Poetry Friday: Poetry Is…a Treasure Hunt, with Darlene Gifford

November 30, 2012 71 Comments by Renee M. LaTulippe

Introducing a new series…

About six months ago I got an email from a lady named Darlene Gifford who wanted to share some of her poems with me. We started chatting via email, and before I knew it, Darlene had given me an idea for a new blog feature.

The “Poetry Is…” series will be an occasional feature written by a guest poster who may or may not have anything to do with the world of kidlit on a professional basis, but who has some sort of special relationship with and story about what poetry has brought to her life.

I’ve titled the series “Poetry Is…” so that the guest poster will have free reign to fill in the blank with whatever word she wants that has something to do with her personal reflection. It could be healing or funny or nostalgic or terrifying or the best thing since sliced bread. The guest may also share some poems, original or not, that have some meaning for her.

I hope this series will be an opportunity for us to connect with poetry readers and those who write just for the joy of it, and to see “poetry in action” and how it can affect people.

Darlene volunteered to be the first guest poster ever on No Water River, and is here today to share the story of her son Gary, who had cystic fibrosis, and what poetry meant and still means to her. I’m honored to welcome her.


POETRY IS…A TREASURE HUNT
by Darlene Gifford 

Darlene Gifford

 

For me, poetry is a treasure hunt. You can find poems anywhere, even under rocks where you might find some fat worms wiggling about. And if you add a funny thought to that, then you have the beginnings of a poem. There are so many things to explore and discover in your life, but sometimes, like buried treasures, you just have to dig for them. I take the treasures that I’ve found and write poems about them.

 

 

 

FOUR POEMS FROM MY TREASURE HUNTS

1.
I went on a treasure hunt
To see what I could find.
Mud balls, when dusted white,
Are summer snowballs
Packed for a fight.

2.
When I saw a brown bird
Swallowing a fat, wiggling worm,
I wondered if eating live things
Would make my belly squirm?

3.
I saw a long line of black
Ants rushing down a hill.
Even little ants, I guess,
Can have a fire drill!

4.
I saw six sizzling hot dogs
Jump off Daddy’s grill.
While Mother played the harmonica
Our dinner danced down the hill.
After them we ran, and we’re running, running, still.

Mud balls, brown birds, hotdogs, and ants
Were the treasures that I found.
You can find them, too.
There are treasures all around.

Looking at everyday things and finding the extraordinary in them is a challenge I enjoy. By using my imagination and asking “what if” questions, and seeking out the “more” in all things, ideas for poems come.

For instance, on a trolley one day, I noticed two little girls giggling – nothing unusual about that. Girls do giggle. But then I saw that people around the girls were being affected and started giggling, too — even me! I knew those giggles were a little poem treasure. I pulled out my notebook and pen, and before I reached my destination, I had written this poem:

A CUP OF GIGGLES

Put some giggles in a cup.
Giggle! Giggle! Fill it up!
Then pass your giggle cup around.
See how many can be found.

But please be very careful
Not to let one giggle spill.
Giggles are infectious,
They’ll escape. Oh, yes they will!

Spilled giggles on the face,
will wipe away a frown.
And giggles blown into the air
Can infect an entire town!

No one can be unhappy
when giggles are in the air.
So share your giggles with a friend,
And spread them everywhere.

But the first poem I ever wrote was buried in the bottom of my purse. Let me explain. My son Gary was born with a chronic illness, cystic fibrosis. The doctors told me there was no cure, only prolonged life through pills and physical therapy that I would give him at home, three times a day. In 1974, many CF children were dying before they reached their teens, though new research and treatments mean their lifespan is considerably longer now.

When Gary was first diagnosed at age three, I remember sitting by his hospital bed while he slept. My nine-year-old son, John, was staying with relatives so I could be with Gary. Tears were flowing freely down my cheeks and I reached inside my purse for a tissue to dry my eyes. But instead of a tissue, my fingers curled around a pen. I pulled it out.

God, are you trying to send me a message? I wondered. Is writing the outlet you want me to use to handle my grief? So I found some paper, picked up the pen, and started writing my first poem – “Not My Son!” – which, years later, shortly before my son’s death, was published in On Children and Death by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. Gary had seen the poem and knew it was being published, but I never showed him the book because of the title. I wanted to keep his spirits high and hopeful as long as possible.

NOT MY SON!

