I heard the news in the 2nd year of school
of a little girl’s mother passing away,

my blue-eyed friend
with delicate Hungarian features
and long hair carefully braided.

I didn’t understand,
not possible,
everyone had a mother, to be there

Who would hold your hand on the walk to school
stroke your blond hair with fortitude
soothe your troubled dreams

but your sweet mother had gone to heaven

I didn’t understand
how hard it was for a man, your father
to bring up three kids
while driving a bus for a living, balancing the shifts
learning to cook
learning how to wash, iron, clean, make lunches, be there for you
learning to be alone with three kids
while his empty heart
with shrapnel.

At your father’s funeral
memories and feelings
to tell a story spoken out loud
for the first time

and nothing could stop my tears
as I began to understand.


For you Marilyn

22 thoughts on “Shrapnel

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  1. Oh, how incredibly sad. I feel just awful for that poor little girl. The image of the empty heart rattling with shrapnel is such a melancholy one. I could weep. So well written.

  2. A beautiful poem, full of heartbreak and a gentle realisation. The rhythm of your words feels deliberate and soothing, perhaps like the love of a mother?

  3. You are a smart cookie Garbrielle and stupendous human being. This poem was by far one of your best and the emotions it inspired moved through me like a little storm. HUGS

  4. It is so amazing to look back at things in our past and view them now with the knowledge of the years…how our perspective changes with what we know now…a fine poem.

    1. Yes, one thing that can be guaranteed is that a perspective will change when looked at from a different angle (and how stubborn teenagers are with refusing to budge from a paricular perspective because they of course know it all – haha). Thanks slpmartin.

  5. this made me cry inside, i’m vulnerably weak when it comes to topics discussing about family. i don’t know why. by the way, thanks to your visit and comment on my poem. it strengthens me in a way you could ever imagine.

    wonderfully written poem with lots and lots of heart and sentiment.all the best.

  6. That is a brilliant piece Gabe. You have a gift with the language. Are you published anywhere apart from the blog? Hope you, Shirl and the kids are good. xx

    1. Scotty! Thanks for dropping by 🙂 with such a nice comment. You will remember Marilyn no doubt. The family is very well at the moment – Shirl is the relaxo man living up her on the shores of Hervey Bay (no more beer plumbing – he gave that up about 5 years ago – he does some handyman stuff now but not full-time, which suits us). I have had my stuff published in some journals and on ABC radio (I’ve listed which ones under my poetry bio on top of the blog) – I’ve only been doing this stuff for just over a year, but it’s a lot of fun and keeps me out of trouble – hahaha.

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