Saturday, February 4, 2012

"To Keats"

With pen touching paper,   
I watch the gray shadow float.   
What mystery is this—   
This writing?   
Thoughts of Keats’s imagery   
flow through my crowded Mind.   
How could he write with such   
tingling beauty?   
Each metaphor stings with perfection.   
Every allusion, Spring water clear—   
Fresh, sweet air,   
almost the bitter sweetness   
of a deep Red Wine.   
Can our vineyards produce such a tasteful red?   
Could I, or any other wondering   
Bard of this century—   
Ever create such subtle horizons—  
such mystic hues?  
No, Romantic as I may be,    
there will be no more virile   
poesy such as Keats’s   
No Grecisms forever alive.   

Copyright 1976 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

I found this piece tucked into my freshman composition journal from my first semester at Texas A&M. I'm presently skimming this spiral, rediscovering the unpolished, enthusiastic writing I composed.

Friday, February 3, 2012


He inters uninvited, a shadow cast across my bed   
He lurks just beyond my vision   
His onion breath jars me to alertness, yanking me out of sleep   
He lays heavy-limbed next to me   
He pins me under his arm, making it impossible to breathe   
His bristled beard rubs my shoulder raw   
In panic, I pull away   
I kick my feet free of the binding blankets   
I elbow him in the chest, desperate for escape   
Heart racing, I bolt from the bed to see him sneer in pleasure   
His victory rests in my wakefulness   
He silently slips from my bed when I turn on the light   
In triumph, he vanishes, a shadow in the night   
 Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Hand and Foot"

From the first morning bell, I am your hands and feet.   
Fatigue may dog my steps, but I don’t miss a beat.   
Rigid routine protects you through the endless day.   
Boredom entices you to see another way.   
On long days I cringe to hear one more request.   
My poor hands ache and sore feet scream, “Give me a rest!”   
Good days mean we venture out to eat or to shop.  
An hour’s your limit before you droop and drop.   
I wait on you hand and foot out of love and care.   
I treasure all these special days that we now share.   

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

For those of us who provide care for family members, the job is hard and yet rewarding. For me, it started with Mom having her own apartment here in San Antonio. We hung out together as she didn't need any help except with driving. As her needs changed, so did our roles. When Mom moved in with us in November 2010, I didn't realize her condition would worsen rapidly. We definitely try to focus on the good days!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

“The Aging of Love”

At first   
            its warmth penetrated   
                        cascading over me like sunshine               
                        murmuring to me with the rhythm of soft rain   
            cleansing my spirit—   
                        cool, sweet, crystalline   
                        swaying in the breeze   
Then came   
            sparking eyes   
                        a trickle of laughter   
                        following me forever   
            Gummy Bears   
                        Silky baby powder   
                        the earthy scent of youth   
                        rippling and dancing   
            the yellowing lace and wrinkling skin   
                        a soft sigh of summer’s end   
                        Autumn’s whispering   
            bittersweet kisses   
                        soft pats of affection   

 Copyright 1996 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

“Gonzales, Texas”

Gonzales County Courthouse (1894-1896)
          For years, we drove from our home in San Antonio to my sister’s home in Bay City, passing through the quaint town square of Gonzales. Every time we slowed through this small town’s streets, we promised ourselves that we’d stop and check out the shops and historical sites. Once the trip to Bay City became too long for Mom, we started using Gonzales as a midway meeting point. My sister, mother and I decided after one rendezvous that we really needed to spend an entire weekend there.
Carriage House Belle Oaks Inn Bed and Breakfast
         A little research led us to the Belle Oaks Inn Bed and Breakfast. This splendid home, converted into a B & B by some Aggie alumni, offered a carriage house remodeled into living room, small kitchen, and two bedrooms and bathrooms weekend paradise. A mother-daughter weekend rarely happened for the three of us, so this memory remains one that I enjoy pulling out and reliving.
         Mom could still walk at this point, but she used a walker for longer distances. She could manage going from the carriage house to the main house for breakfast every morning, and the beautiful pool, gardens, and patios didn’t challenge her too much. I think we visited every store along the square, and we discovered a few local restaurants with fantastic food. However, at the end of each day we pulled into the Dairy Queen near our B & B to order a chocolate milkshake for Mom and MooLattes for Paula and me. The locals greeted us as though we’d lived in the area our entire lives.
         The respite from this brief visit lingered in my mind, and every time I started feeling grumpy or stressed, I’d remember the lazy days in the pool and the genteel grandeur of this wonderful place. It didn’t take long before I convinced David to take me back to Belle Oaks, and Gonzales, for a much needed anniversary escape.
         With our stay, we booked the Riata room in the main house instead of the Carriage House. We spent idle hours during the first evening lounging on the upstairs balcony and playing in the pool. The next morning, we donned our running shoes and took off on the “driving tour” on foot! We walked up and down streets carefully marked by the town to view splendid homes built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. With camera in hand, we snapped shots of the County Courthouse and local churches as we strolled along.

         We haven’t managed to return to Gonzales, but I think fondly of this oasis of rest situated just a short drive from home. I believe I’ve begun to think of it as an emergency haven, like our cabin in Leakey, that I can travel to when I need to recharge.  

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman            

Monday, January 30, 2012

“Her Fall”    

I held your tiny hand, tugged you away from danger      
            carried you safely to the other side      
I protected you from water’s edge and ocean’s undertow—        
            the drowning tears of your uncertainties      
I watched from the sidelines as you changed—       
dwindling into someone I no longer recognized      
Now, dismay burdens me,        
cements me in place as you scale the precipice      
I call out, “Don’t! Turn back! Wait for me!”      
            as your compulsion drives you higher, higher      
I perceive the cracks in your mask      
            even as you disillusion those who still believe in you         
I reach futilely skyward, my feet anchored in place,      
            unable to halt your ascent over crumbling rock       
I try, and try again, to guide you to sure footing          
            but you ignore my words, indulging in illusions of independence      
I weep, a witness to your self-destruction,        
as your frailties and obsessions force your fall         

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Time Gentles Us"

Time gentles us.    
The harsh edge of youth, worn smooth by experience, flashes still in our eyes.    
The dreams we created during marathon letters, the hopes we shared in late night talks, the idealistic     beliefs in our power to craft our world still simmer within us.    
We write, sing, dance and paint.    
We invent and design even as we age.    
Our minds conceive one more challenge, and we strive instead of giving up or giving in.    

Shallowness flaws some of us who search for The-Next-Best.    
Praying to the false deities of selfishness, some listen to the wrong sermons.    
“If I’m happy, then . . .” becomes the excuse for broken promises and heartless escapism.    

Are we the hopeful or hopeless generation?   
Have we fashioned a world of possibilities or of twisted humanity?    

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman