Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

“At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.”
Paulo Coehlo

I slip silently into the darkened room. In the far corner, a soft light outlines her shilouette, her shrunken body. The rasp of labored breathing, the bubbling of the oxygen humidifier, the acrid scent of dying—all these combine to paint a canvas of loss.

When I touch the satiny finish of her duvet, light floods my memory and the room comes alive once more. In the far corner, stands her rocking chair—that sacred place where we used to spend hours—she: the storyteller, I: the eager child planted on her lap, soaking in adventure and myths of “happily ever after.”

Our happy room–no longer. I sink into the now-empty chair and wait.

outside the window
blackbirds caw—silence finches
real life dispels dreams

Posted for Mary’s prompt at dVerse Poetics to write about a ROOM, with a nod to Grace’s choice of quotes at Haibun Monday.




31 thoughts on “Keeping Watch

  1. Kate Mia says:

    Moment Room..
    point awareness..
    when former
    tenant feelings
    move out oF
    room now..
    logic.. oh..
    we.. elevate you
    through life
    iN culTure
    dreams off.. dead..
    Enjoy now..
    come again..:)


  2. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    Moving in its resignation.


  3. As I make my way through the “rooms” conjured up by this prompt, I keep hoping I’ll find a happy one. I suppose there is at least the memory of happiness in yours, though the loss and emptiness are palpable in your words. Simply lovely. Peace, Linda


  4. The empty chair image is so moving and such a reminder. I just sat in my mothers chair after she died for some hours. It helped. I love the way the haibun form works for this and the haiku outside.


  5. Misky says:

    I’m always told I’m overly sentimental, so you’ll not be surprised that I adore this poem.


  6. Em says:

    “all these combine to paint a canvas of loss” … I love this.

    Also, have you ever noticed that “satiny” is so very close to “sanity”? How soothing just the right textures can be for our mental states.

    This is another favorite section: “I: the eager child planted on her lap, soaking in adventure and myths”

    The perfect closing: “I sink into the now-empty chair and wait.”

    There is no resolution. And yet, life still keeps moving forward.

    ~Until it doesn’t.


  7. lillian says:

    Beautiful as a haibun and as a description of a room….waiting.
    We too have such a rocking chair in our family — it’s been passed on to our daughter, who rocked her babes there too. Many a song and story….thank you for this beautiful post.


  8. Bryan Ens says:

    I love your weaving of past and present in this…how those memories can bring joy, even in the midst of sorrow.


  9. Sumana Roy says:

    you’ve weaved so powerfully dream, reality and deep emotion in this haibun…


  10. jaybluepoems says:

    Beautifully done. The icon of the rocking chair, granting solace, and time.


  11. Candy says:

    what precious memories you’ve shared with us


  12. This is beautiful… and so sad.


  13. Grace says:

    How sad to find that happy place to be an empty chair, waiting & keeping watch ~ I pray that things will be okay with you & your family Victoria ~


  14. Bodhirose says:

    How fortunate you were to have such an engaged grandmother, Victoria. That’s who I hope to be to little Mira…someone that she will fondly remember. Glad to hear your mother is doing a little better. Please know I’m thinking of you and she both.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. whimsygizmo says:

    I love your prompt mashup here, Victoria. What is it about blackbirds? I ku’ed them, too. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So many memories contained in a room. Especially those where so much life has happened! Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sherry Marr says:

    “Real life dispels dreams”. I really feel this poem, Victoria, can see the room so clearly, that little girl who believed in happy ever afters………the blackbirds silencing the finches is a very apt ending… (my grandmatold me endless stories too – she was the bulwark of my childhood.)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    Beautifully poignant!

    Lots of love,

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ShirleyB says:

    Your poem leaves no doubt it flowers from grand mother strength. Know that she retains her strength in immortality. x

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Gabriella says:

    This is a beautiful and vivid scene, Victoria! I also like how you linked a painful present and sweet memories so closely together in this touching haibun.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This is so touching.. those memories especially with that rocking chair… stories told from that is so much of us, I really love how you create of sense of being there on the edge … waiting.. I so hope that you can cope… whatever strength I can send you is yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Bjorn. This is actually a memory of my grandmother who read to me daily when we lived with them after WWII. I spoke to my Mom last night and she sounded a little better. When someone you love lives to be 95 and has dementia, the process of loss begins a long time in advance of the loss itself. I think you know that, too. I will decide today if I need to go to her or not. I appreciate your support.


  22. Mary says:

    Oh, Victoria, this is so very poignant. You have used that quotation & the idea of “room” to evoke such a heartfelt scene. I was right there in that room with you, flooded with memories…..looking back with you at the time when all of life was ahead and happily ever after was on the horizon rather than in the distant background of memory!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A beautifull companion piece to your other Haibun Monday poem. Wishing you courage, strength and acceptance.

    Liked by 1 person

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