Friday, July 22, 2016

remember the raspberries

"I want my word to be the thing itself,
 created by my soul a second time."
                    --Juan Ramon Jimenez

"A poem should not mean, but be."
                   --Archibald MacLeish

This week I presented at the Millersville University Poetry in the Classroom Institute, directed by Dr. Lesley Colabucci.  Along with Jacqueline Jules, Marjorie Maddox, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, I "worked" poetry with a great group of Pennsylvania educators.  There was talk of the many ways to read poetry, write poetry, share poetry, collect poetry, teach poetry, learn poetry, and my particular contribution was a look at the nuts & bolts of establishing a workable poetry routine in the classroom. Meanwhile, I created my own writer's retreat here in Lancaster, PA, and excavated a whole crate of writing from as far back as 1992--not notebooks, but drafts of stories and memoir and poems and manuscripts, some with my notes, some with critique group notes--tons of material remembered and yes (I have a really faulty memory), forgotten.

This has given me the impression of eating, sleeping and breathing poetry all week, and yet for me there has hardly been a moment of letting a poem "be the thing itself," of letting it "not mean, but be."  These words are the epigraph to a double collection of poems by my youngest cousin Meredith, which I rediscovered in my trove of writing.  So to conclude my week, I'm going to let these two poems by Meredith be the thing itself, created a second time out of her college experience of brain cancer and long recovery

from Roots: Living With(Out) Cancer
grass || Meredith Tracy
       Part I: Another Voice in the Darkness, 1999

Dad wheels me along
the paved pathways, careful not
to tip me sideways
I remember how the familiar feel of
each individual blade
on my bare feet
stunned me as I stood up
out of my wheelchair.

Taking in the fresh air,
an unexpected treasure--
raspberry bushes:
ruby fruit
that melts on my tongue.

A respite from hospital air,
nutrients/food.  A reminder of life.

I am alive.

remember the raspberries|| Meredith Tracy
     Part II: Remember the Raspberries, 2009
i need to remember that
unexpected pleasure of
the rubyfruit melting on
my tongue.

that moment when I was
outside, no longer a
patient, but an outsider
seeing the unexpectedness
of life, the surprises that
appear so suddenly, th
pieces of a light-full life
to be lived, even if only
day by day.

i need to forget the
dark half of the room
i shared with a stranger.
the dark half that seems
to follow me, not
letting me go
until i can shed this
darkness and walk out
into the light.


The roundup today is with  Chelanne at Books4Learning.  Let the poems be.


  1. Thanks for sharing the moving raspberry poems, Heidi! I love the idea of excavating old writing--I have at least one crateful, too! Have fun with that treasure trove!

  2. These are lovely, and I love the image of you living poetry lately. My memory is faulty too -- thank goodness for computer files and notebook pages and drawers and boxes. xo

  3. These are wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  4. My writing group just talked of gathering all the writing, and HOW this week. I wonder at the scene in your house, and how you stopped for these poems of your cousin's. I helped a family member once after a long stay & she spoke of the fresh air she had missed. The raspberries speak to this so powerfully. Thanks, Heidi.

  5. "seeing the unexpectedness" What a great line. These poems really make you remember the unexpected moments of your life. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the positive response!!!!


  6. Happy summer, Heidi. Thanks for a good post.

  7. What a pair -- each so powerful, but so much MORE powerful together. Wishing Meredith decades and decades of health.

  8. Meredith has done such a great job of capturing ordinary moments and making them extraordinary. (How much I miss because I don't appreciate it, or pay attention as I would if it were threatened.)

    1. Thank you for the positive response as well.


  9. Thank you for sharing. Meredith's two poems put together are extraordinary. I've been dusting off some old pages myself, and finding some surprises.

  10. I want to thank you Alice for your positive response as well!


  11. Those are wonderful. I am fond of raspberries, digging though old boxes and resurrecting lovely poems.

  12. Thanks, Heidi and Meredith!

    ...the familiar feel of
    each individual blade
    on my bare feet

    I felt it, too!

  13. "remember the raspberries" is a great rallying cry! Thanks for sharing these.

  14. What would I find if I went back to look? I've traveled a lot this summer but I haven't done any workshop teaching which feels odd to me. I usually teach a writing camp. That time to be completely focused on poetry sounds marvelous and rewarding. Thanks for sharing these lovely poems.

  15. Raspberries...reminding me to remember, deliciously. Thank you Meredith and Heidi! =)


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!