Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Amanda Marie

We line pebbles
on the path,
for each day,
and hope for more.

Our eyes rove
the swish of leaves
in the verdant lushness
of treetops,

the bright snaps
of daisies,

the flitting burst
of butterflies
that land soft on our arms
and legs
and flip-flopped toes,

the swell
of the ocean,
with joy.

We watch
the sky burn pink
when night falls
and the stars begin to dance;

and contemplate
how all this reminds us
of how love’s branches budded
to bring us your smile.

Maybe tonight
Gavin and Cassidy and Sawyer
will dream
of their mother’s eyes,

Derik, her voice at his ear,

and Susan
of her little girl
so brave, so strong.

Something like
God’s lovenotes
even when
we’re not looking.

And what we thought
were scattered pebbles
lost in this life’s storm

are picked up
and churned with God’s tears
and our own,

placed in His bottle
these new-polished pebbles
are jewels
close to His heart,
treasured and unforgotten,

until we see
your smile bright again
and are


“You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book.”  Psalm 56:8 NLT

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Behind the poem:  a few days ago my sister asked me if I could write a poem for her sister-in-law’s daughter, Amanda, who had been a given a prognosis of two weeks to live, as a special gift to her family.  She survived leukemia as a young child and had more recently been diagnosed with cancer again.  Yesterday she passed away.  She was 31 and has three children who are 8, 6, and 4 years old.  This poem is for her, for them, the man she shared her life with, her faith-filled mom, and all her family and friends who love her and wait for the day they will be together again.  With love and prayers for comfort and peace. ~ Jen

Saturday, May 10, 2014

no matter how you spell it...

photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

if i could
i would

break off
a piece
of the sun

to give
to you

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s hearts out there!

© 2014 chalk sketch by me and my 6 year old.  He loves his familywe’ll keep working on the spellingsmiles

Thursday, March 27, 2014


photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

extra treats,
longer hugs.

laryngeal paralysis
& age
are taking you
the next phase.

we mentally
try to hear
the future

of hefty paws
padding the floor,
and your bones
with the creaking of the stairs.

we say things like:

remember when he stole that entire ham?
we’ll never have another dog
like him.
he’s happy;
he’s had a good life.
i want to be the one to dig his grave,
when you know,

your slow-wag tail,
your chocolate eyes
melt us

and each of us
for how
we can learn to say,

do svidaniya, drug.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

I’ve been working on this one for a while.  Too emotional.  Our big, mellow Labrador, Druke, is 13 years old and the signs are all there.  “Druke” is how we spell his name, pronounced “drug/droogk” meaning “friend” in Russian.

до свидания, друг

Sunday, February 16, 2014


i don’t want to be cute!
i hate being adorable!

when you want to
have muscles
and body hair
and drive a car

this is,
to a boy of six
with three older brothers—

a curse.

the curse of cuteness.

what do you
want to be?

with no hesitation,
all gumption and flash,
the reply: 


i laugh, and quickly try to stifle it—

because he really means it
i do

get what he’s saying—

he wants to be taken seriously
around here,

a mustachioed man/ninja/t-rex
to be reckoned with,

even if i do still help him
to put on his belt
and slick down the cowlick
on the back of his head.

i nod,
as somber and intent
as if i am making
a most grave and
solemn vow.

just between you and me—

he’s still so cute

it’s scary.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

shared at poets united poetry pantry

Monday, January 27, 2014


Like a classic car,
or old school stuff
that never goes out of style,

like when people say, in admiration,
“they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore”


make me grin
and say to myself,

yes, they do.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

An instant classic.   
I know, I know, spoken like a Mom.  But what can I say?  I adore the kid.  He celebrated his 14th birthday this weekend.  
Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Monday, October 14, 2013


photo © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

Just outside this circle of light
the mood of sky is darkening
as sprinkles of rain are turning to floods.

I feel I won’t drown this time,
awash in ash, as deep autumn burns out,
thrusting the baton to barrenness.

Stained on the caverns of my heart
are four amaranthine trees.
Their branches and leaves are arms and handprints,
shoring up each chamber.
Their colors are lanterns,
bright and glowing.

This heart has been made rich and fertile;
this ship has beacons, reasons,
to remain buoyed and sustained.
By them I am helped to weave my way,
even when the dark bleeds thick
upon my mind, poisonous and looting.

I have found in their eyes
warm respite from the seeping cold of lifeless hollows
and cradle the hope that is anchored
in the breath and vitality
that each of their smiles light
to bring me home.

