Thursday, January 29, 2009

Headline News

Your children said

you might have been confused,

maybe you were walking in your sleep,

were blinded by the snow,

you’d lost your way.

The neighbors said

you had been acting strange,

maybe you were walking off your fears,

since John’s been gone

you hadn’t been the same,

they think perhaps that

you had lost your way.

The expert said

he couldn’t speculate

why you’d be outside walking in a storm,

but he’d confirm the cause:

a frozen heart,

direct result

of having lost your way.


  1. Such a tragic story! A frozen heart...that is a very sad way to leave. The image and poem work perfectly together.

  2. Beautiful and so sad. I don't want to but I feel a peace for her, even though I ache for the children at the same time.

  3. Solemnly poetic! I really like the structure of the poem, how you end each stanza with "lost your way". It's a haunting echo, an agonizing refrain. The sparkling snow is beautiful, how could it bring such tragedy...the paradoxes of life.

    Beautiful work, as always!

    I like the gray background. It looks great!

  4. Haunting- gosh that phrase "frozen heart" clings to me, like a shroud. Due to your writing, that sadness lingers. As K. said, the devastating repetition fits well.

  5. I think it's beautiful. And hopeful. I see the detachment of noticing what people are saying as a sign of awareness of being lost, thus found.

  6. The saddest part of this poem is the truth that's in it. The whole story is based on someone I knew who froze to death on the hillside behind her house. I changed the husband's name, but that's about it. This was such a sad death; this woman's husband had left her for someone else, and after that, she seemed to fall apart -- she lost her way.

    Cat and GeL - it really was a frozen heart, literally and figuratively. Isn't that just the saddest thing? I have tried to imagine her despair, and I can't even get there.

    Jennifer - I think you're right. She is at peace after all of the sadness, but family was truly torn to pieces by this entire tragic turn.

    K.- I've thought a lot about the twofold nature of snow lately! Besides the usual tragic accidents on roadways, there have been a number of deaths because people can't get out to hospitals and even a couple of deaths caused by hypothermia. This snowstorm has, indeed, been a beautiful killer, definite paradox!

    Thanks for the comment on the gray. It's hard to judge how the colors appear on someone else's screen. I like something calming, so I hope this looks that way.

    I appreciate your comments, as always. :)

    Christine - Welcome! I'm glad you mentioned the detachment; that's what I was going for -- a journalistic account of a horribly tragic tale. I really like your take on the awareness of loss being a way of her being found. Nice perspective. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Grrr... blogger ate my comment.

    So I'll try again. :)

    Such a sad tale. No one should have to die of a frozen heart, especially with children.

    I like the photo too! It really captures the sense that it would be so easy to feel lost.

  8. Aine - LOL on the blogger monster! Once, I posted the same comment twice because I thought it ate my first one!

    This is sad, and having children involved makes it more so. Every person affects so many others. I think when you become a parent you are much more attuned to the connectedness of people. For all their lives, these children will carry their mother's death with them. Truly awful

  9. Karen - I have awarded you with the Lemonade Award for your blog. You can come by my blog and take it "home" with you. :) kaye

  10. Kaye - Thank you! You're such an inspiration that to get this from you is truly an honor (and feels just a little like nepotism!) ;)

  11. K. and others -- I'm showing my blognorance here. I don't know how to pick up and add the lemonade award! If I weren't intent on Keeping Secrets, I could ask someone I know. Help!

  12. Hi Karen~ The Lemonade Award is for sites which show great attitude and/or attitude!

    I have one for you!

    Thank you for being you!!!

  13. This is poignant. There is a truth to it, I love the way you put this together.

    I've been without power for several days. Happy to be back online and have heat and water again! (the three essentials of life, don't you know.)

    Your writing is wonderful!

  14. Calli - Thanks, but I have no idea how to pick it up! I truly am keeping this blog a secret from family (hence the name), so I can't ask for help! That's what I get for being private about this. Now the dilemma: do I tell?

    Roberta - How dependent we have become on our modern conveniences! I have often wondered how we would cope if we lost our infrastructure. Would we be hardy enough to survive, do you think? We didn't lose power at our house, but I work with people who have been without for a week. I'm glad the lights are back on in Ona!

  15. As always your poetry is thought provoking. Such bittersweet repose. I think your family would be very proud of your site but at the same time I feel that sometimes we just need an escape for ourselves. Whatever you do, it can't be wrong.

  16. Thanks, Jules, Angel, and Liz - I appreciate your comments. I believe my privacy has been breached, though. My son seems to have stumbled through cyberspace to this blog. Now I have to decide how I feel about that. :(

  17. So beautiful and sad. I recently read an account of an elderly lady who wandered off and died in a snow storm. It's heartbreaking. Your poem describes the awful realization perfectly. I also love the form you use. This is very powerful work!

  18. Julie - again, my thanks to you. It truly is heartbreaking to see what happens to our elders. When I see older people struggling just to get around, I often "see" a ghost-child running ahead of them, skipping and playing as I know they must have once done. To see their physical limitations is so sad, but it's nothing compared with witnessing the deterioration of the mind. That, to me, is true tragedy -- the loss of the person before they get lost.

  19. There is such a haunting quality to fading into that snow. Like she was already a ghost before dying.

    People can speculate, but nobody truly knew her. They couldn't touch that frozen heart, either.

    Beautifully poetic vision, Karen. So sad, but stirring. She lives in your words.

  20. Brilliant! My father passed away recently from Parkinson's and dementia. I immediately envisioned someone who had some sort of loss, be it mental or heart-wise.


  21. I like how the three groups speak. Well done. :)

    THANK YOU FOR THE AWARD!! You give me quite a smile.

  22. this is a powerful piece. i lost neighbors last year - he to cancer, her to a "snow" of dementia. didn't make the news - but similar otherwise.

    also, thank you for the lemonade!

  23. joaquin carvel - I've seen people lost in many ways. Lost to themelves and others. Very sad.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  24. Sarah - Thank you for your comments. You are right, although we could still see her through the snow, we couldn't know her. Even your prose is poetic, do you know that? :)

    Kat - I am so sorry about your father. Watching someone fade like that is so very sad. The actual person on whom I based this had a heart loss which hastened her death. I've wondered if she didn't know exactly where she was going.

    Jason - Thanks for stopping by! (and you're welcome)

  25. I absolutely love this poem. - I didn't get a thorough look over your blog before and am now putting that right. Like what I'm finding!