Posts Tagged ‘grief’


seagull pendant


I wear the old necklace

a gift from my son


he tells me

  to stop saying

  if only and should’ve


he bought it

with his pizza money


it was nobody’s fault

   he says.

   I want to believe


his heart was young

and vital then


he would’ve hated

   the hospital with all

   those tubes and machines


whenever I wore it

he was proud and happy


the coroner said

   it was probably quick

   which was a blessing


like a pewter seagull




©  2017  Betty Hayes Albright



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I hear it sing

through the kitchen window

your old wind chime

its long weathered pipes

clanging across the wetlands

echoing up the hillside.

You wave to me now


from the crest

of a mighty gale

roaring through the heavens

and away.


©  2017  Betty Hayes Albright 


(For my late son Arlie, who would be turning 45 on July 29th)



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There’s no warning.

Grief leaks from my eyes

staining my cheeks

the same way

my blouse

became soaked

with milk

between feedings

when he was an infant.

It’s what happens.


(c) 2017  Betty Hayes Albright


Arlie 12 19 08

Arlie in 2008




1973 – Happy days. Arlie sitting on his great-grandmother’s lap with older brother Jason.




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Is grief a particle

or a wave

that washes over


the speed of light

bending space around

our massive loss?


Or is it just

the parenthetic spark

in an equation


the final proof

that love

connects us all?


©  2017  Betty Hayes Albright 


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They say it’s coming

strong winds

unusual for June.

Large trees bursting

with foliage

are at risk.


They say his heart

was enlarged

(with generosity)

at risk

for a death

out of season.


Tomorrow when the storm hits

I will go outside

and stand among the trees.



© 2017  Betty Hayes Albright


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Geologists warn,
officials ignore,
give out permits anyway.

Don’t worry,
build your homes out there,
the mountain side
could never slide
that far.

But it did.

And now the fingers
start to point
as they always do.
And to the victims
all the points are moot.

© 2014 Betty Hayes Albright


Thoughts and prayers to all the victims and their families

after the huge, deadly landslide north of us

in Oso, Washington.

As of 4-25-2014: 41 dead, 2 still missing.


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This is a re-post, in memory of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens and the loss of a dear friend.


“Down Moon River on a Cement Slab” *

           To Barbara Pierce Morris Seibold   (1947 – 1980)

(Originally written for Barb on her 33rd birthday. Just 2 months later she died in the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980, along with her husband and two children. She always made me laugh, always found humor in any situation. The last verse was added after she died.)


We had a frog called Inky-Dink

until the pond went dry

and it was time

to go to school.

We threw our homework

in the mud

and laughed

at Mrs. Eagle-Eye.


I slammed your finger

in the locker door,

your nail turned

black and blue.

You laughed

and drained it with a pin

that had a different

point of view.


Then walking home

we yelled at muddy trucks

that splashed our knees

with scum,

and laughing, kicked

fresh Girl Scout cookies

down the street

to spite the crumbs.


On Saturdays

we shopped downtown,

they couldn’t keep us

on the ground.

I lost you

on the 13th floor

but always heard you laughing

through the elevator door.


Dick’s fries were still 11 cents

we ate them

in your green Corvair

and laughed and sang

to KJR

then chased some boys

but not too far.


Once on a dare

we broke into

the secret tunnel

beneath the school.

Our stockings snagged

on gurgling pipes

we swore the air grew hotter

but all the time

we laughed our alma mater.


After senior finals

you threw your gym shoes

from the car.

They landed on a frowning cop

who didn’t want to celebrate.

You laughed

at the $30 fine

and went to graduate.


One day we met

with shining rings

and home grown bellies

laughing at the years gone by.

We drove to show

a favorite teacher

how we’d learned to multiply.


added a few months after Barb died:


No roadblocks ever

held you back

how could you know St. Helen’s

would have heartburn on that day?

She belched,

I felt the earth shake

when you died

and all was ash.

But somehow from deep inside

I know you’ll have the final laugh.


© Betty Hayes Albright 1979, 1980, 2015


*  Title comes from the time a DJ on the radio said, “And now we’re gonna float down Moon River on a cement slab” as he spun that popular song. We laughed till we cried. (Guess you woulda had to be there. 🙂 )



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.When a tree is taken down

we grieve its silhouette collapsing

from a stricken sky.

It leaves a phantom

in the corner of our eye,

the shadow of a stolen trunk,

the staunching of osmosis.

And so we wet the earth

with tears

and scatter seeds

among the foddered roots

and lo!

we hear a Gaia song –

a forestation aria

of green

that fills

the empty valley

after we are gone.



© 2012, 2016  Betty Hayes Albright


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(Written in 1992… I don’t usually post such “heavy” poems, and promise to post something cheerier next time.)


I didn’t cry


when my brother died.

Everyone around me did

but I was just in shock

that my wish

for more attention

from my parents

had come true.

My fleeting thoughts

had killed him

and put my mom

to bed with grief

and made my daddy drink.


They all went to the funeral,

I was too young, they said.

But I knew the real reason

and stayed at home

with guilt as my discomforter

and none to share the blame.


(c)  1992,  2012  Betty Hayes Albright


(My brother, whom I idolized, was eight when he died of polio in 1952. I was five.  From the onset of the disease to his death, only 48 hours passed. Through the years no one talked about it. Of course my parents were devastated, and they didn’t have “grief counseling” back then. It took 40 years for me to finally come to terms with my feelings.)

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He threw his clock

into the sea,

tossed the years

into the fire,

trod the foothills

higher still than yesterday.

Beyond the summits

of tomorrow

rising past the craters

of his grief

he danced and fell

and danced some more –

he  laughed and wept

and laughed again.

And that’s when lightning struck.

With open eyes

and flashing needles

all his poems

were loving-sewn

into the walls

of evermore

and Cosmos was complete.


(c) 2011 Betty Hayes Albright

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