This Poem was Submitted By: Marcia McCaslin On Date: 2004-04-05 00:56:35 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Changing With The Changes

For her, he was the book she could not put down. For him, she was the dream that came without sleep. She found in him the ever-deepening mystery that never quite  revealed all its secrets; he found her as a kite finds the sky. Together, they had been more than the sum of their parts; apart, less than half. He hadn’t realized he had a glass heart, and she hadn’t realized she had a failing one. She had been his unfolding, just as gently as he had been her unflowering. That last morning after breakfast and before he went to the fields, he had kissed her soap-washed face, always  smooth and fragrant as  an apple blossom—but he couldn’t remember if he told her he loved her—-how very much he loved her. He had asked her to make his favorite baked bean casserole for lunch and she had laughed with delight, and said yes. So that was telling her he loved her, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?

Copyright © April 2004 Marcia McCaslin

This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2004-06-02 17:15:24
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.98039
Dear Marcia: I can't believe I didn't critique this one! I read it several times, each time feeling the inherent melancholy that comes with the realization that time will inevitably part us from those we love. It is the great price of being mortal and of loving. This looming loss is made bearable for many by the hope of a life after physical death - and for others, by the cherising of memories. This poem doesn't attempt to answer the question of survival of death, but instead focuses on the only important matter, IMO, love! It does so in a disarming way that allows each reader to recall those moments in a life in which one is conscious of being loved or expressing love, unaware at that moment of what the future holds. Your ability to make words sing, to make word images live is demonstrated here. The spirituality of these two who love simply sings from the page. You communicate the sacred nature of marriage with a deft, unassuming touch, and great tenderness. "he found her as a kite finds the sky" So many memorable phrases here - but above is one of the sweetest. "He hadn’t realized he had a glass heart, and she hadn’t realized she had a failing one." -- Foreshadowing done beautifully "She had been his unfolding, just as gently as he had been her unflowering." --This is what I meant by 'sacred nature of marriage' shown in this work. "That last morning" -- we are readied by the word 'last' -- one which, when viewed retrospectively seems center from which everything extends, the central focus of life 'after' the beloved's death. Your words "how very much her loved her" shows that implicit in their relationship, perhaps unspoken, but shown in every gesture. "He had asked her to make his favorite baked bean casserole for lunch and she had laughed with delight, and said yes. So that was telling her he loved her, wasn’t it?" I am as wordless now as after each previous reading. The entire poem leads to this final, consuming line. Marcia - this is a gem, and a poem that will stay in my mind and heart. No one writes with your ability to finesse out the finest and truest of observations and share that with readers. Reading anything you write makes me feel stronger and gladder to be alive. All my best, Joanne Wasn’t it?

This Poem was Critiqued By: Sherri L. West On Date: 2004-05-07 11:17:17
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.52381
Hi Marcia, I had intended to comment on this piece long before now but my schedule has left me with little free time. I really enjoyed reading this piece although it was difficult through my tears. What a blessing for two people to truly find their soulmates! I think we all search for that one perfect person to complete us when in fact I think the perfection happens when two people can love each other more than themselves. You have used very crisp phrasing to beautifully illustrate the commitment and depth of feeling between these two lovers. There is also a sense that they are both very comfortable and comforted in the relationship. When I read "The last morning" - I almost did not want to finish the last lines knowing that something in this peaceful scene was going to happen to change their reality. You have very cleverly left us wondering which one of the lovers is missing from the mix. Your final questions could be answered by the remorseful man - left to agonize whether or not he had assured his lady once more of his love. Or, the same question could be asked by the woman in the midst of her deep grief at losing the other half of herself. Although, as I think about it, given the level of love and commitment shown in the lines above, she would probably not have questioned his love for her. This is a very touching piece that shakes the readers out of their complacency and helps them to realize how important it is to share feelings. Thanks for posting. Blessings, Sherri
This Poem was Critiqued By: Elaine Marie Phalen On Date: 2004-05-06 14:58:29
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.81818
