Posted in Essay, Terri Stewart

Sacred Space in Perfection

perfection memeRecently, I read dragonkatet’s piece on “Perfection and Creation.” This got me to ruminating on the nature of perfection. In the United Methodist Church, clergy wannabe’s are required to answer the question, “Are you going on to perfection in this lifetime?” And the expected answer is “yes!”

I had heard a rumor in seminary by Dr. Jack Olive that perhaps our understanding of perfection is different than the understanding that early theologians and philosophers had. And that John Wesley turned to Eastern Orthodox wisdom in an effort to better understand perfection. That appealed to me because perfection seems so unattainable. What if there is a different way?

Corina got me thinking about all of this again! Is perfection unattainable? Is perfection only attributable to the Divine? What is up with this kind of pressure we put on ourselves? And as with everything, the truth is that our understanding has drastically changed over time. Which leaves us free to define perfection in a way that leads to greater life.

The Greek concept is where it all begins for western cultures. That word was “teleos.” In many cases, this word is understood to be completeness rather than the common understanding of perfection—“without flaw.”

perfectionchocolateAristotle defines three meanings of perfection:

  1. That which is complete.
  2. That which is so good that nothing can be found better.
  3. That which has attained its purpose.

aquinasquoteThomas Aquinas goes on to give perfection a dual-fold meaning: That which is perfect in itself (its substance) and when it perfectly suits its purpose.

Other philosophers and theologians have defined perfection to be:

  • Endless
  • The greatest
  • Existence

Plato and Parmenides thought that the world was perfect. That it had perfect shape and motion (spherical/circular). The world is perfect, God is not. Attributing perfection, an intellectual concept of humanity, to the Divine, was a heresy.

However, later came the pantheist Stoics who attributed perfection to the Divine. Why? Because the Divine was equivalent with the world. Here, we are just one short step away from the modern idea that only the Divine is perfect and that we all suffer from an inability to be complete in our own bodies and to find and fulfill our purpose. Eventually, Aristotle’s First Cause and Christianity’s Creator became comingled in theology. Although perfection was still not attributed to the Divine as perfection was believed to be finite.

In the 9th century, philosopher Paschasius Radbertus said that “Everything is the more perfect, the more it resembles God.” But still, God was not perfect because of the finiteness ascribed to the concept of perfection. It is Rene Descartes who introduces perfection as applied to the Divine as he introduces the “perfections of God.” However, Descartes also states that “existence itself is perfection.” They may just have been going through a confusion of perfections!

The concept of perfection has undergone great changes throughout human history. “Nothing in the world is perfect”, to “Everything is perfect”; and from “Perfection is not an attribute of God”, to “Perfection is an attribute of God.” (Tatarkiewicz, “Ontological and Theological Perfection,” Dialetics and Humanism, vol. VIII, no. 1 (winter 1981), p. 192.)

perfectionPerhaps it is time to render a definition of perfection that lifts us up and allows us to achieve completeness and fulfill our purpose. In Christianity, we often go back to “The Greatest Commandment.” That is “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” We then focus on the loving God part and then sometimes the loving your neighbor part but totally neglect the implied love yourself part. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love ourselves, we can achieve completeness, find and fulfill a purpose! Artists gotta art. Preachers gotta preach. Poets gotta poem. Architects gotta design. Caretakers gotta care. And so on. Of course, within all of this is the tension between what we want and what we have. There are limits and sometimes part of loving is setting aside the dream and doing the chore. But that is still part of purpose. And it is still part of perfection.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, totally subscribes to the “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself” approach to perfection. He writes,

O grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell, but thy pure love alone!
O may thy love possess me whole,
My joy, my treasure, and my crown !
Strange fires far from my heart remove;
My every act, word, thought, be love!

I never heard that any one objected to this. And indeed who can object? Is not this the language, not only of every believer, but of every one that is truly awakened? But what have I wrote, to this day, which is either stronger or plainer?
John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

easypeasy2Perfection is living life in such a way that “every act, word, thought, be love!” Easy peasy.