Cystic fibrosis? What does that mean?
How long will he have it, until six or sixteen?
Tell me Doctor, tell me all that you know.
Is this an illness that he will outgrow?

Slow down a minute. Wait. I don’t understand.
You say that he has to have treatments by hand?
I must pound on his chest three times a day,
To loosen the mucus that will not go away.

You say forever, until death? He’ll have this disease.
Not my little Gary? Tell me different, oh, please!
Couldn’t you be mistaken? Won’t you run some more tests?
You’ve just mixed up his x-rays with another child’s chest.

Mist therapy, postural drainage, enzymes, and pills.
You’re telling me this illness debilitates and kills!
There’s no cure, you say. Are you certain of that?
Oh, God! Not my son. No! Not him. Not that!

Gary loved life. And not once did he complain or say “Why me, Mom?” He enjoyed school until he became too weak to attend. His class would send him get-well cards, and that cheered him up. He idolized his brother, John, who was six years older. He followed John around, and most of the time John let him tag along. John was helpful to me by assisting with Gary’s treatments and entertaining him. Gary also loved his grandma, and they spent many happy hours together playing board games.

Gary with his big brother, John

I knew Gary’s time was now, so anything he wanted to do, if at all possible, we did it. He was an angel that God loaned me for just a little while. But at times, I was angry at God. And this little poem showed that.

You have so many flowers, God,
Must you have mine, too?
Daisy, my daisy, I watch the petals fall.

When Gary was six, his doctor said he would not make it through another Iowa winter because he was getting pneumonia so much. I told that doctor, “Well, my son will live!” I packed up our belongings, said goodbye to my parents and friends, and with my two boys boarded the Greyhound bus to Oxnard, California. The climate was better for Gary, and he lived another six years. Six precious years! He went to school, joined the Cub Scouts, was very outgoing, and made friends easily.

Gary and friends (and mom Darlene peeking out!)

Six months before Gary died, he heard about the Children’s Hospital Miracle Network Telethon and wanted to participate. They discharged him from the hospital for a few hours so he could be included. He developed a high fever while there, but my little trooper begged to stay! He did a spot with Richard Chamberlain, who was wonderful to him. He signed a stack of autographs, which Gary promptly sold for a dollar each and bought pizzas for all the kids on 5-East, his CF hospital floor.

Gary with Richard Chamberlain at the Children’s Hospital Miracle Network Telethon

After Gary died, I found another buried treasure: I discovered I could manage my grief by writing instead of sinking into depression. And so I wrote my grief out:

WINTER IN MY SOUL

When the chill of winter touches,
And I shiver in the blast,
It may be winter in my soul,
But I know it will not last.

There is no grief that can survive,
while love still lives in me.
I know that spring will come again.
Heart, just wait and see.

And here are eight lines of a longer poem:

Sunny yellow dandelions
The color of your hair;
I quickly catch my breath,
As I see you standing there.

What is it about life
That I love so?
Are you still here, son,
did you not really go?

And here is one last treasure I discovered: humor. Humor can lighten and lift the mood of even the most serious of situations. Throughout my son’s short life, I often wrote poems to entertain him – funny poems to make him laugh and forget his illness for a few minutes. One of those poems was “I Found a Flounder,” which Renée has recorded on a video for me. Thank you, Renée.

I FOUND A FLOUNDER

I found a flounder,
fifty pounder,
In my vegetable stew.
He ate my carrots,
He ate my peas,
And he ate my broccoli, too.

I like my flounder,
my sixty pounder.
I think you’d like him, too.
He ate my taters
He ate my beans
And now he weighs seventy-two.

Now if you hate to eat your veggies,
Look closely in your stew.
There might just be a flounder there,
Eating them for you!

I hope reading this story will lead parents and teachers to talk wih their children about childhood illnesses and children with different needs, and to help them understand how they can make a difference in these children’s lives.

And I hope children will try this for themselves: add a little humor to your everyday challenges and experiences. You may just discover that a smile leads you to more buried treasures than a frown ever will!

About Darlene
You might know my type — the quiet introvert who always has her nose in a book, or the one who is always pulling that notebook out of her pocket to scribble something down. This book lover/writer is from the midwest, Davenport, Iowa, though I now live in San Diego in an active living senior complex. I proudly served two years in the U.S. Army as a W.A.C. Now at age 75, I keep in touch with my family, grandchildren, and friends on Facebook. Life is good in the slow lane.
More of my poetry can be found at The Poetry Pages – search “seeking the spiritual” and “general poetry” in the forums. And if you’d like to share your stories or poems with me, or just say hello, feel free to contact me anytime at dagiff@peoplepc.com.

