Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Transitional Moments Captured in Poetry: A Few New Poems by Yours Truly

First, a poem about so many people I know, facing new physical limitations, forced job changes, or abrupt endings to life as they knew it....

By Susan L. Lipson                                                      

"Well, I used to be a..."
He pauses.
Hearing his own regrets
in casual conversation 
sparks an epiphany:
Time to BE,
who he is now.
Time to accept
and roll onward--

And now a personal poem, about becoming an "empty nester":

Tides of Change
By Susan L. Lipson

Sometimes a wave hits me,
knocks me over with a question:
Is this really not temporary--
are my kids really not coming home to live with me again?
And I think I might drown in my lonely cup of coffee,
at a table meant for five.
But then, into my paddling hands, float lovely seashells:
a phone message, a text, an email
from one of them,
and my buoyancy returns
to keep me afloat.

And finally, a poem based on my first published poem, about a shocking moment in the life of a new doctor--a poem featuring a few simultaneous transitions, colored by irony:


Unscrewing the top of the bottle of nail polish,
Aachooing from the odor of the “Pink Pearl” liquid,
Eschewing her desire to paint her left hand first with her steadier right fingers,
Renewing the brightness of her thick, yellowed nails,
Undoing the ancient look of her wrinkled hands,
Subduing the wave of wistfulness she feels about her once lovely skin,
Imbuing every stroke with a feeling of accomplishment,
Reviewing the accuracy of her colorful coverage,
Redoing the nails that show thin spots,
Pursuing beauty until…
 she dies, and a medical student begins
Undoing it all with a scalpel:

Dissecting the withered hands,
Inspecting the bones, tendons, and ligaments of his live model,
Protecting the structure to keep it intact as he is
Detecting the actual parts that were mere terminology until now;
Respecting the complexity of this appendage, while
Rejecting the sight of the chipping pink nail polish to keep it from
Affecting his composure by
Connecting this hand to an old woman, who only weeks ago, was
Selecting this pink color to paint over her nails, and never
Suspecting that the color would outlive her—No!
Correcting his use of her to it in his mind,
Electing to ignore the one sign of humanness that remains, and
Reflecting on that irony.

 The transition of one of my favorite children's authors, Natalie Babbitt, whose writing days ended forever a couple of days ago, made me feel contemplative today. Words left in others' memories carve out our place on this planet better than any tombstone markers.