What Do You See? – A Poem for Hélène Vaillant

If words were clouds
Hers would be soft and comforting
The kind you see on brisk autumn afternoons
As Golden leaves fall around you.

If words were water
Hers would be in a bathtub
With bubbles that smelled of eucalyptus and mint
Clearing the mind for the wisdom that came with a well lived life

If words were a picture
Hers would be a garden painted in the style of Monet
With a mother and child the brightest of the flowering blooms

If words asked a question
Hers would be, “What do you see?”
And she’d let me answer
With interpretive imagination
And poetic passion

Hélène Vaillant is a blogger who I started following because of her “What Do You See?” Weekly Challenge. She would post a picture as a prompt and Challenge is to write poetry/prose about it. I found her through one of the other blogs that I follow and was instantly taken by the beautiful pictures she posted for the Challenge as well as the insightful poems Hélène wrote. As I started to comment and engage with Hélène on her blog, she started to comment and engage with me on mine. Her comments were always thoughtful and caring with just the right amount of wisdom added.

I found out recently (from Jordy at Jordy’s Streaming) that Hélène had passed away. I don’t know how old she was or what she died from although she had mentioned that she wasn’t feeling well a few months ago and wouldn’t be blogging for awhile. I did know that her husband had passed away just a few months before she did. I also knew that she had a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, specifically, the Madonna and Child. I had even taken pictures of various sculptures of the Madonna and Child during a trip to the Met in NYC thinking I would send them to her when she got back on her blog.

As of today, Hélène’s WordPress blog has already been removed. This makes me so sad. I wonder what happened to all her poems, all the poems bloggers wrote for her prompts, all the comments and memories contained within her blog. I found this article from Fandango that speaks to this loss (Thank you, Jen Goldie for directing me to it).

I hope Hélène knew she had touched so many people with her words, prompts and comments. I will always remember her gentle heart and kind, wise comments.

Rest In Peace, Hélène.

©️ iido 2019

Moonlight Sonata: Quasi Una Fantasia – A Poem

(For your ears: Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven)

Sitting at the instrument

Of lament and longing

Listening to the moonlight

Touch my eyelids

Willing for this to be fantasy

For you to hear the harmony

Of safety and love

Bookmarking this time and place

So our stardust can, one night, embrace again

This poem is a companion to the Quadrille written for Hélène Vaillant’s and Jamie Dedes’ prompts for this past week. It’s a beautiful gift when inspiration strikes twice.

This secondary title of this poem, Quasi Una Fantasia, means “almost a fantasy” and comes from this essay on Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata. I do not listen to a lot of classical music, however this piece I am familiar with since I shed many tears listening to the First Movement after my twins died. That phrase, “almost a fantasy” describes the surreal feelings and thoughts I experienced after I got home from the hospital without my babies in my arms. It also describes the “what if’s”, “if only’s”, and “I should have’s” of the grief experience, as well as the hope that eventually leads to healing.

©️ iido 2018

Twilight Sonata – A Quadrille

(For your ears: Twilight sonata by Beethoven)

In the brief twilight of your life

The melody of anger and disbelief

Left my fingers

Caressed your small form

Saturated the ground

Flowed like sorrow

Off the expectant page

This Quadrille is in response to Hélène gorgeous “What do you see?” picture prompt. There are so many lovely details here! Gina’s response to this same prompt, The Music Tree (an absolutely heart wrenching poem), drew my attention to the little figure by the tree. Coupled with Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt, to “write about a child in my life”, and this poem and the next one were born!

I have mentioned in the past about losing my twins, Larissa and Lucas, who were born at too early at 23 weeks. This Quadrille and the next poem are dedicated to them. They are still and will always be children in my life – their song lives in my heart forever.

©️ iido 2018

Empty

This has been such a full week for me with a lot of additional activities besides our usual ones. Yet it is sometimes when I am busiest that my thoughts tend towards the opposite direction: loneliness, quietness, stillness. Hence, Patrick Jennings’ Pic and Word Challenge #153 – Emptiness, hits the spot again! While his lovely words look at outward, mine veered inward. Opposites….

******

Empty

My womb is empty

No more sparks of life

Like fireflies on a summer night

A fleeting hope twinkling into sad thought

My womb is empty

Candle wishes extinguished

The birthday banner ripped and askew

Only cone hats left to point fingers at who’s to blame

My womb is empty

An unwanted Frankenstein

Stitched and stapled, stretched and scarred

Lightning bolts of regret

My womb is empty

It can add no more

4 out of 6 is more than statistical chance

Minus its function – a fraction of its worth

My womb is empty

Of sad thoughts

Of blame

Of regret

Of function

Now what will I do with all that space?

©️ iido 2018