Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday Scribbling - "Ocean"

This poem is in memory of a friend, Helen Sattel, who lost her battle with als yesterday. She taught me how to live with harsh realities and I'm happy she is now free. Rest in peace my friend.

Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches
of other lives -
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey,
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning,
feel like?
Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?
Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over
the dark acorn of your heart!
No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!
Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?
Well, there is time left -
fields everywhere invite you into them.
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?
Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!
To put one's foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!
To set one's foot in the door of death, and be overcome with amazement!
To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird's pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened
in the night
To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
While the soul, after all, is only a window,
and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.
Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe
I even heard a curl or tow of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.
For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!
A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what's coming next
is coming with its own heaven and grace.
Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?
And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.
That was then, which hasn't ended yet.
Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean's edge.
I climb, I backtrack.
I float.
I ramble my way home.
Mary Oliver


Amber said...

Aww Tammy. I am so sorry you lost a true friend. I believe she is in peace and wholeness...But the people who loved her will miss her, anyway. Left behind to fight your own battles.
I wish I had better words to express the hugs I would like to give you.


Kamsin said...

So sorry to hear about Helen. As you said she is now free, but that doesn't make it hurt any less. Thank you for sharing this lovely poem. God bless. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with Helen's family.

Bongga Mom said...

Oh Tammy, my heart cries for you and your friend's loved ones. As you said, she is free, it is the ones left behind who bear the pain and sorrow. I don't know where you find your courage and strength but you are such an inspiration.

You know, as I was reading your poem, I glanced to the left of your page and saw your wedding photo on the beach with the double rainbow. It was so uplifting to see it in the midst of such a sad post. It came just at the right time. Thank you for the photo and poem and I hope you know you have the support of many people.

paris parfait said...

A terrible loss, dear Tammy. You honour Helen's memory with your incredible fighting spirit and how you live your life to the fullest, every single day. My thoughts are with you, dear heart. Stay strong! Wonderful Mary Oliver poem. xo

Chris G said...

I am so sorry about your friend. Trevor got to learn a lot about ALS yesterday when we watched a special on Hawking's Paradox theory. The show was about the theory on black holes but also showed how the ALS progressed from the time he was a child until now. I thought of you when they mentioned how he defied the medical odds time and time again.

Take care, Tammy.

Remiman said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing with us and thereby allowing us to extend a comforting hug to you.
She is free of the bonds and can move ahead now.
Everyday seize the day....I know you do!

Kim G. said...

{{{you}}} I'm so sorry for your loss. What a blessing to have the memories of your good friendship although nothing can take away the pain of the loss. I'll be praying you and your friend's family feel God's comfort in real and personal ways. Blessings!

Frances said...

Thank you for taking the time to visit me.
You were lucky to have each other.
Both poems are just beautiful.
She was a lovely woman.
Take care.
Keep well.

Jimmy said...

This is the last thing I read tonight, and I can promise I will say a prayer for Helen. ALS is a cruel thing, and I hope now that she will rest in the peace she had too little of.

You take care of you, tonight, ok?

emmapeelDallas said...


I'm so sorry to hear about Helen.

Jimmy is right, you take care of you tonight.


Crafty Green Poet said...

So sorry about Helen. Thanks for sharing the poem.

GreenishLady said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend, but glad to know that she is now at peace. My prayers are for peace and healing for all of you who loved her. The Mary Oliver poem was such a perfect tribute. Blessings to you.

Star said...

Feeling the loss with you Tammy. Thank you for your e-mail updates; I've really appreciated them. Each week as we share One Deep Breath, I'll remember her spirit and determination.

What a beautiful tribute to share Mary Oliver's words. Blessings to you.

Becca said...

I'm so saddened by Helen's death. What a loss for her beautiful family and all her friends.

This poem is a beautiful way to think of her now, "following the ocean's edge," home to peace.

KG said...

Tammy, I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you, Helen and all the "Daily Warriors" in the fight against ALS in my thoughts and prayers.

Blessing to you, Strong One. xxoo

Pam said...

May Helen rest peacefully in the arms of the angels.

I am so sorry, my dear, sweet friend.

The Dream said...

Deepest sympathy, Tammy. What a magnificent poem ... I value what you share on your blog, more than I can ever say. Thank you.

Tinker said...

I'm so very, very sorry, Tammy. This was a beautiful tribute to your friend. Sending loving thoughts and prayers your way, my brave warrior friend, as well as many (((HUGS)))

gautami tripathy said...

Beautiful tribute to your friend. May her soul rest in peace.

Hugs for you. Be strong.

BTW, you page takes a long time to load. Will you please chk it out?

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Tammy, I read this again seeing as I was here for your haiku! I love this poem, it really haunts me and its a wonderful tribute! Hope you're okay.

bella said...

I'm so sorry Tammy for the loss of your Warrior friend. I prayed for her.. I'm so glad she came into your life and you were able to connect. My sympathies to you. I'm sure she'll be your angel now.

Clare said...

Yes, my sympathies, Tammy. I'm sure you brought her great companionship and comfort and some part of her lives on through you and your words.

turquoise cro said...

(((((((Tammy))))))) xoCinda

daisies said...

oh tammy ... tears fall and i have no words but i send you my love and wrap a warm hug around you heart ...

Anonymous said...


Thank you again for your love and support. I would like to continue for my mother if that would be okay. I don't want to see her blog go away. Please keep in touch.



chiefbiscuit said...

I am so sorry about Helen - especially for her family who now have to come to terms with the loss of someone unique, special and beloved. I am sorry that you have to go through the grief too of losing a friend.