Tag Archives: healing


This is a strange poem to be posting as we haven’t yet gotten to the summer solstice, the longest day of our year. Samhein as you’ll see is well after summer. But, this was the poem I found when looking for something to explore, discuss, and write about healing. How do we help other’s heal and how much healing work do we have to do ourselves to be able to help another person? There is much in the greater world that is sore from today’s wounds and there are many in my small classes that need a salve as well.

Below, I include a quote and after the poem some notes are included as well. Don’t miss that the poem itself ends with some very apt words about death, relationships with mothers, and living with family.

The quote:

“We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”                            Max de Pree

The poem:

Samhein                                                                                 Sylvia Bortin Patience


As days shorten and darkness lengthens,

we celebrate the seed under the earth,

a new year growing in winter’s womb,

the beginning and end of life

stirring in the dark.


The veil thins between the worlds,

those who died are welcomed home.

Rituals of water and mirrors

reflect the light of fires across the void

that separates living from dead.

Cailleach, the blue-black goddess,

begins her reign of wintry night.


I have placed my altar and my candles

in the western window as a guide

for my mother’s spirit journey home.

As she comes closer, I see she has lost

the trappings of her later years,

the walker and the wheelchair.

She moves lightly, a young woman,

dreaming down the beach in search of shells,

lilacs from Iowa in her hands.

Her blue eyes look far away within

where perhaps a poem even now begins.


I am unable to imagine

what she might say to me, or I to her.

The vision remains without a voice.

Even when we lived together,

it was hard for us to know each other.

I have no wish to interrupt her reverie.

For both of us, the poems are enough.



Samhain (pronounced SAH-win) is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year.

Cailleach (Gaelic pronunciation: kye-luhkh) is a divine hag, a creator deity and weather deity, and an ancestor deity.


Assateague Island, October

Summer is a good time to think about all the other places you’d like to be, whether, it be the beach or a pilgrimage.  This poem blends the two and makes them one.

Assateague Island, October                           Marjorie Saiser

For an hour my son stands in the bluegreen ocean,

his shoes slung over his shoulder, looking east past

the place where

in the shell-green water,

the water swells,

past the place where

the wave, though it has no beginning, begins.

Every seventh wave

against his ankles, calves, knees,

splashing up onto his old hiking shorts.

He has said the crash of the water is a breathing.

I sit on the sand. I too hear

the planet breathing

blow after blow,

my breath slows


That time when I pulled

your hair in anger. I am sorry.

Let this wave heal it. That time when

I made you, a little boy,

so carefully apologize

for what didn’t matter.

Let this wave heal it.

When I didn’t write you, afraid

your father would misread.

Let it be carried up

Like a handful of small white bubbles.

When I fussed over you.

When I couldn’t stop

even though you hated fussing.

Let this wave wash that.

When I talked too much

in front of your friends,

Let this water and foam

take it.

When you were in the hospital, fighting

The bars, the rails, my arms

To climb out of bed.

Let this wave take that away.

When I was busy growing up

and you needed me. Let this whole

sky-green ocean swell up

and breathe it away.

Tomorrow we will go to the

Vietnam Memorial, you and I.

It will be raining. We will stand

with others in the rain

and I will cry for the pink rose on the ground

and the old man holding a

black and white umbrella.

I will cry and you,

who do not cry,

will put your palm

like a rose

on the shoulder of my damp coat.

Name after name

name after name

rolls in us and upon us

healing you, healing me.