Love Lives on

Valentine’s Day brings many mixed feelings for those who have lost loved ones this past year. Covid-19 took its toll around the world, and it wasn’t just older folks who succumbed to the virus. You might think losing the one you loved has left you empty; but love remains. I wrote this a couple of years ago, but I feel it is appropriate to post again this year.

They’re gone

but love’s not lost

Pain entangles in every bone

Love remains…

not in the devastating loss;

But in you.

Love comes from deep within;

Definitely not a superficial thing…

Rooted deep in your heart and soul

Loss brings manic feelings

rushing into scary dips

Love is rooted deeper

than whispers from the lips;

Yours alone to give or keep.

A treasure of the heart

does not come cheap.

Though one you loved is gone

your gift of love remains;

To share at will

should you choose again

to give away or keep

*

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Dedicated to all those who have lost loved ones this past year

The Unanswered Questions of War

(Written just prior to the first Iraq war)

What do you say to the little girl’s mom

When all she has left is the child in her arms

And the girl is there, and the girl is dead…

What do you say to the little girl’s mom?

*Refrain:

What do you say when no answers come

When the battle is over and the war is won

How can you say it was worth the cost

When the one you loved most is lost?

*

What do you say to the mother whose son

Was killed in the war so that freedom is won

And the boy is there and the boy is dead…

What do you say to the mother at home?

*

What do you say to the young wife at home

When all she has left is the flag in her palms?

And her husband is there, and her husband is dead

What do you say to the young wife at home?

*Refrain:

What do you say when no answers come

When the battle is over and the war is won

How can you say it was worth the cost

When the one you loved most is lost?

*

What do you say to the little girl’s Mom…

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Dwight L. Roth 3/03 & 4/04 Originally written as a song…

Today at d’Verse, Bjorn asked us to write a war poem. War is such a tragedy, with so many lives lost and maimed. But the saddest part is collateral damage of children killed in the carnage. I was asked, before the first invasion of Iraq, what I thought about President Bush sending troupes over there. I said it will probably end up being another Viet Nam. A no win war with extreme losses. With the second invasion and the expansion into Afghanistan, it has become a quicksand for the US. This is my song I wrote back at the beginning, as I thought of all those families that would be displaced and permanently damaged by the war.

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Never Give Up

I was sad to hear today that Jeopardy host Alex Tribek had died from Pancreatic Cancer. He resolved to work as long as possible, Even with chemo treatments and pain, he worked until two weeks ago. Unlike the butterfly in the pictures, he did not show his battle scars. He carried on until the end and never gave up. An example for all of us.

Battle scars showing

Butterfly never gives up

We miss you, Alex

I saw this beautiful creature on my butterfly bush a couple of years ago. It has much of it tails shredded and missing. It seemed unphased as it flitted from flower to flower drawing strength. Even with all its damage, its true colors still came through. These photos seemed to fit so well with the passing of Alex Trebek.

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

He’s Gone!

Inhaling smoke from your flame

Burning in the heat of the moment

You were warned, you were told

Did you listen? No!

Now you will burn

Like flash paper in a magician’s hand

Combustible feelings up in smoke

That mind-blowing moment gone

Your all-consuming desire

Not quite what you expected

Leaving ashes for memories

Dust in the wind

He’s gone!

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Red Moon Rising

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     Tears flowed like a downpour on a hot summer day. All around, Jennifer could see the wives of the miners in Swift Creek Mine. Earlier that morning, an explosion trapped eight men in the far end of the shaft. Three of Jennifer’s friends were among the women anxiously awaiting their fate.

     The siren on top of the tipple sent shrill chills through the little coal patch. At times like this, the whole neighborhood rushed to the mine for word of who the trapped miners might be. Those whose husbands were safe, stayed to give comfort and support.

A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills of the Monongahela. Jennifer could only wonder when it would be her time to weep; having a husband and son who worked there.

     Everyone went silent… as the men were carried out… one by one!