Oh, Marcia ... I almost missed this! I'm just getting ready to leave school but want to tell you that my eyes are prickling here. Wow, this is so very poignant; it speaks a huge truth, but a sad one. What a gently-told tale, and how almost-unbearable the thought that we each carry, the knowledge that we don't voice our feelings until it's too late. Your poem could describe practically anyone. He hadn’t realized he had a glass heart, and she hadn’t realized she had a failing one. Nobody can predict; that's just as well, or we'd go mad. So your message is to hug a loved one, breathe deeply of the air around us; live each day as if it's our last (because one day, it will be). I'm glad that you've made your characters such simple, hard-working people. They farm, eat baked beans, live in flower metaphors. Your opening stanza is fabulous! Any writer who can begin a poem like this is a A+ poet. It draws us into the piece and the rest lives up to this first promise. "She had been his unfolding, just as gently as he had been/ her unflowering". Wow, again. You have such a clear and insightful voice, whether speaking in first person or third. The POV is unusual in that the narrator appears to be omniscient, detached from the couple being described, yet in the end, the questions are filled with concern and urgency ... "wasn't it? Wasn't it?" It is almost as if this speaker is seeking personal reassurance, that perhaps s/he also fears the failure to express love. In the husband's forgetfulness, and the wife's sudden departure before it can be rectified, this speaker sees himself/herself reflected, and is consumed with doubt. This person will change, as the title implies, because others have undergone change and revealed a life lesson in the process. Excellent work in all respects. I'm so glad that I found it while there was still time to respond! Take Care, Brenda
This Poem was Critiqued By: Sherri L Smith On Date: 2004-05-02 16:28:47
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 8.73684
Dear Marcia, I can see the farmhouse, the fields with seeds just beginning to germinate and smell the breakfast that has just been eaten. This is so moving and picturesque as well. The question at the end was perfect...and I believe the answer is yes, he was telling her that he loved her. My husband tells me that he loves me in so many ways that has nothing to do with the spoken words. I feel that this was a long-standing relationship and that each knew each other well enough to know what was in the others heart and mind. That has to be the secret of long term relationships. I loved the lines: He hadn’t realized he had a glass heart, and she hadn’t realized she had a failing one. Perhaps it was best for him not to know. So they could enjoy their time together without worrying about what the future would hold. Just my thoughts on a beautiful poem. Sherri
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2004-04-30 17:53:49
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.65714
Hi Marcia, Your poem bruites love! It is a privilege to have read this from you. I am in love nowadays and I can really appreciate the thought. So that was telling her he loved her, wasn’t it? I think so! Hehe! The metaphors are lovely. "For her, he was the book she could not put down. For him, she was the dream that came without sleep." The ideas are fresh for me! I can apply it when I compose a love letter to my one and only. (she was the dream that came without sleep). LOL. And there is love in Mathematics as you say: "Together, they had been more than the sum of their parts; apart, less than half." I enjoyed this very much! Thanks for sharing, Marcia! Jordan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2004-04-15 16:26:49
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Marcia, Wow, Your first stanza draws the reader into this charmingly beautiful, and emotionally honest, touching piece. "For her, he was the book she could not put down.[---beautiful!] For him, she was the dream that came without sleep.[----a dreamer and a bookworm,now that's good company!] She found in him the ever-deepening mystery that never quite revealed all its secrets; he found her as a kite finds the sky."[---I love that line] "Together, they had been more than the sum of their parts; apart, less than half."[What a neat way to say they made a great pair] "He hadn’t realized he had a glass heart, and she hadn’t realized she had a failing one"[hers failed and his shattered? I think I'm gonna cry] This is making my eyes sting. What a touching poem this is. "She had been his unfolding, just as gently as he had been her unflowering."[----how beautiful, no better way to say it!] "That last morning after breakfast and before he went to the fields, he had kissed her soap-washed face, always smooth and fragrant as an apple blossom—but he couldn’t remember if he told her he loved her—-how very much he loved her.[----ok now tears are streaming down my face. What wonderful sentiment] [He must have loved her very very much] [I most definately think it was saying I love you. there are many ways to say it and that is one of them.] All I can say is Brava! What an emotional response that evoked! Thankyou for sharing this loving poetry with us. Was this someone close to you? Blessings, Jennifer
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2004-04-15 12:16:24
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.83333