Perhaps living a life where everything is derived from love is not so easy. But it is something that I can ascribe to, and with practice, grow into. So perhaps perfection is the process that leads to a complete life fulfilled in acts of love–love that leads to justice, mercy, and humility.

So mote it be!



Simultaneously published at




Posted in Art, Corina L. Ravenscraft, Essay, find yourself, General Interest

Perfection and Creation

We have a saying in my family, “Nothing to it, but to do it.” It’s meant to be a motivator, a call to action, and can be applied in many different situations. When it comes to the craft of creating, however, sometimes that motivation of knowing that “it needs to be done, so get to it”, isn’t enough. Some of us want to wait for the perfect time or inspiration in order to begin. Others of us start, only to become frustrated with how our efforts are proceeding.

john cleese quoteIt can be hard to create (whether it’s visual arts like painting or photography, or writing poetry, or coming up with a few bars for a new song) if/when you wait for the perfect inspiration to hit you or if you keep revising something in the quest for the perfect color, the perfect frame, word or note, etc.

have-no-fear-of-perfection Salvador Dali

Perfection is an illusion, anyway. But there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to applying “perfection” to the creation of one’s art. Some people feel that seeking perfection can lead to trying harder and ending up with something as close as you can get to perfect.Vince Lombardi perfection

Others think that it can demoralize a person to the point of giving up (or not starting at all, which is worse).

perfection quote Margaret Atwood5154-if-you-look-for-perfection-youll-never-be-content Leo TolstoyBoth approaches have their merits, and while both points of view can lead to success, I think they take very different types of people to make them work. Some people work better under pressure than others. Some enjoy more of a challenge than others do.

Quotation-Oscar-Wilde-practice-perfectionWhich camp describes you? Does the search for perfection in your craft motivate you? Do you find that striving to reach your personal best leads to success in your creative endeavors? Or do you feel that all that pressure tends to backfire and leads to being paralyzed with inaction? Do revisions make you shudder? Do you “edit” as you go?

Regardless of which attitude toward “perfection” that you have, it’s important to realize that the true meaning of the word only belongs to the Divine. We may come close. In fact, finding peace and acceptance of ourselves as part of the Divine is necessary, realizing that we are perfect, exactly as we are. Can/Will you apply that same perspective to your art?

It may seem as if I am advocating the acceptance of ‘mediocrity’. I am not. By all means, aim for the moon, you may at least hit the stars! But also realize that everyone probably has a different idea of ‘perfection’, and, barring editors, publishers and the like, you have to be able to stop at a point in the creation and decide when it’s done, or when it’s “good enough”.

Quotation-Michelangelo-shadow-work-perfectionIn the end, the matter of whether our creation(s) have achieved “perfection” is completely up to us. Only the artist knows and can decide when something is done, and whether or not it’s done to the satisfaction of the creator. Remember: YOU, as the artist/creator are the only one you have to satisfy. Maybe in many cases, “good enough” IS perfect.  😉

Perfection-Quotes-Ring-the-bells-that-still-can-ring Leonard Cohen

* * * * * * * * *

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

through the ache of time

720px-52706main_hstorion_lgsee it moving – Life!
moving through the ache of time
seeking that place
where identity isn’t worn on a sleeve,
where individuals challenge the tribe,
where beauty frees itself from convention,
where the chain of fear dissolves

– Jamie Dedes

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved * Photo credit ~ NASA, U.S. Public Domain

photo-on-2012-09-19-at-19-541JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~ I am a mother and a medically retired (disabled) elder. The graces of poetry, art, music, writing and reading continue to evolve as a sources of wonder and solace, as a creative outlet, and as a part of my spiritual practice.