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

For my four sons and all they have had to understand in my struggle with depression.  Ever yours ~ Mom.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Remember Boys

Remember boys
Are tender souls
With mud stains
And Xbox games

Running fast
Looking back
Sword fights
Movie nights

Flexing muscles
Soda burps
Green slime snakes
And broken plates

Little men
In the making
Make my heart melt
With “Mom, I love you”

Little men
In the shaping
Their growing pains
Are mine too

Remember boys
Are tender souls
With dirty hands
And…pure hearts

© 2007 Jennifer Wagner

For the boys who delight me daily.  I am so grateful to be your Mom!  I wrote this not long after the birth of my youngest son in 2007.  I often cringe when I read my past work but the sentiment is there so I’m pulling it out of the archives to submit it to The Poetry Pantry:  Mothers Around the World.  Happy Mother’s Day to all moms…hope you have a beautiful day!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Westport Beach

cherry blossoms and butterflies
get stuck in my throat
today, and every time,
a just right spring blows
the salt wind and dark wave
against my memory
and across my bare toes
to unbury thoughts of pebbles and sand
and running and laughing
and six year old you

Copyright © 2013 Jennifer Wagner

For Andrew.  On a day like today.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Beginning of a Poem

your life
as a song to me
your tender heart

and when
your smile
was all i had
to get out
of bed

it was enough

Copyright 2013 Jennifer Wagner

for Andrew

dVerse OpenLinkNight 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wild Peaches and the River

 She tucked me into bed,
wrapped me in
an age-worn quilt
and I slept like the baby I nearly was.

When I woke,
I pulled the quilt around me
and tiptoed across the old wood floors
covered with braided rugs.

Rubbing sleep from my eyes,
I entered the kitchen
and watched her sitting at the farm table,
with a cup of steaming coffee, slicing a wild peach.

Her hands were still strong then;
and even now I never see a peach,
smell one, taste one,
without thinking of her.

She laughed, her mellow way, eyes crinkling,
when I said how much I liked the sweetness
but not the fuzzy skin which poked
like a prickly moustache against my mouth.

Overheard her saying, later
that she ‘got tickled’
when I’d said the pigs rooting in the pen
looked like they had ribbons in their tails.

When I’d trailed her
to the rabbit cages
and saw a mama rabbit
eat her own baby

she didn’t shield me
from the horror of it,
but let me ask the hard questions
and answered them, best she knew.

‘Fascinating’ is what I’d called it,
when asked about it back home.
And she was, too,
though I never said it.

Except at the cemetery overlooking the river
when I wished her back
to see me enjoy the sweetness in my life,
to bring lightness when it poked;

and because the questions
have only gotten harder.
But mostly, to hear her ‘tickled’ laughter
one more time.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

For Grandma.  Rest in peace, we so often rested in yours.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baiting Hooks with Luke

At 9 years old
it’s funny how
half the bait slips off the hook
before it hits the water.


A lonely barely-bit of bait,
not worth a triploid trout’s time, really—
makes it
into Rufus Woods Reservoir.

He shrugs, though, good enough—
just to get it out there,
sits down on the dusty rock
and waits
for a pulse on the line.

He owns this moment
as I watch him
smile a bit,
flick his foot in the water,
and gaze at the opposing hills;
while I wonder
what he’s thinking.

No more than half a minute goes by, and

‘Got one’ he says, not surprised, at all—
and begins reeling;
the rest of us look at each other,
shake our heads,
and laugh a bit in disbelief.

Something about
the faith of a child
to know you don’t have to
be perfect,

sometimes fish
are just hungry.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

to be linking up with the amazing poets at dVerse Poets Pub this week

Monday, October 1, 2012

Never Lose the Ability to Get Lost

blonde and brown
heads bobbling
with energy
they, like arrows,
pierce the earth
with exuberance
never losing
their silly, boyish grins
as i watch them
jumping, bouncing
wrestling each other
on the trampoline
where they forget
brotherly offenses
i hope they never lose this
ability to get lost
in the moment
with laughter
and forgiveness
like dollops of rain
drenching the
thirsty onlookers
and me the memory of it

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

my boys and how they work things out, my favorite people to watch…meant to link up to Brian Miller’s people watching poetics prompt, 6 Billion Others at dVerse, but got busy and was too late…so I’ll be linking it to openlinknight

Friday, July 27, 2012

Paper Dolls, 1950’s Single Mother

butter she
mixed with sugar
and fed to us
on saltine crackers

we washed it down
with powdered milk
we were poor
we were rich
we didn’t know either

until we
went to school
and our dolls of paper,
to friends whose had
vinyl and mohair
and real clothes,

became priceless
she’d made
them all
by hand

for Mom and for Grandma (Elaine Rogers, 1926 – 2010)
Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner
added to The Poetry Pantry

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Crickets

we held them
in an empty jar
holes popped into the lid

trickling grasses
and bits of dirt
to make their new home

they were always gone
by morning
set free as we slept

by grandpa
saving them
for tomorrow’s hunt

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Little Cowgirl

little cowgirl
on grandpa’s horse
ten             feet            tall

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner

Saturday, May 26, 2012

American Style Haiku

                dinner table
               hum and din
                —song of heroes

  Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner