All the Heaven and Hell by Christina Knowles

Lightly falling snowflakesFlowers in Hair

The loving eyes of my old dog

The smile of a baby

Red and gold leaves scattered on the ground

Glistening wet petals in the morning sun

This is all the heaven I will ever know

Holding the hand of my mother as she leaves me

Burning tears of loss, the indescribable pain in my chest

Holding my best friend as she takes her last breath

Angry words from a trusted mouth

Grave news from a doctor’s chart

This is all the hell I will ever know

The soft glow of a crackling fire

Holding hands with the best man I’ve ever known

The swell of love his gaze makes me feel

The time spent with my closest friends

Laughing until my stomach hurts

This is all the heaven I will ever know

The anxiety of deadlines

The crushing weight of responsibilities

Debts to pay and artificial worries

The helplessness of age

The loneliness of loss

This is all the hell I will ever know

Pain and depression

Joy and the sweetness of love

Anger and frustration

Comfort and peace

Gratitude for all of this life

This is all the heaven and hell I will ever know—Christina Knowles (2015)

Photo snagged from Pinterest

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Transformed by Christina Knowles

Sun peaking through cloudsSleeping through the everyday

Unconsciously conformed

Never noticing my malaise

When brewing there a storm

Dark skies block the rays

Clouds twist and deform

It’s hard to find my way

Asleep, but in the form

Pain penetrates the gray

In loss I am reformed

In presence I appraise

The life I’ve lived and ways

Ways, my anguish informs

And in the balance weighs

Surviving pain transforms

Illuminated, consciously ablaze

Awake and knowing I will mourn

But joy I hold in yesterday

And love today is warm

—Christina Knowles (2015)

Photo snagged from shutterstock.com

“Bareback in the Meadow” by Christina Knowles

My beautiful mother died last night, so here is a poem I wrote about her precious life. She always told me about a horse that she loved when she was a girl. She didn’t have a saddle, so she would ride bareback.

Scan 51“Bareback in the Meadow”

Softly in a meadow, brushing back his mane

Bareback rider, farm girl among the golden grain

Growing in her faith, overcome with dreams

A vision of a life, within her eye it gleams

She swears her vows one cold December day

Knowing there’ll be struggles that will come their way

With only hope and true love to keep her warm

With strength and poise, she faces every storm621463_4574897504609_1222784935_o

Raising up a family, five to call her own

Colorful blocks of fabric, lovingly she’s sewn

A close-knit mosaic, a family replete

Heirloom of a mother, a priceless quilt complete

Ever she is working, sacrificing to provide

Surrounded by her progeny, life is simplified

Always she is faithful and takes the time to pray

For cares to be forgotten and blessings for the day

920495_10200633337269994_1850806278_oWhen days are long, but time grows short

Together they support; they quietly exhort

A heritage of devotion she continues to convey

Her lasting legacy, a magnificent array

She says farewell to her love until they meet again

Until that day that she will go and meet her love and when

She’ll live forever with her Lord and pain will go its way

No worries to escape and all burdens fly away

She struggles through the seasons without him at her side

And when it’s time to join him, all before is justified

She leaves her clan with memories of her tender heart

Tears she shed in worry, prayers said when they’re apart

And many more of joyful days, her love they testify

Of birthday get-togethers and stories of days gone by,

Christmas mornings filled with love, baking just for fun

And homemade ice cream on the porch in the summer sun

So, she says farewell to her loves until they meet again

Waiting for the reunion, when she will be with them

She spends her days with her groom and her Lord by her side

And softly in the meadow, her dreams are realized

Among the golden grain, they ride side by side

Bareback in the meadow and across the countryside.—Christina Knowles (2014)

“Black and White Promises” by Christina Knowles

Dad and Uncle Gene
Gene Pitman (my uncle) and Harold Pitman (my father)

Dusty on the mantle

Framed in delicate design

Opening, I dismantle

Faces lost in time

Black and white promises

Of seeing you again

Begin again the processes

Of grieving you and then

I hold your image close to me

And think of how you were

Strong arms that held me tenderly

And told me you were sure

That I’d grow up to be someone

Of whom you’d be so proud,

But Daddy, you’re not the only one

Whose heart is swollen now

Gazing at your picture

Solemn young men dressed

To bravely face the future

In their Sunday best

My father and his brother—

Two boys on leave from war

A future to uncover

I couldn’t ask for more

My father's funeral in 2013.
My father’s funeral in 2013.

Your life continues to inspire

Your wisdom I replay

A father to learn from and admire

And I miss you every day.—Christina Knowles

“Falling” by Christina Knowles

Snagged from eternal-dream-art-deviantart.com
Snagged from eternal-dream-art-deviantart.com

As clouds race by and time stands still,

Images float and wax surreal.

English sonnets plummet down from castle tops.

Below, a dense grey fog shrouds a blue-green copse.

Misty mountains that loom overhead

Cast their shadows of morbid dread.

Crooked steps lead to lies and deception—

I lose my way in a sea of obsession.

I walk with the dead on a sandy beach

As apparitions melt and spirits leach.

The air hangs on me like a velvet drape;

The drawbridge is up and I can’t escape.

Terror envelopes me in soft, dark clouds

And lingers over my burial shrouds.

Clean, breaking waves crash over my coffin.

Dissolving the stones, my bed they soften.

Sliding, crashing, shattering my locks.

Slippery fingers grab at the rocks.

Jagged cliffs scream at the sky,

Climbing crags dang’rously high.

Rugged rocks rip open my gown,

Tearing flesh, plunging me down.

Falling and flying through salt-water air.

Screaming and scratching feeds my nightmare.

Falling forever, eternally sleep.

Grotesque reflections in waters so deep.

Watery grave swallowed and sealed

Revels in dark secrets revealed.

Souls possessed coveted no more

Dream only to rest—evermore.—Christina Knowles (2000)

“Autumn” by Christina Knowles

IMG_1303

“Autumn”

Nature’s one demand is change.

Our years like seasons we cannot hold

For Fates align and rearrange.

From green to gold and red, the range

Features a wondrous story told

Of Nature’s one demand of change.

A painted impression from the artistic Mage,

A fractal of the life we hold

While Fates align and rearrange.

Beautiful dying, lovely and strange

The agéd Wisdom, mysteries unfold

For Nature’s one demand is change.

In leafless branches, we seek a sage

To nurture and guide us into our gold

As Fates align and rearrange.

Measuring our days, we alone gauge

Our years like seasons, a sweet story told

Of Nature’s only demand of change

As Fates align and rearrange.—Christina Knowles

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