Posted in Liz Rice-Sosne, Photo Essay, Poems/Poetry, Shamanism, Teachers

Traveling to Macchu Pichu

There is something truly wonderful about travel.  I have been blessed in the past to be able to visit a number of other countries.  I have been to Egypt, France, England, China, Mexico, Switzerland, Bolivia, Peru, Spain and I lived in Okinawa for a year.  The Okinawa year was when I was quite young and with a former husband, not a really, really great experience.   David and I never really traveled as Americans.  We have always been aware of the “ugly American syndrome” and truly did not wish to participate in it.   We did not make any reservations other than airline.  Although to be honest, I brought that sort of travel to an end in 1996 when we arrived in Seville without Hotel reservations after having driven from Madrid.  I was 50, it was hot, we were dirty and very tired.  Exhausted, looking for a hotel while driving down streets no wider than the car was not my idea of fun.  But we survived and we were introduced to Tapas.

Travel, if you allow it to do so will open your mind to the rest of the world.  You will see people other than those to whom you are accustomed.  You will see things through their lens.  When visiting ancient cities or ruins should you take the time you can see things through the lens of those who once were.  I believe that travel builds compassion, empathy, sensitivity, mercy and tolerance towards others within the individual traveler.  Traveling is about real connection with another culture.  Visiting Machu Picchu was something that I wished to do since I was 8 years old.  I did not grow up with a television but instead had a subscription to National Geographic Magazine.  How I loved it.  It opened up for me new vistas and made me aware of the world that was “out there.”  I had my first yearnings to connect with others, different from myself.

It is difficult to select a favorite trip.  I remember incredible aspects of each country that we have visited.  Below is a poem and  a few photos from one of my favorite trips:  Machu Picchu, Peru.  I was privileged to be able to engage a native shaman while on my trip to Peru.  At Machu Picchu my husband went one way and I another to do ceremony with the shaman.  Later we met up and navigated the mountain.  One of the important things that happened to me while there was that I lost my rapidly growing fear of heights.  The only way up the mountain was by bus.  The road was one bus-wide.  Looking out my window straight down the  mountain face was frightening.   Really frightening!  It was at that point that I said to myself, enough!  I will no longer be afraid of heights!  By the time that I was on top of the mountain my fear was gone.  I knew that this was true when I walked up to the edge of of the plateau and dangled my foot over the edge.  I was so grateful for that loss, it was life changing.

Still, stillness now

Quiet, center … centered now
Go deeply within
Slowwwwww … ly
Deeply quiet.
Deep within
Space consummation.
Not hurtling … no, not hurtling towards the void.  But slowly advancing.
Slowwwwly … condense all thought.
Become nothing.
your place
your opening
mo v  v v v e  slowly towards
your opening.  Be still.
the tunnel.
LAND.  Quietly.
Summon … your Power.
Summon your … Animal.
Let him/her
Now take you into the void.  Void.  VOID.
CIRCLE … find what you need.
bring it back.  BLOW.
Rattle … feather.
Return now … open, open, open … your … eyes.
6uv MP
The rocks carved to mimic the mountains in the foreground.
6u MP
Surrounded by the Andes.
One could quite literally reach out and grab the clouds.
One of the two mountains on top of Machu Picchu.
Another view as the day moved forward and the mists lifted.
Unique perspectives!
An ancient alter.
A view of the terracing.
MP 1
Looking down, no longer afraid!
Doing ceremony with the Peruvian shaman.
This is one of my favorite photos.  Rain was upon us.  We took cover in one of the nooks and crannies looking up at the sky covering us all.

– Liz Rice-Sosne

© 2013, essay and photographs, Liz Rice-Stone, All rights reserved

unnamed-2LIZ RICE-SOSNE a.k.a. Raven Spirit (noh where), perhaps the oldest friend to Bardo, is the newest member of The Bardo Group Core Team. She is also our new Voices for Peace project outreach coordinator and our go-to person for all things related to haiku.  She says she “writes for no reason at all. It is simply a pleasure.” Blogging, mostly poetry, has produced numerous friends for whom she has a great appreciation. Liz is an experienced blogger, photographer and a trained shaman. We think her middle name should be “adventure.”

