Saturday, October 8, 2011

“Flaming Liberal”

Hair afire 
eyes ablaze  
bleeding heart worn on my sleeve  
believing in changing my world  
one deed at a time  
hands open in kindness  
soul accepting alternatives  
mind embracing the strength of diversity  
Hair afire  
eyes ablaze  
bleeding heart worn on my sleeve  
expecting chivalry and honor  
even among the thieves  
hands sustaining the destitute  
soul offering them hope  
mind implementing the strategies of success   
Hair afire  
eyes ablaze  
bleeding heart worn on my sleeve  
acknowledging the flaws   
within the order  
hands mending the tears  
soul nursing lost courage  
mind deciphering the woes of our world  
Hair afire  
eyes ablaze  
bleeding heart worn on my sleeve  
ignoring taunts and insults  
from conformists  
hands reaching for harmony  
soul seeking tolerance  
mind exploring multiple paths for our destiny    

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Friday, October 7, 2011

“The Moat”

Moat at Trim Castle
Trim Ireland Sept. 2010
I dug the ditch   
a spoonful at a time,   
never realizing I retreated   
behind tower walls   
to protect our ways.   
With bridge drawn,   
I tucked us into safety,   
buffering us from atrocities—   
the truths too discordant to hear.   
The trench widened and deepened,   
separating us from outsiders—   
foreigners with cruel customs,   
invaders contaminating our traditions   
with alien perspectives.   
I defended our ideals   
with water and wishes;   
yearning to shelter and shield;   
armoring us against    
the rest of the world.   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Trim Castle from across the Boyne River
September 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011


a branch from a strong tree   
grafted to another tree   
entwined and interlocked   
growing new   

a child’s mischievous grin   
before he puts a bean up his nose   
a cuddle on the couch   
calling softly   
Love you to eternity   

tasting life in all its flavors   
the spice of banter   
the bitterness of loss   
a sweet ecstasy    
of togetherness   

two hands clasped together   
heads bent over an open book   
laughter at private jokes   
whispering softly   
in yellow haloes of light   

Copyright 1995 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“The Best Advice”

         Just like most people, I’ve received my share of “deconstructive” advice over the years. You know what I mean. The two cents worth that a busybody must impart with great sincerity and greater hypocrisy. You smile and nod your head with a vague look in your eyes. You bite your cheek to prevent spewing your desired response, and instead you politely say, “Thank you so much for your advice.” Then you go on ahead and ignore it all because you doubt the motivations of this “well meaning” advisor.

         However, I do know that some people in my life bestowed wonderful tidbits of guidance and philosophy that carried me through rough times. Many of these pieces of advice came from unexpected sources when I least foresaw the impact of their wise words. I’ve grown to cherish these principles and thought I’d pass them along today. I don’t want to present these canons in any particular order because at different points in my life, they’ve taken on different degrees of importance.

1.       Don’t have a television set in your bedroom. Couples don’t need that distraction. (This came from my mother right before I got married.)

2.      Try everything twice because you may not like it the first time around. (My father’s marital advice. So many different levels to this tidbit . . .)

3.      Never stay in a relationship if there’s physical or emotional abuse. (Both of my parents were very firm on this.)

4.      You have your entire life to reach for goals and dreams. (My father finished college at the age of 48 and started a new career at 50.)

5.      Enjoy each and every stage of childrearing and parenthood. (Remember, your relationship with your children lasts your entire lifetime.)

6.      Sometimes, you just have to put your head down and plow through the bullshit by sticking out a bad situation until you get to the “good stuff.” (Delayed gratification leads to such tremendous rewards.)

7.      Choice becomes a part of every day. We cannot often control what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to those events. (I’ve always had trouble with this because I want to try to control situations/events/people. You know, trouble shoot and prevent; but somehow that rarely works.)

8.      Plan for the worst, but hope for the best. (These words guide my daily life now more than ever.)

9.      You can spend your life miserable looking at what you don’t have, or you can spend your life happy with what you do have. (I can never understand why some people choose to be unhappy, but they do.)

