Browsed by
Tag: poems about loss



I am one of those poets Life built:  I have no “creds” as a poet, but I do know that making a certain type of poem helped me keep my head straight through a number of karmic dust storms that blew away the world as I knew and liked it.

I guess you could call it home-grown, dirt-cheap psychotherapy.  All you really need to do it is paper, a pencil or a pen, and an awareness of the need to mend the broken circle of your life.

The act of sitting down and writing out what is in your head and your heart does take practice.

There are all kinds of books that can tell you HOW to write.  Ignore them.  Just sit down and line up the words as they rise up.  Take dictation from yourself.  Go until the flow of words stops or until you are starting to repeat yourself.

Put the words away for a while, then go back to them.  Find the ones that ring truest for you about the situation you’re thinking on.  Put them together until they sound right to you, until they dance, and they show you how you are feeling.

When you’ve done all that, you will have a poem and, for you, it will have power.

Read it out loud and think on it.  Maybe you’ll find something in it that starts another round of writing and another poem.  Maybe you will be able to see what action you can take to resolve some impasse, connect with someone, or just clear up the confusion you are feeling about something.

It occurred to me that at some point every one of us needs a way to get our heads back together. Poetry is a powerful way to do that.

The Sufi mystic and poet, Melvani Rumi wrote, seven centuries ago, “Don’t be satisfied with the stories that come before you; unfold your own myth.”  That’s what writing life-built poems is:  a concrete way to think on your own story and make your own myth.

The practice and the process of making life-built poems help you untangle the thoughts in your head when life hits you with yet another curve-ball.

If you do it right, you begin to understand how you’re actually feeling about any confusing situation when the thoughts just keep skittering all over the place and morphing into more and more of a tangled mess.

Often if you can just get a handle on all the chaotic feelings and thoughts you are experiencing, you’ll be able to see where you stand in all the turmoil and maybe see the actions you need to take to move gracefully in the direction you want to go.  At least, that’s the way it seemed to work for me.  Maybe it can do the same for you as well….

This poem came to me nine months after the death of my husband Fred.  We had been married for almost 27 years and were having a grand time being symbiotic when he sustained fatal head injuries in a car wreck.

I had always played with poetry for years.  After Fred died, though, I just slogged on through the days for a while.

When I started doing the poetry again, the poems were…different.  They were not just about playing with form any more.


When you died, Ei Nei, I dropped ten pounds.
Our friends said it was the grief.
I joked that you loved my sweet ‘okole so much
You took it with you,
And scandalized their true hearts yet again.
You would’ve laughed and probably agreed.

I don’t tell them — no I don’t —
About the other things you took.

You took your arms,
Corded hard with your strong passions,
That cradled me quiet as I drowsed
That picked me up each time I stumbled,
The peacefulness enfolded in them,
You took that with you.

You took your voice:
The way it resonated through me,
Sending echoes through each cell,
Winding around my heart
And pulling me to you, time and again.
You took that with you.

You bound me to you, then you went away.
You took a lot of things when you left.

You took your mouth:
Your teasing and your laughter,
Your “betcha-can’ts” and “you-better-nots,”
That made me so wild, I’d want to hit you
Until your goofy smile melted me silly.
You took that with you.

You took your eyes:
The fierce tenderness that held me,
Flashing hot at my proud challenge,
Softly glowing and content,
Intoxicating to the core.
You took that with you.

You took a lot when you went.

You took your hands,
Their gentle, solid strength,
Their familiar, clever touch
That reached into the soul of me,
And always drew me in.
You took that with you.

You took your body:
That hunting-cat tightness,
The warm, sweet hardness of you,
Lithe as a serpent, flowing against me,
The heat I craved, my best obsession.
You took that with you.

Ei Nei, I can forgive you taking all of that…
Most of the time, I can.
But, oh, how my tears well up,
Mourning the loss of all the dreams
The two of us flew when we were friends.

You took that with you too.    

[In case you don’t know, ei nei is Hawaiian for “my dear.”  The word ‘okole means “butt.”  Hawaiian musicians Keola and Kapono Beamer had a popular song, “Sweet ‘Okole” about a certain hula dancer of their acquaintance….]

by Netta Kanoho

photo credit:  James Diedrick via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

Get Social....

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)