Category: Memoirs In Poetry

sun on a painting

sun on a painting
from a thrift store
calls my attention
to look again

over time the picture
may fade a little
and change

become a new version
unique to this home

other days
the sun too bright
and long

I think things through
what can fade
what should stay
the same

Ellen Grace Olinger

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

Food Poems

CONTRASTS

cold winds in predawn hours
gentle music and a cup of coffee
stir-fried vegetables in olive oil

Autumn so swift this year
time now for a long project or two
let the days grow short, read and rest

clouds hover over small space for sun
wear a bright sweater, look at the gold leaves
store it all for a winter of faith

HOW EASY TODAY

falling leaves
and silent sunrise

how easy today
to let go of old dreams

cook some eggs
wash the dishes
write this poem

The first two poems are from 2012.

carrots, cabbage
spinach, radishes
and faded flower bouquets
food on the snow
for a rabbit

This poem is from January 2016.  When snow covered the garden, a rabbit began eating the bark from the cotoneaster branches that were bowed to the ground. 

gulls lifting
from the sand
corn an inch tall

Published in SMILE (2009, 2010);  Bell’s Letters Poet (2010).

Ellen Grace Olinger

once again

once again the sun shines
above December clouds

I turn off the extra
low energy light
by the stairs
that is left on
through the night
along with other lights

safety features
already in place
and also more now
that I know about
from the years
of helping with
my mother’s care

I learned so much from my mother, all those years ago.  She always asked, “Are you writing?”  Not so much then, and that is fine.  Now I write all the time.  

Ellen Grace Olinger

how lovely

how lovely
to have books around
and journals too

I create still life
arrangements that
change often

keep a book by my side
for company even
when I cannot read

trust the mystery
of who to read
and when

the words I need today
the words I needed then

Ellen Grace Olinger

Photo by Karl
Oostburg, Wisconsin
August 2018

Poems: Road of Faith

W  onder and
A  dore, let
I  nspiration
T  each trust

(2012)

Through the Light of Christmas 

through the Light
of Christmas
I found my way
home 

from a hospital
and nursing home
through city and
small town
Main Streets
their streetlamps
with holiday lights

as my mother
was on her way
Home

the time we shared
and still share 

(2013)

“For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD:
thou art my trust from my youth.” 
Psalm 71: 5 (KJV)

blessings of the roads

missing loved ones
grateful for softer edges
around the loss

(2014)

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

(2014)

Ellen Grace Olinger

December begins

December begins
and winter is already
here

days are short
and colder

grateful for rest
this year that began
stronger for me

or so it seemed

then a valley

and new strength

new poems
new dreams

taking care and
following instructions
every day

because I trust this care
this kind and good care

keeping a health journal
at peace in my heart

daily dedication
and content with small steps

wpclipart

Thank you and blessings,
Ellen Grace Olinger