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Pitted against the world   
The cover you wear protects and hides   
            Your softness   
            Your sweetness   
            Your tenderness   

Copyright 1995 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Monday, October 3, 2011

“Twenty-four Hours”

            a black velvet cloak   
            that envelopes the Mother   
            cradles her in Heavenly splendor   
            offers her brilliant diamonds   
            in tribute to life   

            like a subtle warrior   
            creeps into the sky   
            wars against Night   
            a battle ground   
                        endless ebony   
                        royal purple       
                        burnt orange       
                        bleeding scarlet   
           spiking and spearing rays of the sun   
                        into Night’s flesh   

            glorifies the Death   
            sings bright notes   
            crystal and clear   
            celebrating the beginning   
            with rainbow droplets of dew   

            at first fresh and young   
            a cacophony of life   
            vibrantly shimmering in blue pools   
            like reflections of eternity   
            in the waters of life   

            the faintly pungent aroma   
            of decaying leaves   
            burns across the sky   
                        soft crimson   
                        silky salmon   
                        deep violet   
                        boundless black   
          encompassing and evolving
          to the depth of twilight   
                        enveloping the Mother   

 Copyright 1994 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Sunday, October 2, 2011

“A Beautiful Day”

         The most difficult part of caring for my mother comes on beautiful days like today. We woke up this morning with crispness. The air carried a snap to it that caused me to pull the covers up a little higher and bury myself a little deeper into bed. When I let the dogs outside, I lingered in the doorway, sniffing autumn. Sunrise takes on a clear golden glow this time of the year, and I long to grab my journal or a novel and swing under the live oak for hours on end.

Edna Abrams and Koi
September 29, 2011
         Because my mother can no longer get into and out of her wheelchair without aid, she needs someone close by throughout the day. I never dreamed that her condition would mean sacrificing morning walks to the park or afternoons spent in the gardens. Her limitations restrict my movements as well. During most of the day, we stay in the same room together unless I’m doing housework. Even when I do chores, I swing into whatever room Mom occupies to see if she needs anything—and just to let her know I’m near even if she can’t see me.
         My days become a difficult balancing act. On the one hand, it’s similar to having a very young child around—one that needs food to be the right temperature and cut into very small pieces; and one that requires help in bathing, dressing, and toiletry needs. On the other hand, I give care to an adult—and my own parent. I still try to defer to Mom’s desires and requests with respect. As speech becomes more and more difficult for her, expressing her wishes isn’t always easy. If she starts to laugh or cry, I’m at a loss to unravel what she’s asking for or from me.
         Each day, Mom begins her bed routine around three in the afternoon. One symptom of her disease is an urgency to eat. She’ll demand meals or snacks in two or three hour intervals and waiting for something to eat proves almost impossible for her. Because Huntington’s Disease affects her ability to swallow, she’s limited in her food choices. I tried a few months ago to rely on frozen meals as a solution to getting her something to eat as quickly as possible. After a week or so, Mom commented that the food tasted horrible and started refusing to eat them. I now prepare huge meals that I know she likes and freeze them in smaller portions.
         Once Mom eats her dinner, she insists on brushing her teeth and getting ready for bed. That means we’re pulling on her nightgown by four every afternoon. Since Mom gets up by 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock each morning, she feels exhausted pretty early in the evening because she doesn’t take any naps during the day. Mom will ask for help in getting into bed, get up ten minutes later with a request to go watch television, and repeat the bed-television-bed-bathroom-television-bed cycle until six o’clock. One day, she did this obsessive rotation more than twenty times!
         Recently, she’s taken to ringing her service bell just to make certain that she hasn’t been left alone. Today, because she watched Children of the Corn earlier, she rang the bell several more times than usual, finally asking with a devilish grin if we had an axe in the house “just in case.”
         Intellectually, I understand Mom’s need to have someone close at hand. My mother’s body traps her in space. Emotionally, it sometimes proves impossible for me to stay within the confines of her disease. Today, I escaped on a quick drive to Sonic once David returned home from running errands we used to do as a family. I keep reminding myself, though, that every day holds beauty. I simply need to look for it.        

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman