Joyce Chiu Broadbent Counsellor, Bereavement and
EMDR Coach & Therapist,
Mindfulness and Reiki Teacher

My Poems. Sunrise

MY POEMS

Legacy of Love

Picture if you will
A cast iron teapot
Passed down by
Generations of mothers.

See yourself
Lifting the lid,
Breathing in the
Aroma of hot tea.

Feel the steam rising,
wetting,
warming your face,
A memory,
A smile.

You left the
Brew waiting,
Distracted by the
business of living.

Brows knitted,
Remembering,
You return

Perhaps 5 hours,
5 days,
50 years later,
To the enduring love and wisdom of
Your mother,
Your mothers’ mothers.

The tea, still hot.


Skeleton Woman

Have you heard of
Clarissa’s Skeleton Woman?*
How her bones were snagged in the Fisherman’s net?
How he ran away from her
And brought her home?
How she took his heart
And breathed life
Into her being?
How she was restored and merged with him?
How they became one
Both Man and Woman again?

And what about you?
Me?
Is there a Skeleton
In our closet?
Have we thrown away the key
Hoping to
Protect us from ourselves?

*Clarissa Pinkola Estes’
Women Who Run With Wolves


Have You Lived?

My Friend.

You live tight fisted
Nails digging into
Your bleeding palms,
A jagged ball of fear and rage.

Who are you
Running from
Or
Fighting,
Defending?

Half remembered
Memories of a child at the cusp of womanhood,
Half smiling,
Dreaming of a
Prince Charming
Slaying her dragons.

She is still here.
Her dragons
Now
Her friends.

Reclaim her.


Commentary

The Skeleton Woman and our inner Dragons define our humanity: fears and vulnerabilities. By owning them, we become fully human. We nourish the repressed Feminine and we transfigure the Western Dragon of destruction to the Eastern Dragon of power and strength. God’s burning bush of love is a fire that never burns.


The Water’s Edge

I have died.
I have walked up to the water’s edge,
And felt death’s touch on my toes.

I have travelled near enough
To feel your breath on my cheeks,
To know again how it is to be loved,
To be the most important person to someone
Who died
But is still alive in me
Still.

I have died
To hold you alive in my heart.

I have missed you so,
My love.
My life review of our time together,
I watch more closely
Your every flaw, your intention, intelligence, wit.
Your love for me
For others.

You cried with me, talked about your hurt, your fears, your desires, dreams.
In a flash, they slip through my fingers.

I hold you still
In my death,
Sprinkled with the waves at the water’s edge.

You are mine,
Still mine.
Unlost,
Remembered.


Autumn

Arriving this morning at seven,
In the most prosaic surrounding,
Performing the most prosaic tasks,
I discovered candy floss clouds,
Flecked with bits of heaven
Outside my bathroom window.

Nature opened before me,
Tempting me to be still.
I gazed, stunned
By the majesty of the oak tree
Stretching wing tipped leaves above,
The vines still jostling on the trellis wall
And the leaves below
Pregnant with red autumnal hues.

Summer is dying,
Giving way to my favourite season:
Autumn.


Outside My Window

One day,
This will fade.

The branches, stark naked,
Stretching upwards in supplication,
Will be clothed in tender baby leaves.

The sun, like a playful kitten,
Will peep out of the winter duvet
Of thought-leaden clouds.

One day,
This will fade.

And if I stride, stumble, run, dance, crawl, tip toe through life,
If I fail to notice, to realize
That this will pass,
I will have lost
This day.


Our Time Has Passed

We sat
After the meal
My husband left
A space for us to fill.

We poured over photos of youth,
Reminisced on ours,
And know our time has passed.

Photos of stunning young women,
Poised to conquer the world.
We want for them to embrace it as we did,
Wide eyed innocence behind sophisticated masks.
We want for them to ride the highs and lows
And dare to love and win and lose.

I want it for their sake
And for ours too.

For our time has passed
And our lives were full.
Now, we are invisible
And wiser, more generous and sadder too.

For the time has come to mourn the loss
Of those who left us, and
The time has come for us and
So will for them too.


Waking up
from a Dark Night of the Soul,
a haiku came to me:

Dawn, stretching her sinuous body
Scattered rainbow hues
On an unsuspecting world.


The Eleventh Hour

While I was showering around 11 this morning,
a shaft of sunlight struck my face and a haiku came to me:

An angel of light, bursting through the storm clouds of despair,
Carries gently under her wings
The blessings of my twin sisters.


Lost Souls

Here I am,
My mind full of lost souls,
My heart breaking into sad songs.

A word, a glance,
A human connection,
A subtle recognition of one
By another.

You talk of dreams,
Your pain, your dark secrets.
The little girl who longs for her daddy’s permission.

The father who lied about his affairs,
The mother who made herself a martyr,
Made you complicated.

