April Poem #17: What Might Have Been & What Will be

What might have been? So many possibilities. So many things to imagine -both good and bad. I’m grateful I am still here, still witnessing the blessings of this world. I want to take them all in with arms opened wide, with no fear and no regrets, or at least minimal fear and just a little regret. I’m okay with that.

My inspiration for “What Might Have Been” came from  Verse-Love, Ethical ELA, which was created by Sarah J. Donovan. Today’s prompt was from Gayle Sands, who suggested to think about life choices and write about an “if only…” in your life. There is one “if only” that I never talk about or almost never talk about anymore.  However, a couple of weeks ago, my cousin Tina was telling me about the writer, Elizabeth Gilbert who talked about not having children at a recent workshop.  Elizabeth said that she names her “children” and talk to them regularly.  I thought this was such a healthy way to address maternal feeling.  All women are not mothers, but most women are nurturers and it’s this nurturing, I find, that I miss. It isn’t a miserable loss, just a life loss, like others, and I can now address it, express it, and feel satisfied.

The inspiration for “Master Builder” comes from the series, Hidden Villages with Penelope Keith British actress, Penelope Keith roams the countryside chronicling rural villages all over England.  In Season 2, Episode 1, she explores Devon and Cornwall.  Her story about the work of Rowena Cade took me by complete surprise.  Rowena almost single-handedly built a stone amphitheater high above the Cornish coast called Minack Theater.  She made the cement with sand from the beach and carved intricate Celtic and decorative patterns into the wet cement. Rowena started the project when she was thirty-eight years old and continued to build-by-hand into her eighties.  There is a wonderful photo of her sitting inside a wheelbarrow reading a book – here.   Her strength, creativity, and determination are evident. She is a role-model for me as I barrel straight down into old age.  I vow to go boldly!

What Might Have Been

I had a list of names,
For years and years,
Male and female,
Bright, cheerful names,
Names that meant something,
Names that would suit their 
Own unique personalities:
Jonas
Geoffrey
Phillip
Jeremy
Cassandra
Olivia
Annabella
Names with lots of vowels
That rolled off your tongue,
Pretty names for never-to-come
Bundles of joy.
Oh, how I would like to sit
And imagine the perfect name
For my perfect child.

Undoubtedly, my perfect
Well-behaved, brilliant child
Would grow-up happy,
Celebrate spectacular birthdays,
And cinema-worthy holidays.
They would be honest, loyal,
Heroic, and trustworthy:
Penelope
Samara
Clarissa
Delphine
Alexander
Aiden
Owen
Benjamin
An army of sweet children
To protect me in my later years
Valiant and brave,
Kind and caring,
Magnificent sons and daughters
I created and fostered,
That I labored over and loved.

The lists slipped away
Like brittle leaves
And broken petals,
Just names to be whispered
Every so often,
To remember 
What might have been.


2 thoughts on “April Poem #17: What Might Have Been & What Will be

  1. These poems are breath-taking. The first one truly touched my heart. Although you are not a mother in the physical sense, you clearly have nurtured many with your gifts and talents. Master Builder enabled me to picture this admirable woman through the way you crafted your words. I can’t wait to check out the series. Both of these poems should be out in the world. It’s a great month to submit poetry…just saying!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanne – your poems are glorious; I loved and was deeply moved by your “What Might Have Been” poem on Ethical ELA. Although it echoes loss, life having taking a different path, also rings with wistful acceptance and peace. The poem inspired by Rowena Cade is fascinating – I cannot even imagine this labor of love! Your short lines and imagery paint a clear, compelling picture of something I now want so much to see. I come away from here uplifted and energized every time!

    Liked by 1 person

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