Measuring Loss

For We Write Poems poetry prompt: We Wordle #11


Measuring Loss

Boney arms failed to keep
her teacup of broken history
on planet of unusable harvest.

Calm devotion drowned in gutters
of rushing memory where time is stored
alive in crystallized moments.

Alone, gentle bosom of quiet breaths
stumbles, splinters, folding inward
like roots slowly frozen in winter’s sleep.

Cities and tunes of youth become
cloudy whispers, foggy fading bells
ringing from far away valley.

Used air tastes of slate and dust
from wicker stand where ceramic
swan stares blankly at wilted petals.

Faintly she hears, “Sleep you now,
rest you now…” , then grows slack
in that final leap toward forever.

Elizabeth Crawford  3/24/14

Notes: The anniversary of my Mother’s passing will be four years ago at the end of April. My sisters are fond of saying that Mom saved the really hard questions for me, and that she did. Our last conversation was just one of those questions, and took place in her room at the nursing home, where she was recovering from a fall at home. My three siblings had left, after discussing with her the possibility of moving into an assisted living apartment. Something we all knew she didn’t want to do. She turned toward me and asked, “I guess it’s time to give up, huh?” Stunned, I was still for a moment, then raised my hand, creating a half-inch space between forefinger and thumb, I smiled softly and said, “No, not giving up, but maybe just letting go a little bit?” She passed away peacefully in her sleep the next evening. I have often thought of that final conversation and created many hard questions of my own. It was not my intention to write this poem, I was just messing with all those words and they brought me here. For that I am grateful. As I wrote the poem, I knew there was no way I could use the words you and leaping in it. Yet, when I got to the last verse, the final chorus line of an old Gale Garnet song started humming through my thoughts. It goes like this:
Sleep you now
rest you now
tomorrow I’ll be gone
I’ve been too long
a brave little girl
Alone’s how I get on.

I have often said that I write poetry because it is the best therapy available. Thank you Mom, for answering those hard questions.

Contributors and their words:

Laurie: arms failed bones
Priti: clouds leaping fog
Annell: teacup broken history
Jules: calm devotion drowned
Laurie 2: air whispers you
Hannah: slate stumbles splintered
Nicole: roots sleep frozen
Emangster: gutters stare rushes
Amy: harvest unusable planet
Irene: dust wicker slack
Abby: fold swan Cities
De: petals breaths quiet
Debi: store time alive
Sara: tunes used bells
Marian: gentle bosom alone

Thank you all for this one.

If you are interested, Sherry Blue Sky posted a chat the two of us had about creating titles for poems we’ve written. You can find it here:



About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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9 Responses to Measuring Loss

  1. Pamela says:

    Oh, Elizabeth, this was so painful for me to read. Still a beautuful poem on such a delicate issue.



  2. whimsygizmo says:

    Love this phrasing, especially:
    “cloudy whispers, foggy fading bells”


  3. whimsygizmo says:

    Writing truly does heal. So glad you shared this.


  4. rosross says:

    Yes, wise and soulful words on all counts.


  5. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Gale Garnet song but I’m glad you had for it was a perfect way to end your poem. This is a beautiful poem of remembrance. Thank you for sharing it.


  6. Misky says:

    This just feels so intimate and personal, and I feel quite honoured that you’d share this. Thank you, Elizabeth.


  7. Kim Nelson says:

    You took me into that room with you and your mom, Elizabeth. A soul-expanding experience for sure.


  8. And now I’m crying…this is so beautiful…the process, your back story, the wisdom…I’m in awe of the miracle of words where they brought you for healing…there to carry and comfort you.

    Thank you for sharing so openly with us…I feel so honored. ♥


  9. What a stunning poem this is, and a wonderful note of explanation….that final stanza is WONDERFULLY PERFECT. OMG. Four years, Elizabeth. Wow, how did I miss that you were grieving your mother in all of my grief over Pup? Was I blind?

    No Sherry, you were grieving my friend.



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