Painting of Coke Ovens and Mine: Dwight L. Roth

Prosery today at d’Verse: Lillian gave us the challenge to write a flash fiction of exactly 144 words that includes a given line from Carl Sandburg’s poem, Jazzy Fantasia . The line I included was A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills…  This story comes from memories of my childhood in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Many lives were lost in the coal mining industry that supported our steel mills in Pittsburgh at the time.

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Nothing is Permanent

 

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I was sad to receive word last week that that my childhood neighbor had passed away at age 94. He was such a creative and talented man and father of a my childhood friend and playmate. When I saw him two years ago, he still had many good memories to share. It reminded me once again of the impermanence of life.
100_0192 (2)        It has been over fifty years since I lived next door in my childhood home, which now gives the impression of impermanence as you can see. This evening Merril, at d’Verse Poets Pub, asked us to write a poem that reflects on the significance of impermanence.

Nature reminds us
Everything in life changes;
The sun still rises.
But houses deteriorate;
And good friends and neighbors die.
***
Photo: Dwight L. Roth

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Where Have You Been?

My father-in-law. who had Alzheimer’s, was confined several years ago after his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This all took place within a month and a half. Initially we took him to visit her in her care facility across the city; but. he forgot he saw her by the time he got back to his residence.
It was very difficult for him that first year and after she passed away. When we went to visit we found notes written on his dinner napkins asking where she was and why she did not come back. It was heartbreaking to read his pleas for answers. Although we explained everything to him it was not long till he again asked the same questions. The note writing stopped after about a year. He seemed to be resigned that he was there by himself and only asked about her on occasion. He was there for five years and died in 2018.

In the winter of life the fog sets in
obscuring the obvious and familiar
Leaving one to memories past;
today’s events already forgotten.
A perspective very different
from yours and mine;
Time stands still …
like looking in a mirror to the past;
Closing the windows of the present.
Anxieties not understood
plague the mind and thoughts.
Looking for a spouse long gone;
Expecting to see her any moment;
Wondering where she is
and when she will return.
Distraught to the point of resignation
the fog becomes more intense.
Time slows down as the hour glass trickles
until finally // the top glass is empty.

This beautifully haunting song by Kathy Mattea helps bring the sadness of this disease into perspective.

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Surreal Dreams

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The tragic death of basketball star Kobe Bryant, his daughter, along with seven others in a helicopter crash once again reminds all of us that ,”life is but a dream!” It can be taken from us in an instant. It is so sad when lives are taken in their prime. For those left behind it must all seem like a bad dream.

Sudden death brings shock
Like living a dream too surreal
Never forgotten
Their spirit’s always with us
A deep sadness lies within

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

At d’verse Lillian asked to write a poem about dreams. There are many kinds of dreams. I chose to reflect on the events of this week, and the lives lost in California.

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Patriotic Pride

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On a trip to Myrtle Beach, we saw this truck parked on a corner, in front of a motel where everyone would see. The U.S. Army flag was kept unfurled with a rod. Many returning Veterans wanted all to know that though they came back home, some of their fellow soldiers did not survive. Patriotism and Pride runs deep this Memorial Day.

Band of Brothers’ bond

runs deep, remembering those

flag covered coffins

**********

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Invisible Feelings of Loss

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What do you say to one who has lost
A spouse… a child… or a loved one dear…
When ceremony has passed and flowers have faded?
How do we handle those feelings of loss
For a week or two we might inquire…
Wondering how they are doing; in their quiet solitude
Of grief and pain; in the empty spaces of the heart.
But time goes on, those questions retire.
Pain and loss become invisible feelings
That friends have talked about long enough…
Lest repetition stir up more than they can handle.
It’s time to pass over those invisible feelings!
No time for the crying heart; only a mask of smiles // “I’m fine”;
But, if you look closely, invisible feelings are glistening in their eyes.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Merril, at d/Verse, asked us to think about things around us that we miss or have made invisible. She asked us to be creative in our responses, so I decided to write about invisible feelings. It is often hard to know what to say to someone who has had a great loss in their family. Perhaps it is just better to be there for them. Talking some times gets in the way.

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