Posted in Charles W Martin, Peace & Justice, Photography/Photographer, Poems/Poetry, Uncategorized

while the blind-lady danced…

while the blindlady danced

i asked
the brown bag prophet
if he’d heard
the new round
for justice
he said
why don’t
go sing
another verse of
we shall overcome
any luck at all
you’ can
with the voices
i’ve heard before
and let
be washed away
from these concrete streets
of freedom
washed away
into the ocean
of history
well-intentioned folks
now rotting
in their graves
copper pennies
as their only reward
don’t bother me
with your
these things
i ain’t got time
i got
this corner
and you

Charles W. Martin

© 2013, poem and illustration, Charles W. Martin, All rights reserved

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1product_thumbnail.phpCHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics.  Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography).  Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles  and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period.

Posted in Meditation, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart


sweeping fog

caresses landscapes

cast adrift

Sometimes, we become unanchored from our family, friends, or traditions. Often unanchored means adrift and that is often associated with fear and the unknown.

I remember, when I was in college the first time at the age of 18. It was a time between my first and second semester at college. I felt adrift. I was away from home, away from friends – in fact losing friends as they moved away and grew into new lives – my future was unhinging from my past in good and bad ways. Instinctively, I sought home. I went to my heart-home in upstate New York and spent time absorbing the grounding there. In many ways, that geography anchored me in ways that my drifting family, friends, faith, and future could not.

By discovering my grounding, I was able to rediscover the ground of all being.

misty fog

dancing with day-break

new growth dawns

Although I felt adrift and alone at the time, looking back, I believe that being adrift deepened who I am and what I would become. Detaching from the known and reattaching to both the known and to something new became a way of being for me. This leads all the was to seminary which I describe as a continuous pattern of deconstruction and reconstruction. Each reconstruction creates something deeper, but also something more vulnerable. And the vulnerability ultimately leads to strength.

Fog, as crazy making as it may be (and we do have our foggy days here in the PacNW), has a purpose. Turns out that the Redwood trees in California get 30%-40% of their moisture needs from fog. So this misty, chilling, low-lying-cloud ultimately offers a gift to the world. It can be irritating to be in the fog, but sometimes, just sitting still and spreading your senses out to the surrounding areas that you may not clearly see can be a gift. And this gift can be translated to the world by cultivating a habit of sitting with ambiguity.

You may ask what has my head all fogged in today? My thoughts were launched by a stunning video from Simon Christen, artist. This is a meditation on the fog that he loves in San Francisco. He calls it a “love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay area.” It is quite wonderful.

I would encourage you to use it to launch your own meditation on fog and being adrift. What do you need to detach from? What is the beauty you will see while cast adrift? Ultimately, where will you land?

(Shared with Permission)

Shalom and Amen.


© 2013, video, Simon Christen. All rights reserved.

© 2013, post and poetry, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terriTERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at,, and  To reach her for conversation, send a note to

Posted in Guest Writer, Poems/Poetry

Children’s Hospital, a poem



Rev. Bill Cook Poetry Matters

From this side of this window-
through this glass looking
down seventeen stories –
the world is a odd place.
The smell of rain
has become a distant memory.
Taxi cabs – thick bugs.
People- so much seed
scattered on a hard path.
Who would have thought
a tiny swish rising
through a stethoscope
could so change everything.
Here we are a congregation
Of the suspended –
Inhabitants of a sanitized purgatory –
A communion of those who wait.
Here the priests and prophets
wear blue scrubs
and white paper masks.
Why, I ask, is it that your tiny heart,
no larger than your tiny hand,
should refuse to grow?
What providence has brought us here?
What karma? There is no answer
so we wait.
We wait for our names to be called.
We wait.

– Bill Cook, Poetry Matters

Re-blogged with the permission of Bill Cook, Poetry Matters. Bill is an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, serving a wonderfully diverse congregation.

  • His church: St. Paul UMC, Willingboro NJ.
  • BA. English Lit., Rutger’s, the State University, New Brunswick NJ.
  • M Div. New Brunswick Theological Seminary New Brunswick NJ.
  • D Min. Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC.

Although Bill’s had a life long love of reading poetry, he’s relatively new to writing and publishing it. In addition to his poetry blog, Poetry Matters, he has three other blogs that address spiritual matters. Most recently his poem Lost was picked up for publication by a regional poetry magazine.

