This lovely lady is Cheri Yori and she writes amazing poetry. I met Cheri through a local writing workshop and we became fast friends. She’s thoughtful, kind, and considerate. And, she’s a very talented writer and editor/proofreader. In fact, she’s my editor, and I’m fortunate to have her going through my work and making it better.
Cheri’s poetry is beautiful, and moving. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.
I walk along under a blue sky
Watching white birds dissolve into whiter clouds
And I contemplate the shift in my life.
After a lifetime of concentrated misery
I have been graced with contentment.
I don’t know if it is my age
Or simply the Grace of God,
But the bone-jarring anxiety has quieted,
The black clouds are lifting,
And I see a horizon deep and clear.
The road before curves and beckons
And I sense a lightening of my load.
There is definitely a change in the wind.
My old emotional habits have not disappeared,
But they trouble me less than before.
My tastes are simpler.
I want less and enjoy more what I have.
I count my blessings
And find even my troubles among them,
For I see more easily
The gift hidden in the problems.
I harbor no illusions of perfect peace.
My old friend Fear is still a frequent visitor
But his words carry less weight than they did in my youth.
Losses loom ahead of me,
But at my age, I am no stranger to loss and pain.
I will survive whatever lies before
If I but remember
That the joy is worth the cost.
There are fewer battles,
Far less drama,
And a heightened appreciation of simple moments
Like watching white birds dissolve into whiter clouds.
Copyright ©2010 Cheri Yori
My old companion slips in silently.
He settles beside me so softly
I do not feel him there.
He never announces his presence.
He waits for me to notice him,
To feel the mysterious pain.
After all these years
I still don’t recognize him immediately.
In vain I search for reasons
For the aching hollowness rising through me,
Grasping for origins, explanations, a name.
No, there is nothing.
Awareness dawns on me slowly.
I turn to him and say,
“Ah, Grief! I know your name.
But why are you here?”
He does not speak. He never speaks.
He merely sits beside me until I recognize him.
Now I know that “why” does not matter.
Something small, almost unnoticed
Triggers the body, remembering a thorn
That the mind buried long ago,
And old, unnamed grief rises
Gripping my stomach,
Tearing through my heart, my throat,
Asking, no, demanding release.
For years I fought him –
Grasping for food, or booze, or books, or the company of friends,
Anything that would draw a veil between us.
He would wait patiently for a long time,
Then turn with a sad look to go,
But he never went far,
And I was always vaguely aware of the edge of his presence.
He is a thorough and tenacious teacher.
Now I surrender when I recognize him,
And let him have his way.
Now come tears, or keens, or tremors,
I let him move as he will,
Until he leaves as quietly as he came.
I still don’t know where he comes from,
But he comes less often now,
And his visits are shorter.
Even now I cannot welcome him,
But I have learned to greet him with respect,
And when I acknowledge him,
He always rises to leave.
Each time he leaves a gift –
A lightness, an insight,
Today – these words.
I thank him,
And bid him farewell
Until he returns again, unbidden, to my side.
Copyright ©2010 Cheri Yori
Originally published on RhondaHopkins.com, 04/29/2015