[heading style=”1″]Extension Activities: “Poetry Is…A Treasure Hunt”[/heading]

Darlene has also provided these activities for us!

  • Writing:
    • In her poem “Four Poems from My Treasure Hunts,” Darlene writes about things she found: mud balls, brown birds, hotdogs, and ants. Go on a little “treasure hunt” around the classroom or outside and look for one treasure to write a poem about.
  • Reading: 
  • Art: 
    • Draw or paint the flounder in “I Found a Flounder” — and don’t forget your veggies!
Our very own treasure Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting Poetry Friday today at The Poem Farm!
[divider=”1″]

See more poems in my poetry video library.

All poems copyright © 2012 Darlene Gifford. All rights reserved.
 

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70 Comments

  1. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
    4 years ago

    Renee and Darlene, This post is beautiful in so many ways. Darlene, you are an inspiration, not only for showing us how poetry can get us through heartbreaking times…but how it can help us remember to laugh too. I loved reading about your beautiful sons and your poems from sad to silly. Thank you for your reminder to love this life. Renee – fantastic once again. And hearing you read is a joy! I look forward to more of this feature, and I’ll always think of this first Daisy-one, with Darlene. xo, a.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Amy, Your comments touched my heart and made it swell. two sizes larger. Thank you. And I agree, Renee did a fantastic job of putting all this together. But in every post I’ve read, she makes the writer and the material shine. Feel free to contact me anytime at dagiff@peoplepc.com You can also find more of my poems at poetrypages.com in the “seeking the spiritual” and “general poetry” forums.

      Reply

      • Renee M. LaTulippe
        4 years ago

        I’m glad you found it as inspiring as I did, Amy. You can probably tell that the daisy poem stuck with me as well, given the daisy theme. It’s my favorite flower, and now I’ll think of Gary when I see them. 🙂

        Reply

  2. Robyn Hood Black
    4 years ago

    This post is a treasure itself – thanks to Darlene for sharing, in such an open way, the reaches of grief and of joy. What a testament to the power of poetry. And what an incredible family.

    Thank you, too, Renee – and I enjoyed your reading of Darlene’s ever-clever flounder poem!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Thank you, Robyn for your post. I’m glad you enjoyed my story and I hope it will bring a larger understanding of children with special needs. School children will benefit by this knowledge of how they can make a difference in the lives of children who have health problems, etc.

      Reply

  3. Violet N.
    4 years ago

    What a moving story, Darlene! Thanks for sharing so honestly. I love how poetry wove through it, showing how writing sustained and comforted you as well as giving you an outlet for your emotions.

    Your little boy does look angelic. What a sweet kid, to buy his buddies pizza with the cards he sold. The kids with health challenges are often wise and kind beyond their years.

    Thanks to Renee for the new series. I’m already looking forward to the next edition.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Thanks Violet, and what a pretty name! I thought of Gary as “my llittle Daisy” so we have something in common.

      Reply

  4. Laura Shovan
    4 years ago

    Darlene sounds like a treasure! I loved the humor in “I Found a Flounder.” Thank you for sharing Gary’s story, Darlene. You reminded me that every life — no matter how long or short — impacts the world and people around us.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Laura, How true that every life touches our own in some ways. Thanks for posting.

      Reply

  5. Irene Latham
    4 years ago

    Buried treasure, indeed! I love the POETRY IS series already. And oh, Darlene! What a precious life, your Gary. So pleased to meet him and to know your gentle, vibrant spirit through your work. Yes, writing can save your life. Thank you for sharing here. Happy day, Renee! xo

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Irene, What a joy it is to read yours and the other comments. You’ve all made my day! Thanks

      Reply

  6. Matt Forrest
    4 years ago

    Such a touching story…my heart goes out to Darlene. As the father of a 2-yr-old, I imagine poetry would be a way for me & my little dude to cope, as well. I’m especially moved by her ‘Sunny yellow dandelions’ poem. Thanks for sharing, Renee!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Matt, AAh, finally a post from the opposite sex So glad you enjoyed my poems and story. And let me encourage you to write poems for your”My little dude.”

      Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      I’m so sorry , Matt, that I didn’t put in the entire poem. It was a mistake. Here are the first 2 stanzas: The poems title is “A rainbow Glitters” A rainbow glitters in the sky./ And by a wild rose,/ flies a white butterfly/ And birds on a bough,/ In the early morning sing./ As if from Heaven,/ A symphony they bring./ ( Then the part that was printed) Sunny yellow dandelions,/ the color of your hair………………

      Reply

  7. Catherine Johnson
    4 years ago

    What a wonderful outlet for grief. I can’t believe that was your first poem, Darlene. My heart goes out to you for all you’ve been through. That Richard Chamberlain story is fab btw!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Catherine, I’m happy you enjoyed the pizza story. And thanks for your other comments.

      Reply

  8. Janet F.
    4 years ago

    Oh Renee and Darlene, this touched me so. I love how you use your imagination, Darlene, with poetry and how it helped you through the grief of your son’s battle with CF. I am an active supporter of our local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; all because of my amazing student, Caden, who was in my last class two years ago. While this disease is still a lfe sentence there is hope and a cure is on the horizon. I advocate for the CFF any chance I get, even on the end of every email I send out. Caden won an award in a poetry contest for a poem he wrote about winter fun. I will see if I can send it to you. He, too, lives in the now and is, like Gary, an absolute angel. He endures his treatments (now a vibrating vest he sleeps in each night) and the many many pills, breathing protocols and doctor’s visits without a single complaint. What a wonderful idea, Renee. I will share this with Caden’s parents and grandmother who loves poetry. Poetry, its effects, its rewards, its power is truly undefinable. And thanks to they wa I had poetry at the heart of my classroom, Caden carries poems in his pocket and in his head. I hope they will mean more to him as he grows. If you could see his smile…….

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Thank you, Janet for sharing your story about Caden and CF. Yes I would love to read his winter fun poem. I’m happy you will be sharing my poetry and story with Caden’s parents and grandmother. You and they are free to contact me at dagiff@peoplepc.com Since you like poetry in your classroom, I hope you will do the exercise mentioned in Teacher’s activities. Have the children walk around the classroom or outside, and have each one pick something they would like to write about. It could be funny, scary, or whatever. And to make the poem easier to write, they could think of something to add to the poem that is funny, like I pointed out in the 4 short poems aat the start of my post. Then if possible, send me copies. It would be my great jooy to receive them. Renee has my mailing address that I gave permissiion to give to teachers. I pray Caden will continue to do well. Keep me informed of his condition and what is happening in his life.

      Reply

      • Janet F.
        4 years ago

        Caden’s parents were very touched by yours and Renee’s posting. His grandmother was an English teacher and will enjoy it, too. I am sending you his poem and photo which I took in December of third grade in 2010. The poem is from a grown-ups’s point of view looking at children having fun on a snowy day and wishing he was a child again. It was hard for me to read it sometimes. ….For Caden this is something we all pray will happen. He is an amazing child as I am sure your Gary was, too. Such knowing in their eyes……The research that the CFF funds is bringing us closer to the real possibility of a cure though it can’t happen soon enough. Thank you for your poetry suggestion! I will send along poems once I have them. And again, Renee, what a wonderful idea your :Poetry is…” feature is already.

        Reply

        • Darlene Gifford
          4 years ago

          Thanks Janet, I sent you an e-mail back. Let’s keep in touch. My prayers for Caden’s improved health will be on my lips. And also for a cure for CF, prayerfullly, it will happen soon.

          Reply

    • Renee M. LaTulippe
      4 years ago

      Janet, thank you for sharing this story about Caden and for passing it on to his parents. I would love to read his poem, too, if you’d like to email it to me!

      I’m so glad you and Darlene connected.

      Reply

  9. Tabatha
    4 years ago

    Let me just echo what everyone else has said — your take on what “poetry is…” is inspiring. Thanks for introducing us to Darlene, Renee! I can just imagine Darlene noticing things around her and reaching for her notebook.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hello, Tabatha, Thanks for your post. And you are so right about my notebook and me reaching for it! There is always a poem in the air, and all we have to do is reach up and grab it!

