Saturday, April 30, 2011

Last Day to Post April Poetry.

My Grandma Greer always jotted down little limericks she loved to share with me and it is one of the things I remember about her spunky personality and sense of humor. I hope I can say that thinking in "rhyme"  is  normal  or that I get this "gene" from her.  I just know when I write, that some things, some stories land in the poetry part of my mind,  fun to tell in this way.  Writing verse for a few friends, I will share a couple here and then my last poem is my most recent; reflections on "test-taking" at school. 

This poem I wrote for my friend Joyce.  We lived catty-corner from each other for many,  many years, having our babies, planning birthday parties, Halloween costumes, swimming, 4th of know.  She is an Italian New Yorker with the strong accent and attitude and I love her dearly.

Baby Boomers, Neighbors, Forever Friends
The Joyce and Coleene Story.

Perpendicular streets
Intersecting our lives
We met in our twenties,
Both new mothers and wives.

You had this noticeable sound;
From New York City, Borough of Queens.
A talkative Italian;
In your kitchen, the coffee steams.

Your Amanda and my Timmy,
Buddies and playmates they would become.
Innocent, precious firstborns,
They kept us busy and then some.

You became my confidant,
Not just a neighbor but good friend.
And soon we'd have more babies,
Brothers and a sister God would send.

It was so wonderful back then,
Birthday parties and elementary school.
Trick or treat and Christmas cookies,
Hangin' out at the Figgins' pool.

When sad times came to us,
We would share our deepest fears.
And laughter...there was a lot of,
And also many tears.

Tim's illness and his difficulties,
Corey's shyness and mistakes.
Jessica's crying, Amanda's surgeries,
And Keith,  well..for goodness sakes...

You Joyce, went on, finished your education
and got yourself  plugged in.
Helping special kids like my Corey,
Learn to read, spell and swim.

Our kids have all grown up
And challenged us for sure.
We have persevered with God's help
And a friendship has endured.

Almost thirty years have gone by
And our lives have surely changed.
You have moved up to the "Hills,"
Me?  finally "teaching," things rearranged.

Amanda is now married
And a teacher herself, too.
Jessica, Keith and Corey,
In college, a career to pursue.

But for Timmy, now in Heaven,
Along with our parents, we've let go.
But connected to our hearts forever
Life has blessed me, for you I know

Coleene VanTilburg
March, 2008

Although the "meter" may be a little off on this next  one, I wrote this for myself and my cousins Jeff and Greg; a tribute to their mom, my Aunt Margie.  I am so thankful that God gave us a great chance to reconnect in such an intimate way and she blessed me so much. Her voice matching my mother's, hearing her words was almost like having my Mom again with me after Timmy's left for Heaven. She always made me laugh with her stories, quite dramatic still into her elder years.  I miss her and cherish what God gave me in the years between my mom's passing and Aunt Margie.  

My cousin Jeff and my cousin Greg with families. 
 My Aunt Margie

My Mother's older sister,
Aunt Margie is her name.
A twin sister named Marian;
Together, the laughter was insane.

Margie and my Mom, Joyce  (1950's). 

Not too often, I did see them
For both lived far away.
But Margie was just up North,
Sometimes she would come for a stay.

Bright red hair was always shining,
And animal print stretch pants she wore.
A love for dogs and especially her cherished bird;
Never caged much; like her free spirit she bore.

A keen wit and sarcastic aire,
Genetically passed along to cope
With tough times and situations like all of us,
But always seeing some hope.

For me, this last year was very special.
We'd talk on the phone quite a lot.
It was like having the voice of my mother again,
Straightforward, but in love, never forgot.

We would speak of her days she knew were numbered,
And my poetry did bless her with thought.
One day I prayed on the phone with her,
I am so thankful for what the Lord has taught.

So now Aunt Margie, you are eternally young again.
Your beauty returned, God be the Glory.
The Greer sisters reunited, Marian, Margie and Joyce,
Our hearts now hold their story.

Love and Thanks, your niece, Joyce's daughter,
Coleene VanTilburg

P.S.  I will truly miss our long talks, her honest words when my voice would crack with sorrow talking about my own recent loss of my son Timmy,  "...You're not going to cry now are you...?"  Something about the way she said it made me pull it together...
I learned she loved Kona Coffee 
and fruitcake.

  At 84, she still loved to "flirt"...
She was proud of her grandchildren but wished she had understood her own mother more.
We'd always ended our own phone conversations with "I love you" and she'd say "I love you too, honey. I'll talk with you again soon".

And finally, the week before Spring break, the kids at school had State testing.  It's long, it's boring but it is what it they say, part of my job.  So, with notebook at hand, this poem came to mind.  

Testing, A “State” of Mind

It’s testing this week,
Four days of gloom.
Hovering and watching
These students in a room.

The packets are opened,
Bubble in your school name.
Let’s see what you remember
“Let’s score higher, not the same.”

No I pods, no cell phone
Or backpacks nearby.
A sorrowful separation,
For some…”Could just die!”     

Sharpened #2’s
Is all they require.
And teachers now daydream
“How long ‘til I retire?”

Reading comprehension
Inference and understanding;
Math and its numbers,
Calculations withstanding.

Life science and history,
Discovery and change,
What’s new, what’s old;
A lot of ideas to exchange.

Can the kids that we teach
Learn and grow from their mistakes?
Will computers soon replace us…?
“Can I get a bathroom break?”

When this week finally ends
And the tests are packed away,
We’ll all get a break;
Spring fever, time to play!
Enjoying Spring 2011

Coleene VanTilburg
RSP Aide, Ayala High School

(I will add pictures this week...wanted to get this posted before midnight). 
Comments are encouraged and welcomed and needed
(Am I sounding desperate?)

1 comment:

  1. These poems are lovely. I was especially touched by the first one about your friend. I wish I had a friend like that. Thank you for sharing.