little autumn leaf

photo-21You floated into our lives ~
an autumn leaf edged in gold,
a tiny froth of smile and grumble,
a lifetime of grit and grizzle.

Your mind over-larded and lost
in the never-land of ninety years.
Yours such a small body, such pain.

So bravely, autumn leaf, you chose
the wind on which to slip away,
leaving us to the emptiness of your
special chair and our wistful hearts.

For Mary Kate

© 2010/poem, 2014/photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

sleeping without walls

photo-19the fields that year taught the art of sleeping outside,
sleeping without walls, watching the stars and moon,
harvesting dreams from sunsets and morning dew

we slept in bedrolls configured of old white sheets
and army surplus blankets made of khaki wool
Did my uncles have those during the war?
i wondered, i pondered on many things, and

those months held sundry delights, climbing trees
and eating cherries without washing them . . . oh!
and there were blueberry bushes and fig trees and
i lined the path to the food hut with Sunday stones,
my own bare prayer while the big girls were at Mass

i marveled at my middle-aged mother’s plump knees
and marked her spirit for wearing shorts, joining
in children’s games and singing ‘round the fire

now i wonder at summer camp morphing into metaphor ~
all her life Mom lived with her yield of dreams,
an outsider artist sleeping without walls . . .

© 2014, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Providence or Folly?

photo-13Lacking discretion . . .
she mistook agenda for wisdom
and suffering for sanctity.
She confused sex with intimacy
and saccharine with sincerity.
Because she endured,
she thought she was strong.
She fancied pain was her Cross
and treasured the confines
of her dark, singular world,
mistaking the fallout born of folly
for her God’s perfect plan.

© 2014 poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

To Alef, to the only home there is: one another’s hearts

Be the Peace (c) Jamie Dedes

Be the Peace

“To Alef, the letter
that begins the alphabets
of both Arabic and Hebrew ~
two Semitic languages
sisters for centuries.

May we find the language
that takes us
to the only home there is ~
one another’s hearts ….”

- Ibtisam Barakat

Ibtisam Barakat praying for peace.

Ibtisam Barakat praying for peace.

This poem is from TAKING THE SKY: A Palestinian Childhood by the Palestinian-American poet, writer, educator and humanitarian, Ibtisam Barakat (ابتسام بركات).

Ibtisam is from Ramallah, a Palestinian city north of Jerusalem. She came to the United States to work an internship with The Nation. She taught at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

Ibtisam works tirelessly with children and adults to encourage creativity and life enrichment. She says, ” All voices are needed for the song of life to have all of its notes.”  Her poetry collection and children’s book, Al Ta’ Al-Marbouta Tateer (The Letter Ta Escapes), have won accolades and awards. She writes in Arabic and in English.

© poem, Ibtisam Barakat; Ibtisam’s photograph, D. Hemingway; “Be the Peace” photograph, Jamie Dedes

it was the golden light


i awoke
it was the golden light
the moon camping out
casting my room in the
glow of its fire

i thought
for a moment
unsure of my place
what city
what state
what day

seconds passed
slowly peeling away
the veil, the confusion
i melt into
the golden light
breathe myself
into sleep again

and done
as easily perhaps
as breathing into
eternal sleep
so frail and fragile
is this anchor
this silver thread
this castle of solitude
this just me
inside me
inside life

© 2013, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

that was everything


first loves
old dreams
childish conjecture

we thought our love could ignite whole cities
in those times when we worshipped the clan,
like elders of old, and ate our insides out over
the silences weighted like hard driven snow and
the doors closed with shattering clangs, hearts
gone cold, icebergs adrift on the sea of being

but shunning became welcome oblivion,
equal parts acceptance and gratitude

listen ~
they danced for a moment
across our blue horizon
that was enough
that was everything

© 2013, poem , Jamie Dedes, All rights reservedPhoto courtesy of morgueFile