss, if less immediate, is still painful. Ethel and I know. One loss is enough; two losses is more than any one spirit should bear.
    What is best about this poem, though it is magnificently done throughout, are the last two lines:
    ..Pushing her lovingly
    Back into the gallery and theatre of life
    Family and friends not letting the poet, Tricia Bertram, retreat into herself, but pushing her out into the theatre of life. Our hands, and the hands of those close to us, are defining in communicating who we are to others. They allow us to do our work, to touch each other, to communicate. They are an integral part of Betty’s hug. The power of the image of hands not here and hands here trying to help, to ease pain, is powerful, helping to make this a powerful, powerful poem.

    • Thank you Thomas. This poem is very important to me for so many reasons, some of which you have been intuitive enough to discern.
      I’m so pleased you experience this as a powerful, positive poem. Your words mean a lot to me.

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