Posted in Book/Magazine Reviews, General Interest, Jamie Dedes


Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer's Expo March 2012
Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer’s Expo March 2012

Victoria Slotto, an Into the Bardo contributing writer, had her first novel – Winter is Past – published last year. Her second novel is in progress as well as a poetry chapbook. Victoria is a gifted writer and poet. I am proud and delighted to feature her here and honored that she has shared work on this site. She and I have much in common in terms of values and life experience. It was gratifying to see how well she incorporated important insights and ideals into the narrative flow of her novel. You will fall in love with and not soon forget her dear character, Claire. Jamie Dedes

See! The winter is past; the rains re over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth.” Song of Songs: 2:12

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x420Enter a world where achieving inner strength and surviving the odds are possible

With a talent and voice unlike any other, Victoria C. Slotto captures the reader’s heart and mind with a tale of overcoming personal hardships and struggling with one of life’s most difficult questions, “What if…?”

What does a woman—a fearful woman—do when all she holds dear is in danger of being lost? Victoria C. Slotto’s romantic drama, Winter is Past, explores the depths of joy and sorrow women face and the paths that women find through fear.

Winter is Past explores Claire’s story, a woman with a perfect life—a husband she loves, friends, and meaningful work. As life changes around her, she shows us the strength of her spirit, as well as her belief.

Victoria C. Slotto, a former hospice nurse and a kidney transplant survivor, speaks from experience as she writes Claire’s story. But Winter is Past is not a memoir by any stretch; it is a story written by an accomplished poet and essayist.Victoria’s poems and short stories have been published in several magazines and journals since 2005.

The Plot of Winter is Past

After receiving a kidney from her best friend, Claire has a renewed delight in life. This newfound happiness is put on hold when she discovers Kathryn has cancer in her remaining kidney. To cope with a possible loss, Claire is forced to face a source of fear that has haunted her from early in life. Throughout her journey she will uncover an inner strength and survive the unthinkable. Claire’s fear is every woman’s fear. Her question is every woman’s—can she survive?

Critics Weigh In

Critics have already weighed in with reviews. Jean Davenport describes the novel as “A beautifully written and purposeful exploration of the meaning of life through love, loss and rebirth. The journey of Claire makes us all appreciate the fragile string our lives are attached to and how each event makes all worth living. A great read!”

Winter is Past was released December 2011 and is available in both print and e-book formats via most online retailers, which are listed HERE.

© 2012, 2013, photographs, Victoria C. Slotto, all rights reserved

Victoria and Dave Slotto
Victoria and Dave Slotto

Victoria C. Slotto attributes her writing influences to her spirituality, her dealings with grief and loss, and nature. Having spent twenty-eight years as a nun, Victoria left the convent but continued to work as a nurse in the fields of death and dying, Victoria has seen and experienced much. Because of her experience, Victoria is able to connect with her audience on an intimate level. She resides in Reno, Nevada, with her husband and two dogs and spends several months of the year in Palm Desert, California. Winter is Past is her first book published by Lucky Bat Books. Victoria is also an accomplished blogger, sharing her fine poetry with us HERE.

Posted in Essay, Jamie Dedes


PEARL BUCK (1892 – 1973)

American Novelist and Humanitarian

Pulitzer Prize, 1932

Nobel Prize for Literature, 1938

I give you the books I’ve made,

Body and soul, bled and flayed.

Yet the essence they contain

In one poem is made plain,

In one poem is made clear:

On this earth, through far or near,

Without love there’s only fear.

Essence by Pearl Buck



Jamie Dedes

I view Pearl Buck, whom I started reading when I was twelve, as a sort of spiritual mother. You can imagine my joy then to find a copy of her one book of poetry in a used bookstore. It is the only book she wrote that I had not read. It sat dusty and torn and – while clearly once well-loved by someone – it was now hidden in an out-of-the-way place, untouched and unrecognized for its simple beauty.

