Voices of Valley Women 2010

The following poem was written by Carol after the death of Charlie Atwood‚ beloved husband of Paula and treasured friend to many in our community.

A Walk With Charlie

He flew through the trees
white garb glowing‚
happy as a child.
“Look at me‚ I am free!”

I walked with pen in hand‚
and tear – wet paper‚
Charlie‚ close ahead‚ trying‚
trying to give answers to my questions‚
with each explanation‚ only questions.

Do we know our time of birth and death?
Does it matter what we do or feel or eat?
Or are we like crying babies‚
waiting to be changed?

Who feels our pain?
Do roses bow their heads
when watered by our tears
yet touch us with their beauty
in our sorrow?
And when they wilt‚
does beauty survive
unseen‚ adored‚ eternal?

Charlie tried to answer‚ I only questioned‚
feeling his embrace like a heavy cloud‚
stepping back‚ startled.

Black birds flocked‚ hundreds‚
and on silver-flecked wings departed.
Where do they come from
and so quickly go? Where do we?
No answer.
“Go‚ be with Paula.”
And he was gone.

© Carol Toba 9/13/09


Another Scary Story

Something gruesome lurks
in a corner of my daughter’s heart,
stirs just under her most ecstatic dreams,
lit and staring like a yellow eye
glaring all the time.

In Gettysburg, our costumed guide confers with spirits,
gazing through the night like a long-abandoned lover
to that far line of trees, impenetrably black, where
the pleading soldiers gather, where they
wait and wait and wait.

Driving home in the car my daughter begs for another
scary story with gorgeous girls and mist, with
witches, kisses, horror, blood. Listening, she
uncovers a kick-ass answer to the world
and its silly carnival of tears.

Something stubborn lurks
in a corner of my daughter’s heart,
stirs just under her most disquieting dreams,
lit and shining like a tiny star
singing all the time.

© Heather Davis

Back to top.

A Dandelion…Flower or Weed

I walked in the commons through spring’s breezes so fresh,
I felt my feet touch the clean mowed grass.
I looked all around at God’s glorious earth,
I saw many jets arriving on time.

I knelt down to pick the flower below,
A dandelion which is really a weed.
And yet, its glorious color pulled me in
To believe that it was as delicate as a rose.

She reminds me of a dandelion
(Her favorite yellow cat was given that name)
A mane of flaxen hair nourished by the sun
Yet roots of turmoil…classified as a weed.

I carried the flower home remembering how as a child,
We gathered many for teachers or mom.
I brought just one into my fold
I had just one flaxen haired child.

She, too, had roots of turmoil
Beauty on the surface that fooled all around her.
I won’t let myself remember her as a weed,
In my heart that rose will bloom forever.

© Mary Ellen South
In memory of daughter, Kim


This Window is a Thirst but Not a Good Drink

From this window
In time and space
I mark my place
With a soft Retreat of senses
And a slow dance to
Self and lessness.
Below, pale offerings
Suffused with sun
Delight the sidewalks.

From a Hopper lit 
Drawn soft corner of 
A window
I see faces 
Distorted and stretched 
To screams of
Sad orifices that 
Used to delight 
Sidewalk persons.

I prefer this 
Downward view 
Shaded by drawn, 
Sanctimonious pillars, 
Which split this curtain
On momentous or paltry 
Occasions that have 
Marked my place
In time and space.

Having no more truths
I can deny to myself,
I ask my monsters
To surrender
And come inside the window,
Not to shatter those images of
Cardboard people
Marking places
In other times
Through uncertain faces
And switched spaces
Of light from
Former windows.