Hi Marcia, This one popped up on my list this morning and to describe it as beautiful, wonderful, or amazing would not be adequate. You know I am fan of your poetry but this time I think you have surpassed even yourself! I find it lovely and well written (also inadequate) but when I read the last line my poor old heart just sank. I read it several times just willing the ending to be a happy one...but of course I failed. he was the book she could not put down..... she was the dream that came without sleep....these two lines are award winning more than the sum of their parts; apart, less than half...soulful, soft, tender he had a glass heart she had a failing I begin to get uneasy but still optimistic for a happy ending she had been his unfolding, just as gently as he had been her unflowering..Shakespearian! then you tell of their last morning..uneasy again..he kissed her soap-washed tender but he couldn't remember if he said I love you..he asked for his favorite casserole and she laughed & said yes.....of course she did. But then something awful happens and he could never be sure she knew he loved her beyond doubt..but asking her for his favorite dish that had to mean he loved her....didn't it? I can't even begin to tell you what an impact this peice has on has to be inspired by something devine. It makes me sad because the all consuming love these two people had for each other and then it was over. Well now my eyes are stinging for sure! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read and comment on this heartfelt piece. God Bless...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Irene E Fraley On Date: 2004-04-12 17:43:42
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.00000
Oh, this is lovely! I have tears in my eyes at the depth of love portrayed here. The imagery is good, each scene easily pictured, and the story flows forward smoothly. the questions tell so much more than is apparent on the surface. he worries that she did not hear him say heloved her before she dies. His heart is shattered. Poet you say so much with so little! The repetition of "He loved her" underscores the depth of feeling in the poem. He knew it made her happy to cook for him, and yes, that was telling her he loved her. My favorite lines in this poem are, "She had been his unfolding, just as gently as he had been her unflowering." This says so much about the tenderness of his love, and the nurturing of hers. I don't know if these are friends or relatives, or even real, but this poem makes me want to tell him how very sorry I am for his loss. Take care. Boy, you sure can write! Rene
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mark Steven Scheffer On Date: 2004-04-09 01:22:48
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Marcia, Wow. Beautiful. Mark
This Poem was Critiqued By: Wayne R. Leach On Date: 2004-04-07 22:31:57
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.80000
Marcia, Marcia! The emotional content within and the release of it in such a glowing display could not be better arranged. The past tense of it all leads - no, DRAGS the reader to "the last morning" and reach the inevitable conclusion expressed so emphatically with that final closing line, spaced for just right effect. A beauty if ever I saw one. I'd change absolutely nothing. Thanks for such a wonderful contribution for us to share. wl P.S. - It takes quite a lot to bring tears to these old eyes, but you came mighty close!
This Poem was Critiqued By: Andrea M. Taylor On Date: 2004-04-06 00:20:35
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
Marcia, The title is quite a tale in itself. It captures the essance of a long time marriage or relationship. The first two lines are the gifts of loving hearts that learned to stay infatuated on and off throughout the years. A very pleasant testimony to the bittersweet decision to love and be loved. The next two lines compliment or reinforce the first ones. But alas, the mystique and the complacency of accepting roles is indicated. I have difficulty with the next line. Not what it is trying to say, but how. Perhaps, it would flow better with something like this - Together, as one, for decades more than their destiny's time kept them apart. Only thinking out loud. The next two sets of lines are crushing as they hit close to home for my own parents situation. The virginal beginnings of their marriage and pain my dad went through after my mother died. Bitter bittersweet truths. My only suggestion would be to remove the comma and the "just" in the "She had been.....unflowering" line. The rest of the poem sums up the changes of the changing. Yes, he did tell her. Their lives entwined so beautifully that his requesting the favorite dish was a simple day to day "I love you" and her delighted "yes" was her I love you too. In time their hearts grew to a singular and wonderful opaque vessel beating in unison. His sorrow only blocks the light not the love. Gee, I am carrying on. I think you knew these two. Your tale is too precise in the telling. I really enjoyed this read. Thank you and be well, Andrea
This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas Edward Wright On Date: 2004-04-05 13:39:18
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
McC- Top Shelf stuff. It was. It was. Especially enjoyed the metaphors in the opening lines, books, kites, the contrasting hearts, then ending with the rhetorical question - cleverly done. Wondering about form, though. Explore that. tom
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