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Small Measures
Judith Heron

after my son has left
What stock can be made of happiness,
what reckoning of the holiday. Candles burned
to the quick, the cupboards overflowing even
after you have gone. The counters strewn
with empty jars. The pleasure in counting them –
one for tomatoes plump in lasagna, a small one
for wild plum syrup over waffles, two for pears,
your favorite, eaten from the jar. One for peaches 
and the sight of you in the kitchen, downing
the last of the apple cider before you hit the road.
Sugar cookies, fresh when you arrived, eaten
in front of the fire. Your request for hot chocolate
every night, a pot of coffee in the morning. Those
daily walks along the sea when the sky turned bright
so briefly, or up the mountain in the undeniable sun.
A friend writes of ecstasy. Who was it that said:
Ecstasy is a soul’s response
to the waves holiness makes
as it nears. Annie Dillard.
I remember now.
If this be the New Year approaching,
then let it be said I am blessed.

© by Judith Heron.
Used with the author’s permission.

Judith Heron lives in Victoria on Vancouver Island. She has been published in a number of chapbooks edited by Patrick Lane, and in three anthologies: A Murder of Crones (Ptarmigan Press 2007), The Wild Weathers: a gathering of love poems (Leaf Press 2012), and Poems from Planet Earth (Leaf Press 2013). Though she has always lived on the west coast of Canada, Judith cherishes the homestead traditions of her prairie heritage. She is currently in the final edit of THE JAM MAKER, her first book-length manuscript.



Post New Comment:
Ross Kightly:
Being very much a leaver and one often [for various reasons] left this enchanting poem strikes more chords than a late Schubert piano sonata. [Enough over-elaborate metaphors! Ed.] Sorry, but the sentiment is genuine. There is so much universal human experience in this poem it is hard to imagine to what kind of person it would not speak. Thank you, Judith. And Jayne of course.
Posted 12/30/2013 10:36 AM
I love this! I so remember when my boys (who were in college) left again to go back to their schools. (and all the laundry they left behind!)
Posted 12/30/2013 10:24 AM
wendy morton:
Judith, you fill those empty jars. Wonderful.
Posted 12/30/2013 10:24 AM
First tears of the day. Thank you for this poem.
Posted 12/30/2013 10:13 AM
I love the texture of the language that creates such wonderful images!
Posted 12/30/2013 09:23 AM
Wilda Morris:
A lovely way to bless the aftermath of a holiday visit. Thank you.
Posted 12/30/2013 08:43 AM
Blessed be the New Year and the comings and goings of our lives. (Elena)
Posted 12/30/2013 08:18 AM
warm and lovely start to my morning, where it is 11 below zero here...
Posted 12/30/2013 07:52 AM
Oh, touched my heart this morning! I too have a son who leaves.
Posted 12/30/2013 07:25 AM
Judith -- you express the paradox of motherhood very well -- AND the comings and goings of everyday life.
Posted 12/30/2013 06:29 AM

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