Refuge | a birthday snippet

If we were sharing coffee together, today, I would tell you about a birthday custom, the “birthday snippet”. Julie, a friend of mine who is a writer, encourages friends to post “snippets” of their books or works in progress (WIPs) on their birthdays. It’s a nice way to keep in touch and fun to read what folks are writing. I am not sure there are any other poets in the group, other than those whose books are enriched by songs as part of their books or short stories.

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I also would tell you about having dinner out with my husband, yesterday afternoon. We save up for special occasions and enjoy going out to eat and visit about what’s occurred since the last time we did so. Since Al had volunteer work scheduled for today, we celebrated my birthday privately on Saturday afternoon. We talked about growing old. About what a wonder it is that we have made it into our 70th year happy and in relatively good health. We had not expected to live so long, we realized, when we looked back on our twenties. We had not thought, then, that we would reach age forty.

I wrote “Refuge” at the middle of September, this year. I suppose it’s no coincidence that it was in the weeks leading up to the first anniversary of my sister’s death. Although I didn’t make the connection until I began editing and revising it, this week. It’s a not-a-sonnet poem. In my head there is a story that it fits into, that provides the context. I have yet to write the story.

Anyway, here is the birthday snippet, the poem in its most recent form, as I posted it this morning on Julie’s page.


I welcome the sweet sounds of autumn’s end
and onset of the winter’s quietude.
Denizens of nature in the woods find
deeper dens and curl up to sleep,
treasuring their energies until the time
to chase or nose out their next feast.

Long nights of silences and contemplation
of a white landscape that encourages repose
provide the time and emptiness that nourish
dreams: imaginings of people, places, vows
kept or broken, far from this exile place.
Stories never to be told, endings never known.

The driving rains, the ice, the winter snow
shield all that’s wild until spring’s waking glow.


Copyright © 2015-09-15, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
All rights reserved.


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