In brief, eloquent, deft strokes, Ms. Buck’s poems do indeed express the great message of both her work as a novelist and writer and as a humanitarian  …



Born on June 28, 1892 in Virginia, Pearl Buck was the daughter of missionaries. She grew up in China and spoke Chinese before she ever spoke English. She was a prolific writer with most of her books inspired by her experiences in Asia. In the 1920s, before the publication of her books, her stories and essays began appearing in influential American and Chinese publications.

Of Ms. Buck’s novels, The Good Earth is the most well-known. It was her second novel and became a best seller. She also wrote a number of nonfiction books including memoir and a cookbook. Her poetry collection, Words of Love, was published in 1974, a year after her death. It is now out of print.  It is gracefully illustrated by Jeanyee Wong and was published by The John Day Company, the publishing firm founded by Ms. Buck’s second husband, Richard Walsh.

Throughout her career, Ms. Buck wrote heroically, acutely, and compassionately of women’s rights, immigration issues, mixed-race children, adoption… and, of course, China. She was blacklisted in the 50s for her political and social views. But Ms. Buck’s life was not just about words of love. It was about great acts of love.

Most of Pearl Buck’s humanitarian work was toward mitigating the poverty and discrimination suffered by children.Ms. Buck founded Welcome House, Inc, which was the first international interracial adoption agency. She adopted – if I remember correctly  – ten children herself. Her initial efforts to help mixed-race children were inspired by their rejection in Asia, especially in Korea. There mixed-race children fathered and left behind by American soldiers were barred from any social, educational, and civic privileges, as were the mothers of mixed-race children. Today Ms. Buck’s books still stand as ambassadors of her love and humanity and as introductions to China before Mao.

Here Anchee Min, Chinese-American author, discusses her reasons for writing Pearl of China, a fictionalized account of Pearl Buck’s life.

© 2012, essay, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Ms. Buck’s photograph is in the public domain.

Video posted to YouTube by  .

Posted in Guest Writer, Perspectives on Cancer, Poems/Poetry

PERSPECTIVES ON CANCER #30: When Cancer Strikes



Dan Roberson

It was both
a blessing and a curse,

Her chestnut
hair was often tangled or worse,

There were
times Laura hated her hair,

detanglers, moisturizers,

Sometimes made
her wish it wasn’t there,


It had been
that way as far back as memory could get,

when dry, hard to manage when wet,

curly hair was admired often, she’d confess,

But it was
often a distraction as a frizzy mess,

There weren’t
many options on how to fix her hair,

She worried when
the wind made it fly here and there,

Often Laura
looked out of control and people would rudely stare,


calm, peaceful, and beautiful was her goal,

Forgotten were
the comments about her beauty as a whole,

and her abilities made her special in all she did,

But under
hats, tied up in tight braids, her curly hair she hid,


Laura was a
businesswoman, ambitious in every way,

Determined to
be a success before she turned old and gray,

Laura was
also wife and mother with two children on her mind,

Time for
them or even for herself, was very hard to find,


Her husband
sent her flowers every month to let her know,

That he would be waiting for her if she decided to take life slow,

Her life was filled from dawn till night, with one job to the next,

Rarely did
she spend quality time with Joe, and both were too tired for sex,

were quick and far away, with pictures to prove she was there,

But wherever
she went and whatever she did, she covered up her hair,


from a young M.D. on her routine annual exam,

Made her mad
when he said, “We need further tests for you, Ma’am,”

She went
through the tests mainly to prove him wrong,

Much to her
chagrin blood was drawn, it didn’t take them long,

Laura balked
at first when new appointments were made,

But soon she
was on her way and memories of the visit began to fade,


Later that week several phone calls at work interrupted
her day,

“We want you
to come in, not tomorrow, perhaps yesterday,”

“What’s so important?”
she wondered as she brushed tangles from her hair,

“I’ve always
been so healthy, so why should I care?”