© Joanne Cherefko



After a ten-hour day in the city
and a three-hour commute,
after cooking dinner and washing up,
after playing with my daughter
and reading her to sleep, after
brushing my teeth, after donning
thick flannel pajamas and wool socks
against the unforgiving drafts
of a 100-year old house, I
am trying to remember
what our most sensitive
body parts are for.
Does it always come
to this? Let’s pull out
our schedules, pencil in
a date and time, set
a tickler to remind us: peel
away from the made world. Slow
down. Seek out small
surreptitious doors. Search
for curious flowers. Revel
in heady scents. Share
a single extraordinary glance
shaped exactly like a key. Darling,
how I miss you, how I hate
this clockbound life. As
our heads hit the pillow and we
tumble into sleep, let’s agree
to text one another every day
as desperately as teens
with this simple, erotic message:
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

© Heather Davis


FRWRC meditation walk

By Eka Kapiotis

After days of cold rain and wind, the morning of May 15th was gorgeously sunny and dry. Perfect for a stroll through the park. Ten of us met at Blandy Arboretum in Clark County for the May edition of the WRC meditation walk. Weather wasn’t the only concern for some. Several were experiencing challenges with walking, and contacted me in advance to find out how enthusiastic the pace would be. I was happy to let them know that each person would go at their own tempo. In fact, the morning would be all about tuning in to one’s own pace and needs and letting go of “have to’s.” We arranged to meet in the main front parking lot and car pool to a small back lot. Those who were interested in the “walk” hiked to the back lot and we all met at a designated location.

Standing in the newly mowed grass, we formed a circle to introduce ourselves and connect with each other. We took a moment to fully appreciate one-by-one the ground beneath our feet, the sky above our heads, the breeze all around us, the trees, birds, flowers, colors, fragrances and sounds. We breathed in the essence and sensed the beauty of each of these, and also took a moment for those things that were beyond our usual senses.

Then I offered the instructions: wandering! “Please just let your feet and body, your inner promptings, guide you. We all have so many agendas that rule the day. For this time, just let your body take you, without any intentions or thoughts about where you ‘ought’ to go. Take your time and enjoy where you are. Be like a child who just enjoys this very moment, when just the fact that you are alive and it’s a sunny day is enough to make you happy.”

I offered a way to deepen the experience. If you find something that you feel attracted to, quiet yourself and appreciate it for a few moments. Send out a “hello” to the object of your attention. See what happens. Ask if there is a message for you.

As we moved out of the circle and each into our own world, the sun moved higher and warmer and the friendliness of the arboretum embraced us each on our particular adventure. When we returned to the circle, an hour later, we were relaxed and renewed. Most everyone shared what happened when they said “hello,” their discovery sometimes surprising, informative and/or reassuring. The only person who didn’t have anything to say was the one who didn’t return, having too wonderful an experience to stop it short! No worries, we found him later and he made it safely home!

Experiences ranged from deep communing and witnessing of nature, to being immersed in history, to purely enjoying the sights and sounds. Rebecca Matchett received a writing that is included in the newsletter. Linda enjoyed “Mosby moments”, excited to be in the same space as her very famous passed friend. Also included is an action shot – enjoying stillness! Enjoy!

I hugged a Yellowwood tree. It’s white flowers smelled like jasmine. My arms wrapped around the massive truck, I questioned my adequacy. Do I do enough? Am I doing it wrong? AM I enough? The tree held me and said, “It’s OK. I got you.” Not answering for me, “Yes, you’re enough”; just holding the moment for me. Being with me.

I touched the rocks. Feeling my worry Mother Earth said, “I’m OK. I gave you life. Remember?”

I laid in the grass. I hugged the Earth. She took from me my angst. She can take a lot. Of course, she’s Mother.

I sat on a boulder and looked out over the wetlands and the birds flying. Mother said, “I’ll be fine. I’m the boulders, the water…..even the oil. It’s my children, in all their forms, that suffer. I gave them life, I sustain that life, and in death they return to me. They all return to me eventually. I’m afraid many will be sooner than later. I’m always here for my children. I give them everything they need. But some choose to abuse their time here. There is nothing I can do but receive them when their bodies die. It’s love all the same. It’s always love. I’m nothing but love.”

© Rebecca Matchett 5/15/10

Voices 2010