      Reply

  10. Penny Klostermann
    4 years ago

    This post is for sure a treasure. It is very touching mixture of tug-on-my-heartstrings moments, bring-a-tear-to-my-eye moments, and be-amazed-by-Darlene’s-strength moments. I love how you expressed deep feelings through poetry. The poems are beautiful. I love them all. I got a real kick out of the the ant’s fire drill. Not My Son! touched me deeply.

    Renee you did a spectacular job on Found A Flounder which is delightfully funny!

    I heart this new series! I can tell it will be an incredible addition to No Water River which is already incredible! Thanks for this website. It’s the best!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Penny, So glad you liked the post, my story and the poems. I believe this new series of Renee’s will be very popular. And along with you, I await the next story.

      Reply

    • Renee M. LaTulippe
      4 years ago

      Penny, the ant’s fire drill is the image that really grabbed me too. I love that one! Great minds…

      I’m glad you like the new series, and I’m so grateful to Darlene for sharing her poetry story.

      Reply

  11. Cathy Mealey
    4 years ago

    We’ve all heard the advice: Write what you know. That’s what you have done brilliantly Darlene in your wonderful poems inspired by Gary. Thank you for sharing your poetry journey with us all.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hello Cathy, write what you know, is exactly what I did. Thank you for pointing that out. And if I can do it, others can, too!

      Reply

  12. Pam
    4 years ago

    You’ve done it again, Renee! This new series is WONDERFUL and made so special by your first guest, Darlene! Darlene, your story is a treasure of strength for everyone. The range of emotions in this series first installment has improved my understanding that Poetry Is… Good Medicine For: Heart, soul, mind. Poetry is good medicine for the world. Thank you Renee for this new additon to NWR. Thank you, Darlene for sharing your precious story. Forever Grateful.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Oh, Pam, you are so generous with your praise. Thank you. I’m happy you like the new series. Renee will be pleased to hear that, too.

      Reply

    • Renee M. LaTulippe
      4 years ago

      Thank you, Pam! I’m so glad Darlene contacted me all those months ago and felt she could tell me — and all of us — her story. Poetry is good medicine, indeed.

      Reply

  13. Joy Acey
    4 years ago

    Renee,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I so enjoyed Darlene’s story, poetry and her family. I’m deeply touched. what a great way to kick off your new series.
    I especially enjoyed your presentation of I FOUND A FLOUNDER. (I have so much to learn.)
    I hope to read many more of Darlene’s poems in the future.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Joy, I read your post to Renee and am please you liked this new series. You mentioned you wanted to read more of my poems. Well, you can! They are out there on the web. Just go to poetrypages.com Under the forums General poetry and spiritual, you will find my poems there.

      Reply

    • Renee M. LaTulippe
      4 years ago

      Thanks, Joy. I was hoping to make Gary smile with the silly video!

      Reply

      • Darlene Gifford
        4 years ago

        Renee, you DID make my son smile! I’m sure of it. As a matter of fact, I think you made all in Heaven smile! And Gary also liked the Daisy theme you decided to use throughout the story”MY dAISY, MY DAISY………..” Thank you for your insights, Renee

        Reply

  14. jama
    4 years ago

    Such a wonderful, touching, inspiring post I don’t know where to begin. Loved meeting Darlene, hearing her story and reading all the poems and their contexts.

    The healing power of poetry — both for the one who writes as well as for the one who reads, is unparalleled. This series is a fabulous idea for many reasons, the best of which, perhaps, is to show that poetry is the stuff of everyday lives, weaving in and out of events and expressing emotions we all experience, rather than being an inaccessible form only practiced by academics. Thanks, Darlene and Renee (great flounder poem reading)! Looking forward to more in this special series . . .

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Jama, Thanks for your comments. I, too, enjoyed the “I Found a Flounder” video performed in absolute perfection by Renee. There is a point where she turns her eyes slightly and looks up (That was for Gary in Heaven) and it gave the reading an endearing touch. I”m glad it’s on u-tube so all my famly and friends can view it.

      Reply

    • Renee M. LaTulippe
      4 years ago

      Jama, thank you for so eloquently explaining what I hope this series will be, that “weaving in and out of events” in our everyday lives. The words didn’t come when I tried to express it, and now you’ve given them to me!

