A poem by Canadian poetess Miriam Waddington (1917-). Light in most poetic techniques, it makes good use of enjambment, or breaking up verses and stanzas at unusual times. Written in simple language, it really strikes a chord with me. It was a struggle not to let a few tears escape when I read it to my high-level English class yesterday. One of the students, Bella, almost cried too.

When my husband
lay dying a mountain
a lake three
cities ten years
and more
lay between us:

There were our
sons my wounds
and theirs,
despair loneliness,
handfuls of un-
hammered nails
pictures never
hung all

The uneaten
meals and unslept
sleep; there was
retirement, and
worst of all
a green umbrella
he can never take back.

I wrote him a
letter but all
I could think of
to say was: do you
remember Severn
River, the red canoe
with the sail
and lee-boards?

I was really saying
for the sake of our
youth and our love
I forgave him for
and I was asking him
to forgive me too.

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