Several hours spent with the baby girl,
three of those hours she spent sleeping.
A growth spurt has her needing more
rest and ravenous when she wakes up.

She didn’t want to go for a walk in
the stroller so I parked it by the
pond–the one where the fish
immediately show up in the
shallows, hoping for a tossed snack
and I held her on my lap.

She quieted as I pointed out
the turtles’ heads poking up out of
the water, watching us, they too
hoping for a tasty handout.

Look how the lily pads lay so flat
on the surface of the water.  Look,
there’s the hawk being chased by
an angry blue jay.  Hear the bamboo
clanking quietly (the wind is low today).
Smell the delicate fragrance wafting
from the colorful bed of petunias.
Feel my arms around you, my heart
matching beats with yours.
Home, I fix leftovers from the night
before for my late lunch, Taco Soup
and homemade corn bread and a small
side of cranberry, orange relish–my
mother’s recipe made during holidays.

Turning on the television, I see a “Special
Report”, they’re talking about a shooting
and I think briefly that it’s an update on
the recent mall shootings.  But no, I learn
of a more current lethal and senseless act of
yet another taking of multiple, innocent lives
that happened while I was babysitting
my own precious, innocent life.

I sob as I listen to our President offer
his condolences to more grieving citizens.
I cry for the parents who don’t have
another day with their children.

What will it take to bring a halt to these acts?
What the hell are we waiting for?
My tears change to outrage.

Brian Miller hosts today at dVerse Poets asking us to try our hands at “the small stuff”…paying attention to details:

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Leave a comment


  1. Yes, what will it bring.


  2. Yesterday I missed my little girls visit as I had to work. Loved your words Gayle and life is so full when its filled with such bundles of Joy. Enjoy every moment. Love and Hugs Sue xxx


    • I can imagine how you look forward to your little granddaughter’s visits, Sue…sorry you missed one of them. My hours with her are spent so focused on her…even as she sleeps. 🙂 I’m loving every moment.
      Love and hugs,
      Gayle :~)


  3. After yesterday I am reminded that hell is alive and well. Your writing is beautiful, your descriptions of the scene at the pond are so lovely. The cranberry-orange relish sounds delicious! Wonderful write.


    • It sure is, Poet Laundry…sadly so. Thank you for the lovely compliments. Here’s the recipe for that relish…super simple if you are so inclined: Take one small bag of cranberries and one naval orange (unpeeled)…grind together in a food processor…add 3/4 Cup of sugar (or to taste). Enjoy!


  4. i wonder what we can do to stop it.. think we have to go down to the roots really cause what we see is just what is above ground…and we’re ghost hunting symptoms instead of really working on the soil..


    • I tend to agree with you, Claudia. Our society has been “percolating” these behaviors for many years…we need to pull ourselves together and find the root cause…and work on the remedy.


  5. Beautifully writtten Gayle with a massive mix of emotions I can relate to in every. way and which lead me to feel the need to gather all my grandchildren and even my grown children around me for my protection. Very sad indeed.

    Much lo e



    • Thank you, Christine. I don’t think I’ve ever been affected so deeply by the news of another shooting as I was with this one. I’m guessing because most of the victims were so young and defenseless. Of course, thought of my own family and little Mira in particular.


  6. Gayle, this is so touching. How a beautiful day can be shattered to bits by this great tragedy… you’ve captured it well, great work.


  7. your questions in the end are resonating with all of us right now…how do we end this…what will it take for us to wake up and realize something has gone horribly wrong…cant imagine those parents waking up the following day to an empty bed where a child was before…


    • Well, it’s time those questions had some concrete answers, don’t you think? We can’t keep putting off taking action…our safety and lives depend on it…


  8. Laurie Kolp

     /  December 16, 2012

    The contrast here is palpable… such a horrific act… there will be tears for years to come.


  9. Our hearts are still broken ~ Very touching write Gayle ~


  10. Indeed — well written!


  11. Two different moods in this poem. What a contrast…the peacefulness in the first half and the disbelief / sadness / questioning in the second half. That’s how it goes sometimes in life, isnt it? Unexpectedly we are thrown a curve ball we didn’t see coming…… A strong write, Gayle.


    • Yes, we sure can be thrown some heavy duty curve balls in life though you never imagine that this sort of thing will happen to you. I sure hope this isn’t going to become our new “normal”. Thank you, Mary.


  12. Gayle, I can see so clearly you and Mira beside the pong, the turtles poking up their heads (what do they EAT?) and smiled to think of how you showing her the beauty of the natural world is a gift she will carry her entire life, as my grandkids do. To go from such beauty to the tv news is as heartwrenching as it gets. Thanks for writing this. It is how we are all feeling – things look “normal” around us. But they are not.


    • Ilike that you could see us, Sherry. I think it’s such an important gift. It cultivates thought for other beings, compassion, curiosity and understanding. I think those turtles eat insects, small fish, some water plants. And bread by people visiting!

      As I said to Mary, I hope this isn’t becoming our new “normal”. It is unacceptable.


  13. You’ve expressed the feelings and asked the questions for all of us. This is a dark, dark shadow over our land and many of us sit helpless with our tears.

    Well done, Gandma Gayle.


    • Thank you, Jamie. It does seem to me that we are living under a dark shadow. What’s going on? Somehow, it feels that there is a tremendous disconnect going on…


  14. I cried, too, when I listened to the President. Hold that baby close, Gayle.


  15. Your poem captured the sudden change of that day – from the warmth of the best of life as children should enjoy it and we so want for them, to the horror of a moment and a twisted and soulless act. I think about it all the time, especially before going to sleep at night. Oh, I so pray that mankind will turn away from the road of violence … I might call it senseless, but isn’t all violence so?

    As your poem so beautifully illustrates, these tragedies make us treasure our blessings, like you dear Mira, more. I hope that light and love surround her all her days.


    • Yes, the change from the loving experience with Mira to coming home and finding that horrible news was just too much. Yes, I surely agree, all violence is senseless. Like I did with my own two girls, I want Mira to be protected from all harm. Thank you so much for those generously kind words of hope for her, Diane. I so appreciate them.



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