Category: Grief

Deeper Places

When we began this blog on December 19, 2009, one of my goals was to reprint published poems and say “thank you” to the editors and all involved with the journals.  “Deeper Places” has found many homes, and the poem was the first post here.  It is an old poem, and I’d like to share again as written then, and then reflect upon a few thoughts now.  Thank you.

I want to live
in the deeper places

where flowers
always get to bloom
at their appointed time

and are loved as much
weathered and dormant
and covered with snow

I want to live
in the deeper places

where loss is felt
tears are cried and
night becomes a friend

and then loss
dies too
new life arrives again

Oh, I want to live
in the deeper places

Published in Time of Singing (2003); Bell’s Letters (2004);The Discerning Poet (2004); Blogging Along Tobacco Road (2009); Bell’s Letters (2009).

The Raymond Flory Explorer Award (2010).   The Eve Jeanette Blohm Award (2010).   Both awards through Bell’s Letters Poet.

I have continued to develop these thoughts over the years in poetry and prose.  New life has arrived again in many ways.  My father died when I was 29, and I was in the hospital for my 40th birthday.  Loss did not die, but rather was transformed.  I learned that new events may bring back old memories, and that love endures and grows.  My health problems young made me a better caregiver for my mother.  I was reading Luci Shaw again yesterday, and she shares about her aging in a generous way.  Her poetry and memoirs are a part of my life.

Karl’s photo of the swans on Lake Michigan is from several years ago. 

Ellen Grace Olinger

“Charity Never Faileth” 1 Corinthians 13

And now




these three;

but the greatest
of these

is charity.

The title of this post is from 1 Corinthians 13: 8.  The above verse is quoted from 1 Corinthians 13:13.  King James Version of the Holy Bible, which is in the Public Domain.   I rearranged the words in this presentation.

Reprinted from a post in December 2009, when we began this site.

Poinsettia, 2015

Photo by Karl, 2014

Blogs and Books

As I review my archives – and one of the nice features of blogs is how we grow archives – I note posts where I am developing ideas for books.  There is more content here now than I can remember.  My mother said to me when I was young, “If you’re a writer, you’ll write.”  She meant this in a big picture way.  When I have not been able to be creative in one way, then there is something else.  So far, the poetry always returns in one way or another.  I may not write many poems, when I am working on the sequence for a book.

For the next large print book, I found the theme and focus in my post this past Saturday.  I have an ISBN account and assigned a number to this title:  Encouragement, Gratitude, and Hope: Poems by Ellen Grace Olinger.  I set the publication date for December 2019.  Plenty of room to breathe.  Revisions are part of the process, and this is my work – not obligated to a contract.

In another book, Lord willing, I hope to return to an earlier theme of “Wisconsin Seasons and Encouragement.”  I took many photos for a few years; and Karl’s photos from this summer and past years are beautiful.  It was important for my health to make a more dedicated effort to walk this past summer.  The visits to our small towns, Sheboygan, and parks were a blessing.  All is well.  I am sure there are many layers with all our art.  

A small haiku chapbook is another idea, as I’ve shared.  I remember, in the 1990s, when I first began with haiku, how much I loved receiving a card in the mail with a small book.

The work itself is a good teacher.  Over the years, I’ve often been told I have “the gift of encouragement.”  Caregivers also have to take good care.  My overall goal with the blogs and books is to offer hope, one small poem, photo, post at a time.  I love this way of being able to grow and create.  

Thank you.  And I like the new Gutenberg editor.  I learn a lot about colors, font sizes, and other ideas here. 

A deeper sense of confidence – trying new ideas – has grown through the consistent work and feedback.

Ellen Grace Olinger

Encouragement, Gratitude, and Hope

I am just beginning to work on a second large print chapbook.  My goal is to finish some time next year.  Good to have goals, and I can revise my goals as needed.


Quiet Christmas Poetry is still in print and can be ordered from the Time Of Singing Books Page.  All proceeds benefit this print journal.


The second large print chapbook has a more general theme.  These seem to be a few of the favorite poems over the years, that I have selected for the new book so far.

Because we create from so many places, and read/view in different ways, I will not worry about a given order of the seasons from my perspective.

Blogging has surely opened my world and teaches me every day.   I am trying for universal themes of encouragement, gratitude, and hope.


roses in the sun
some ending
some beginning
and some in full bloom
good to grow older


clouds and yet
enough light
to fill a jam jar
with the last
of the carnations


losses in life
low setting sun
through branches of trees
now rises again
as birds quietly sing


and planning
the week
what will grow
what should rest

(WestWard Quarterly, Fall 2016)


R   est
E   ducate
A   dmire
D   ream
I   nspire
N   ew
G   oals

(My acrostic poem for reading is one of the most read poems on this site.)


older now
used books settle
in their new home


how gentle the wind
in predawn rose light
after the harvest moon
I begin October
with small and growing hopes

(Time Of Singing, Fall 2012)


Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthologies is a page I created for this site, with my poems in the anthologies from 2013 – 2018 (with references).  I also think about a small haiku book.  Many ideas, and some poems may belong in more than one place.  I know I enjoy some repetition, which can be restful and a comfort for the soul.

This kind of work takes time, so I am ready for another Wisconsin winter.  So grateful.


To be continued in another post.  Thank you and blessings.


Honeysuckle by Lake Michigan, June 2018.

Ellen Grace Olinger





slow travel
boat with lights
in the distance


L ove
I nspires
G oodness
H ope and
T ruth


Late November
barges with their lights on
travel along the Lake Michigan horizon
we leave low-energy lights on too
to say hello


the shortest day
of the year
in my heart


S erene and sure
T rust
A long the
R oad of faith


Poems are by Ellen Grace Olinger, written over time.


Images: wpclipart

leaves and trees

autumn leaves
some time for a caregiver
to rest in good care


Years ago, when I was recovering from an illness, I was sitting by a window in Sheboygan.

The tall weathered evergreens across the road spoke to me.  A “haiku moment.”

The hard years showed, yet the trees had continued to grow.


weathered trees
strong and beautiful
my time of healing

Ellen Grace Olinger

Evergreen Time


N ovember
O pens to blue skies
V ery cold weather soon to
E ndure, yet many
M oments of
B eauty to
E xperience
R enewal each day


a Christmas wreath
for my parents’ graves
even though I know
they are not there


L ove
E ternal
A nd
F orever


years go by
leaves fall
time of rest
then rebirth
God’s time
not mine


November Wisconsin countryside
Bare trees elegant against the sky
Colors in the landscape muted now
October’s glory is gone
And love grows eternally

(Fall/Winter 2008 – 09)

SMILE, a large print poetry journal, was edited and published by Joyce M. Johnson for many years.

Poems are by Ellen Grace Olinger.