For my friend

My friend Nancy died last night after a long fight with cancer. This is for you, Nance.

A blue jay came to sit on my window sill

as my friend was dying.

I thought

Do birds take our spirits to heaven?

And as I  ponder this

I see

cardinals everywhere —

five of them dashing, splashing, in and out of the birdbath and the cherry tree.

The birds are full of life and chatter

though the cherries are long past.

Even leaves are gone,

fallen to the cold earth.

A gray rain falls — the first day of winter —

the whole world is crying silently dying,

I shake my fist at God.

Why now?

Why her?

I think of bright spirits and laughter and sunlight and time.


For my friend

Time gone.

and when it comes upon us all, there is never enough time.

This earth

these friends

that love

is all we had

and the future becomes the present unknown and unknowable

to us who are left with tears.

Lord, be merciful to my friend

who is journeying on a cardinal’s wing

a flash of red through a gray sky.

sycamore branches

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  — Matthew 10: 29-31


20 thoughts on “For my friend

  1. This was just unbelievably beautiful. We lost our dear brother-in-law this past year, my husbands best friend, cherished uncle to my children. His death was sudden. We never got to say goodbye. Your poem says exactly what’s been on my mind. Thank you. I’m so sorry for your own loss.


  2. My condolences for the loss of your friend to cancer. I appreciate the prayer support and will be praying for you and your friend’s family. Merry CHRISTmas.


  3. Carol – you are gifted in so many ways. I’m so grateful you share them. So sorry for your loss.


    • I don’t know if you remember but a bird came and sat on the windowsill of dad’s room on the day he died. There are so many mysteries — perhaps as we contemplate the eternal, we are just more aware of them? Thank you for your nice words — blogs are good places for wannabe writers. :-) Joyful Christmas to all of you. (What are you doing up in the middle of the night???)


  4. I too like to write poetry when thought thrashing. “who is journeying on a cardinal’s wing
    a flash of red through a gray sky.” is a loverly way to phrase it. My dad died in the very early morning on my birthday 3 years ago and there was a small herd of deer gathered in the front yard when he passed. I think at such times the animal world is very close to ours.


  5. In Surinam we believe that sparrows bring souls to the other side. I do not know if that is true but to me birdies are a reminder that life, as long as we have it, is beautiful, delicate and though confusing – to be cherished.

    Sorry for your loss. Your friends sounds like she was/is an amazing soul.
    Big crunchy hug from Holland!


    • So glad to hear from you again!!! :-)
      Thank you for your kind words.
      I was just going over my list of who I follow, thinking I was missing some people. WordPress sometimes just drops people off my list. Anyway, I hope you are well, and I’m going to see if I can rectify why I’m not getting your posts. Best in 2014. Make some mistakes! :-)


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