You yowl:
‘You wimp,
I hate you, don’t leave me’.

We are more similar than our differences:
The human endeavour to love, be loved,
Lost in the sea of shoulds and musts,
Lost in the tide of shame and guilt.

We yearn for that knowing look, that faint smile,
That says: ‘I have been there'.


Unforgiven

I get out of bed
Moved by the image of a
Haunted man
Crazed by the curse of unforgiveness:

I killed my mother
Left her to die in agony
Without morphine.

Now he chooses to suffer for his mother,
Tormented by the ghosts of evil creatures,
A hating god,
Pouring boiling water on his face,
Raping him, shatting over him,
He cannot sleep, cannot eat.
A husk of a soul,
In the emptiness of a hospital room.

I am alone with his terror
I cannot reach him,
I cannot even reach myself,
Doubting how I could be of help,
How he could be helped.

Will a listening God listen?
Or has He gone out to lunch?


Learning to Fall

Today she crossed the line:
She was crass and pushy,
Not very likeable.
Proving what she secretly feared:
Wild and untameable,
Alienated and alienating,
She caused her mother grief,
And now,
More.

She was never the good one,
The sociable one.
She found solace in make-believe,
And pretended
She was the good one
The sociable one.

And now, the chink in the armour is revealed,
And she is learning to fall
Upwards into the grace of God.



A Spiritual Encounter

In the comfort of my Serenity Room,
Bathed in the softness of a setting sun,
You hurled invectives at me.

What makes you better than me,
In your comfortable space,
Your comfortable chair?

You splatter me with your compassion,
You make me crawl and walk
Over hot coals for my salvation.

Two vulnerable people,
One, offering the best of who she is,
The other, his shame.


The Other

I am tired and sleep escapes me,
Crowded by images of the other
Cramped together
In a little space.

I could not breathe,
Attempting to be too clever with words.
My soul escaped to greener pastures
Wherein lay realness and honour.

We came to this space
Hoping to meet the other
On the soul level,
And yet, I still hid under the banner
Of the therapist’s imperative to be authentic.

I was not truly there,
Though I felt I was,
I was not truly naked,
Though I wish I were

So people can still love me
For who I am
And shame or perceived shame
Won’t rob me of myself.

I do not want to disappear,
I do not want to be miserable
Any more.
I continue to long for God’s grace.


Let Me Understand

Let me understand you.
You talk in tongues
Contradicting yourself
Contradicting me.

A man born with an
Acute sense of observation and reasoning
Straddling the inner and outside world
A stranger to himself.

You spoke a language not your own
To communicate with others.
You feel a sense of duty
To serve the world with your gift.

You found a voice
And realize too late it was not your own.
At the age of 50
You will yourself to sacrifice

Not yourself anymore
You start to speak in tongues again
To find amidst them your own voice
And resolve to find someone who can understand.


The Trickster

The clanging of the water pipes
Has its own rhythm
Which I know not.

In the midst of an unquiet night,
I pause and listen
And there is silence,

Only to be caught unawares
When I feel all is well and it
Rips my peace apart.

Such is the trickster in my mind
Harsh, unyielding, unremitting
Clamouring for attention.

And as I near life’s journey,
I pray for a God
Who will carry me home safely.


In Spite Of

In spite of
Lying here
Prone
On the reiki bed
With my wandering mind,
I receive
The nectar of God’s love
In the hands
Of my students.


When I Disappear
(After a reiki share)

When I disappear,
The pain that
Inhabits my body
Goes AWOL,
And my emotions discover
A land of milk and honey,
And sweetness caresses my soul.

When I disappear,
The Heaven’s gates opened,
And angels embrace me with silvery wings,
Whispering tenderly:
You are loved
Always,
And loving is easy and natural.

When I disappear,
I kiss mother earth and all that inhabits within.


Inspired by a Constable

Can you see
The glittering diamond of
A white-washed house,
Sparkling against the sulky sky?

Can you hear
The menacing whispers of
The skeletal trunk,
Threatening to pierce the courageous heart?

Can you spy
The turrets' shadows,
Looming over the cottage small?
Is it friend? Is it foe?

Can you trust
The beckoning light,
The promise of a welcoming hearth,
A haven for the weary soul?


Siblings

We are leaves from the same tree,
Torn asunder and scatted
To the far reaches of the earth.

We find roots in lands familiar and alien,
Breathe a different air,
Learn a different language.
Plant a different tree in a different soil,
And long to return to the tree that is no more.


The Poetry Workshop

I have not come so far,
To be dragged back
To a present that
Is an Illusion.
Perhaps it will be
Different this time?
Perhaps for now,
This is enough?


WE ARE NOT PROBLEMS TO BE FIXED, BUT PEOPLE TO BE UNDERSTOOD (JCB)

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