That night
Laura brushed her hair ninety-nine times or more,

With each
tug she commented, “Curly hair is such a chore,”


But Laura
was restless, the upcoming visit was eating at her,

And at her
next appointment she decided she would concur,

“You have
cancer,” he said quietly, “we should treat it aggressively,”

“I don’t
have time for cancer!” she shouted, “or even time for me,”

“We need to
treat it with chemotherapy,” he stated, “as soon as we can,”

“If we want
to win this war, we have to make a plan,”

“Doctor, I’m
too busy for this, I’ll do chemo in the spring,”

“Then they’ll
bury you deep while you sleep, the chemo won’t mean a thing,”


The nurse
read a list of changes that Laura might expect,

Foods to
eat, nausea, loss of hair, there was little time to reflect,

She could
deal with changes in her diet, so why did she care,

Yet on her
way home one thought returned, she would lose her hair,


What would
she do about work, would everyone lose respect?

And what
about her children and her Joe, what would he expect?

“This is not
fair,” she thought, “I’ve fought hard to get where I am,

Now I have
cancer and that puts me in a jam,”

She’d talk
to the doctors and see how this could be fixed,

Laura knew
how business worked, maybe this could be deep sixed,

She was
afraid to hug her husband, likewise with the kids,

With this
draining more from her, their marriage would be on the skids,

Joe listened
to her intently and suggested a group for her to attend,

“I don’t
need a support group,” she countered, “I just want to mend,”

He left a
number of the group in case she wanted to call,

For two days
Laura wanted nothing to do with the group at all,


But the
third evening as she brushed and detangled her hair,

wondered what others did when strangers began to stare,

She called a
cell phone number knowing she had to make a choice,

She agreed
to go to a meeting when she heard a cheerful voice,

“Come on and
join us, we’ll have a special guest tonight,

You’ll find
we have lots of fun because no one gets uptight,”

Nervously she
brushed her hair as she waited for her ride,

In the car
it was explained she’d have to wait outside,


Waiting outside
a home made her feel this was not the place to be,

But she only
had time to see what they wanted her to see,

placed was a sign stating the group’s name,

“Birds of a
Feather” and in smaller print, “We’re all the same,”


Laura was
led in at the appointed time but saw one empty chair,

“It’s saved
for you,” a woman called out, “and your beautiful hair,”

How could
she explain that soon her head would soon be bare,

She was
afraid they might laugh and show they didn’t care,

Laura’s fear
was growing as she glanced about the room,

She was the
only one with cancer and ready to meet her doom,


single women, mothers, daughters, wives,

These women
were all beautiful and had normal lives,

“We have a newcomer tonight, so welcome Laura
with applause,”

The leader
continued, “And in case she’s worried, it’s time for us to pause,

We’ve faced
our fears before, and sometimes hid our shame,

But together
we are strong and our freedom we proclaim,”


One by one
each removed a wig to reveal her hair was gone,

“We’re all
in this together, no one is all alone,”

Their smiles
were wide and welcoming as the leader took her hand,

“When you
can, let Laura know that you really understand,”


When the
meeting was over Laura returned home,

She kissed
her children and showed them her comb,

explained her disease and told them about her hair,

They answered,
“We love you, mommy, we don’t care,”

Her husband,
Laura learned, was compassionate and kind,

He loved her
for her heart, her ambition, and her mind,

They decided
to fight cancer together and strive for the best,

And they’d
spend more time living and loving with zest,

The cancer
went into remission and Laura grew back her hair,

And whether tangled,
frizzy, or wind-blown, now she combs with flair.

© poem and artwork, Dan Roberson, 2011 all rights reserved

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Dan Roberson ~ lives in Kansas City, Missouri.  He says, ” I celebrate life. I retired from teaching and now I’m looking for new parades to lead, or to follow. I’m alone, still hoping to be a published author, and trying to stay on my chosen path. I have no anchor to hold me down and I’m ready to rid myself of possessions that impede progress. I want my imagination to soar. I’m open to learning about new worlds, new countries and languages, and different ways to look at things I thought I knew. Every day is a bonus day and I look forward to the challenges it brings. I’m finding out that technology is fast and getting faster and there is much information that I need to learn.”  You’ll find Dan at My Blog.