Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in poems

January 2010

Sobering month.
Pulmonary embolism
we mistook for asthma,
barely treated in time.
You could have died.
I could now mourn,
close my first widow year.
Instead, we plan road trip
through Civil Rights sites,
update our bird lists,
wake in each others' arms.
Each day I remember January
and give you an extra kiss.

February 2010

Last winter's babies
turn one, chase in park
on strong little legs, laugh.
Scruffy Duffy dog wags
wiggly into family hearts,
funny, furry. Still I worry
if family has strength, hope
reserve, forgiveness to thrive
as winter warms into spring.

March 2010

Redbuds bloom.
I hold on,
hope against hope,
for new energy
to face old problems.
I hold on,
deny inevitable force
of winds of change.

April 2010

Your son naps beneath mural of Grove of The Patriarchs,
on hot Texas afternoon, sweaty sleepy, post park,
You nurse him on his own big bed, kiss damp curls,.
in the room that was yours until you made it his,
the room I decorated with rainbows for you
before you were born, the room from which I rescued
you at three from raging midnight flames, the room
whose furniture you rearranged so many teen age nights,
the room in which "You are My Sunshine".still echoes.
in the voice of your father, dead before memories settled.

You left at seventeen, started college early, found love,
made a home, made art, longed for babies, cried, laughed,
built strong marriage, took your husband to your sanctuary,
of cool misty air, soft filtered light, life rising from life.
Grove of the Patriarchs on slopes of Mt. Ranier,
took off your shoes and lay, silent, vulnerable, still
within ancient circle of holy trees, barren among
nurse logs, You lost a daughter, gave birth to a son,
brought him home to your grove within his own room.
Your son naps beneath mural of Grove of Patriarchs.

May 2010

anxiety rises
heart races
hands shake
no monster threatens
no deadline looms
no illness dooms
nothing external
justifies fear
anxiety rises
on her own terms
monster enough

June 2010

One foot in front of the other,
when best efforts fail.
One foot in front of the other.
when love fails to heal,
one foot in front of the other.,
when prayers ring empty,
one foot in front of the other.
when protection fails,
one foot in front of the other,
when fear clouds reason,
one foot in front of the other,
no matter what demons,
one foot in front of the other.

July 2010

You tell me what you think will make me proud.
I recognise the hollows. I did it too,
managed impression, with both of my parents,
let them believe I cared about getting the PhD,
scrubbed the baseboards before visits, practiced
the order of introductions, even took down the
yard sign for candidates and causes they despised.
I tried so hard to be a different kind of mother,
one you could tell, show anything, everything.
Effort does not always pay off. I keep trying.

August 2010

I struggle to write about family. Too complex, close to the bone, mixed. Did I raise a good family? Did I do my best? Does that even matter? What will happen to my daughters, their children? What choices will they make, what impact? how much of that is my responsibility and how much can I still change? Family is so vital, so intense, so mixed. I need it so much - need my daughters to be strong and ethical and good - so I can know I succeeded and so I can feel their love and strength flowing back at me. Classic attachment. I know that. Spiritually I know how to practice detaching, letting the strings out, loving without conditions. I struggle to write about family because I resent the rightness of detaching. I want to be able to want what I want in this area and get it. I just want us all to love each other and be good people and be OK, and I know family is never that simple.

Never Simple

Family is never simple,
crucible of survival
attachment essential,
mouth to nipple, breath
fed first,joy in present
hope for future. Impossible
to detach completely when
they are grown, to give
them back to the universe,
to release judgement of
my essence, my life, my soul
dependent on their choices.
Family is never simple.

September 2010

Autumn brings harvest
not only sobering fall
of bright dead leaves.

Next year's rich harvest
depends on leaf energy
released by flaming death.

Autumn sings in minor key.
Autumn rhythms tell truth.
Life depends on death

October 2010

Sun deserts, shadow deepens before supper.
Acorns, feathers, pecans, fall from violet sky
Disquiet rides with waxing gibbous moon.
Mars hangs heavy, red over dry creek bed.
Frogs have gone from pond, fireflies from field.
Sleeping grandson in stroller, Sheltie on leash,
Barred owl in oak, heart in chest cry warning.
Death, life, intuition, hope, truth, illusion, fear
blow in cold from north. Reality flickers when
autumn falls. Bright spring morning lies far behind,
far ahead. Stormy autumn evening, I know nothing
for sure, meet my demons, dance with my dead.

November 2010

At 54, you graduated, new teacher
second career, masters' degree, rightful
use of your gifts, shared dream,
chance for me to help you help kids.

I loved to make name tags
each August, learn names for
each new class, mentor sad girls,
teach fourth graders story telling.

You were a teacher and I was
your wife. We crafted our own
informal Peace Corps volunteerism.
Dream fed our need to help.

It's all over now. You want out of
the classroom after seven years,
some sweetness, too many shut minds,
Frustration that your gifts ring hollow.

The door is locked No good to bang
it with my fists. I lean against shut door
to your classroom, smell chalk dust,catch
breath. Check out the hall for new dreams.

December 2010

Shorter days follow
longer nights. Darkness
chills every hollow.
Still hope whispers
there is light enough.

Victoria Hendricks
poems compiled December 31, 2010


  1. Victoria, this is a wonderful recounting of your year. I am so glad you posted it. Your year was filled with so much, ups and downs...but I know it ended on a high note! Have a good 2011.

  2. What an amazing woman and writer you are. Your words resonate truth and mirror many of my own myriad experiences. We creators, I've said time and again, often walk the same paths without knowing the good company we keep. I am happy to have found you via Poets United.

  3. Mary, love, your comments mean so much to me. And Kim, thanks for finding my blog. Interesting that our paths seem to parallel. Do you have a poetry blog? I'd love to get to see your work.