Sunday, August 25, 2013

Looking for Red Clover

"Lillian's Chair"
           for Lillian Lowenfels

Lillian has just arisen from her chair.
She has gone into her garden to commune with snails
to answer the bird's questions.
She has left her shawl and her cane
and that iron leg brace.
Won't she need her shawl in the garden?
Won't she be feeling the cold?

And she has forgotten her sling
thrown it carelessly aside -
the crumpled black satin
in which she cradled her dead arm
for seventeen years.
In one hand she took her straw basket
in the other her pruning shears:
"That bush needs seeing to," she muttered
and went looking for red clover, queen anne's lace.

What is she doing so long in the garden?
Where has she gone with her red hair?
She just grew tired of sitting and watching.
A vivid light pulled her into the leaves.
Woolen shawl, satin sling, iron brace -
she just walked out on them all.

Left us this empty chair.

~ Olga Cabral


  1. This is lovely! The garden is a good place to be called into the light. ♥

  2. Oh, very nice. Walking off into the garden seems more inviting that setting off on an ice floe....

  3. What a beautiful, beautiful poem. I am gobsmacked. Now I know what that word means. Thank you, Teresa. Just... wow.

  4. This is a stunningly beautiful poem. Wow.
    The images are powerful. Pulled by light into the leaves to tend to the garden and look for red clover. Just absolutely beautiful.
    I wondered who Lillian Lowenfels is. I'm not sure, but she's probably the wife of Walter Lowenfels. Their story is interesting.
    Thanks so much for sharing this Teresa.

    1. Yes, I think so, too.

      I suspect you're right in that Olga has written several poems speaking out about war and injustice. This is an earlier post which included one of my favorite poems of hers:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Bill.

  5. From the sweet, sweet clover, to the images of Lillian Olga Cabral's poem conjure up, I'm almost in tears over this post, Teresa. Absolutely beautiful and reads like a eulogy. I'm now wanted to discover more about Olga and about the Lowenfels, wishing I had seen this before I went to the library a bit earlier.

    1. Olga is a wonderfully aware poet with thoughtful insights into human nature. The Lowenfels, as Bill mentioned, are an interesting couple.

  6. A beautiful poem. The line that stopped me was "She just grew tired of sitting and watching." It brought me to tears, actually, because it so completely catches up the reality of my mother's life in her last months. She found her own way to walk out on us all - I'm so grateful that she was able to, and that someone could catch up that sort of experience in words.

    1. I would love to read about your mother's exit. Have you written of it on your blog and I missed it?
      This poem really does capture something that speaks deeply about how we all would like to exit this life, I think. It really moved me, also.

  7. so beautiful and so sweetly sad but uplifting as well

    1. That's a very good description of this poem. Thank you, Linda, for commenting.

  8. Somehow chilling and still poignant and sweet. And those left behind must wonder. A beautiful, beautiful poem.

  9. Dear Teresa, such a lovely, poignant, reverent poem. For some, death is a going through the door from one room to another; for others it is a journey over a ocean onto a far shore; and for Lillian it is a getting up from the chair and embracing a life she's loved. Thank you. Peace.

    1. Oh, Yes! I love this response, Dee. ... embracing the life we love, what a beautiful way to move forward into whatever is next...