      And Darlene, your friends and family can view the video right here on this post or on YouTube or in the poetry video library any time – it is now a permanent fixture in all three places. 🙂

      Reply

  15. Tara
    4 years ago

    This was such a special post – thank you Renee and Darlene. Darlene, your indomitable spirit shines through in both your story about your life with Gary as well as in your poems. I love how you were able to use poetry to spaekto the various phases of your life, the many emotions you experienced in raising Gary. He was lucky to have had you as his mom and anchor and advocate. And I just loved Winter in my Soul….such a haunting poem.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Thank you, Tara, “Winter in My Soul” is one that helped me through depression after Gary died. I cannot read it today without deep emotion.

      Reply

  16. Susan Taylor Brown
    4 years ago

    Oh Darlene, what an inspiration you are to poets, to writers, to mothers with children fighting brave battles. Thank you for sharing this precious part of your life with us.

    Renee, I predict your new idea for a series will be a great hit! I’m looking forward to reading more installments.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Susan, thank you for your kind comments. I’, too, am looking forward to Renee’s next post in this series. She’s got a hit on her hands.

      Reply

  17. Renee M. LaTulippe
    4 years ago

    Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and listening to Darlene’s story, and for your many kind comments. Gary was a special boy and his mom is a special lady.

    Darlene, thank you again for sharing your poetry and what it has meant to you. I’m so grateful that you contacted me all those months ago – it’s been an honor and a pleasure working with you on your story. 🙂

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Renee, It has been an honor and a pleasure working with you. So right back at ya, my friend!

      Reply

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill
    4 years ago

    Renee and Darlene, what a lovely, lovely post. Your son must have been very special, Darlene, and how wonderful that you were able to find writing and poetry as a way of helping you through the hard times and putting into words the things we all feel so that others, reading, might find understanding also. I love the humor, too – the flounder poem is such fun! And Renee – what a great idea for a series! Can’t wait for the next one 🙂

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Susanna, I enjoyed reading your generous comments and I’m happy you enjoyed the Flounder video. I can’t praise Renee enough for how she made my poem sound. She is so expressive and funny!

      Reply

  19. Carrie F
    4 years ago

    Renee & Darlene, what a wonderful post and what wonderful poetry. Darlene, you are writing from your heart and it shows. I appreciated getting to know you and Gary, and I love that your poems show such a range of emotion, from sadness and grief, to anger, to happiness and silliness. Thanks for sharing these bits of yourself with us.

    Reply

  20. Linda Baie
    4 years ago

    Wonders are everywhere & come in the most unexpected ways, especially through words/poetry, don’t they? Thank you for sharing part of your heart with us, Darlene. I have a niece with Cerebral Palsy & know some of the heartbreak that can come from children who face tough times. Your love of life & interest in the little things certainly helped you, I can see, & then as Gary grew up, it must have been wonderful to write for him too. I love the cleverness of your treasure hunts, & know that Gary was your treasure too.
    Renee, what a grand idea, to find those who have their own personal ideas of what Poetry Is… I enjoyed this very much, and find poetry helps me often in both challenges & in celebrations. Thanks to both of you!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hello, Linda, Thanks for posting. It means alot to me that people like you care enough to take the time to write. Yes, Gary was my treasure, as is my son, John, who loved his brother and enriched his life beyond measure.

      Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hello, Linda, Uppermost in my mind right now is please give your niece with cerebral palsy a big hug from me next time you see her. She must be so special to you. I’ll hold her in my prayers. And next I want to thank you for saying Gary was my treasure, as is his brother John who loved Gary beyond measure and added oceans of happiness to Gary’s short life. Thank you for writing.

      Reply

  21. john gifford
    4 years ago

    Thank you mom for the insight ,for seeing the beauty in life,and in poetry being able to express yourself even when lifes storms get the darkest mabey bringing support to others in ther time of need because I believe that people that love and cry are able to laugh until you cry also and feel the fullness of life. Thank you for the folders of your poetry I have on my shelf. And thank you Rene for doing such a tribute to my mom and the memory of my brother

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Son, Have I told you lately that I love you! Thanks for being my anchor and for being there for me all these years. Those poetry folders on your shelf might become even fatter because your birthday is coming! Love, Mom

      Reply

  22. Dana Carey
    4 years ago

    Talk about a roller coaster of emotions! Darlene, first I was so amused by your treasure hunts then I was very moved by your story and poems and Gary’s life. You’ve managed to pack in lessons on resilience as well as writing and they are gifts to us all.

    I enjoyed every bit of this post.Thank you, Darlene and Renée!

    Reply

    • Dana Carey
      4 years ago

      PS: Renée–I love this new series and your great rendition of Darlene’s Flounder poem. That’s quite a background!! Very cool 🙂

      Reply

      • Darlene Gifford
        4 years ago

        Thank you for your kind words, Dana, and I too, loved what Renee did with that poem. She made it sparkle! She told me she usually records outside. But it was raining and windy that day. So she recorded inside infront of the fish. A perfect setting. Thank God it was raining that day!

        Reply

  23. Iza Trapani
    4 years ago

    What a touching and beautiful post. Darlene, you are lovely, and so are your poems! I am so sad for your loss, but glad you found a bit of distraction and solace through poetry. The daisy poem is powerful,; the flounder delightful! Keep writing!
    Renee, you are always up to something fishy 🙂 Love your reading and this new series!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Iza, I’m delighted that you lliked the daisy poem and the the recording of “I Found a Flounder” What an appropriate remark that Renee is always up to something “fishy”. That was cute

      Reply

  24. Mary Lee
    4 years ago

    *tears running down my cheeks*

    The post, the poems, the story…and then the little comment conversation between you and John…and the tears started all over again…

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hi, Mary, Aren’t we lucky that we can freely cry and admit it. I’m a crier, too So you are in good company!

      Reply

  25. Erik - This Kid Reviews Books
    4 years ago

    I really liked “I found a flounder”! It made me laugh!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Eric, Yes, I agree, the way that poem was handled and read was fantastic.

      Reply

  26. donna
    4 years ago

    Aunt Darlene, The poems are wonderful, but I cried like a baby when I saw the pictures of Gary and John, all the old emotions came flooding out. I am glad you found a positive way to help people through your poems! What a creative spirit you have!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hello, Donna, I love you and I’m happy you found your way to the story, poems and this blog. Yes, it was very emotional to write, but if I can help others to know they are not alone in going through similiar circumstances then it was all worth it. With God holding our hands, we can find our way through the most difficult of times.Merry Christmas, Aunt Darlene

      Reply

  27. Clara E Gifford
    4 years ago

    You have touched my heart in so many ways. You have so much to give from your heart and creative mind. I went back to your poems and I was in awe…as I immersed myself into your words. It was so touching as I continued reading poem after poem. You have such a talent! Please continue to share your gift with others. Not only should your creativity be showcased, but the soul and intimacy that is in every word…luv u lots….Clara

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Hello, my daughter-in-love! You and my son, John, are always there to support and uplift me. And I thank God for bringing you into our lives. Here’s hugs to the both of you. I am pleased you lliked my poems and story because your opinion means a lot to me. I pray God will continue to send his blessing to you and yours. Kiss that new grandbaby for me and may God bless her with the healing she needs. And give John a big kiss and a hug from his mother on his birthdayon the 18th. Merry Christmas, Mom

      Reply

  28. LadySaturn
    4 years ago

    I absolutely love each and every one of your poems. They are beautifully penned from a very talented poetess. Again, Winter in My Soul is one I especially like.

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      So good to hear from you, LadySaturn. I’m delighted you liked the poems. Winter in my soul, was a poem I wrote when I was in the deepest of my grief. But as I told you on poetrypages, Spring did come again! God walked with me through my grief and we came out the other side together. I hope you are enjoying the holidays and that your New Year is filled with all good things.

      Reply

  29. Ileana
    4 years ago

    This was so beautiful. You are so inspiring. You have such an amazing talent and it’s a great reminder that God is always with us. Gary is an angel and his joy can and has still clearly touched so many. You’re an amazing and creative woman and continue to write!

    Reply

    • Darlene Gifford
      4 years ago

      Thank you lleana, for your encouraging words! I can do nothing without my God that strengthens and walks with me daily. I think that is true for all of us. I can see that one of your gifts is to encourage and uplift others. And that is a God-given talent as well! I hope you are enjoying this holiday season when Christ the King was born.

      Reply

  30. Charles Waters
    4 years ago

    What a touching post! It goes to show how gettting your thoughts out on paper can in many ways help one cope with an unfortunate situation. This was a great No Water River Human Interest Story. Thank you both!

    Reply

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  1. […] in November, I featured the first installment of the “Poetry Is…” series. At the time, I wrote that I hoped the series would be an opportunity for us to connect with […]

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