Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I'm running a fever, probably because I was up most of the night washing my son's pukey bedding and listening to him make frequent trips to the bathroom. Damn you norovirus, why do you like this boy so much?? Are you running low on cruise ship victims to torment? Here is a bit of gastrointestinal grief haiku for your entertainment, and my catharsis...

virus, get ye gone!
you are no dear friend of mine.
why not take a cruise?

Also, I worked from home today, writing a thesis-sized report, and my writing energy is pretty much drained. Maybe I'll find it in me to write something later today, or maybe not.

So here is a mouldy oldie for your reading pleasure. I wrote it after the shuttle Columbia came apart, so it has rather a grim tone, but it came from the heart. Christopher reminded me of it with his talk of astronautical journeys.


What perspective was gained by seven
Who went above, outside, beyond
To see the earth a blue pearl beneath them
What perspective was gained?

What thoughts went through their minds
When they saw home from above
All countries one, the war machine irrelevant
What thoughts went through?

What wisdom filled their hearts
As they drifted silent, weightless, cold
Above us as we slept warm in our quilts
What wisdom filled?

What hope is there now for us
To learn what was lost
When they came down in ash rain
What hope is there now?

Why do I weep as if
It was my breast-blood-children lost
Coming home from first spirit journey
Why do I weep?

Rachel Westfall
February 1, 2003


Karen said...

You weep because you are of mankind, and to quote Donne, "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind."

Sad remembrance.

Karen said...

Hope you are all better soon. My daughter and family were sick for more than a week with this nasty bug.

Faith said...

I seem over emotional today, because now I have tears in my eyes. Your poem is beautiful. The repetition of questions so perfect and painful. Thanks for bringing it forward.

I hope you are all feeling better. That type of sleepless night is the worst. My kids haven't been sick like that for years...Hope tonight all rest well...

Lisa said...

get well sweet one- my life evolves around you( no pressure ! )

Rikkij said...

Hope all gets better, Rach~rick

Woman in a Window said...

Rachel, what a lovely heart you have. And now I'm wondering too.

Get ye well!

Linda S. Socha said...

This one is so touching...and still relevant

Creation said...

Very touching.

I can never forget that terrible day for the day it crashed happened to be my birthday.


Julie said...

The poem is very touching and sad. It's hard to make me cry, but this one did. Very powerful!

I'm sorry you and your son are sick. It sounds awful!! Best wishes to you both for a speedy recovery.

Catvibe said...

Rachel, first, I hope you and your son are both feeling stellar very soon. Yucky icky stuff. The poem is beautiful and touching, I love the way you wrap the beginning and end of each stanza around in a circle.

That was a sad day, as was the day of Challenger. Both etched in memory with a cleaver.

Aniket said...

A sad yet beautiful remembrance!

Hope your family is all better now.

Ghost Dansing said...


Mike-Mike said...

Get Well Soon, Beautiful!; Health is wealth...


ConverseMomma said...

I have always believed we should have sent poets instead of astronuats to the moon. Could you imagine?

Feel better, my dear.

RachelW said...

Thank you all, both for your comments on the poem, and for your well-wishes. I felt just dreadful for a bit there, but I'm almost back to normal. You'll tell from my new poem that my appetite is returning! :) Thank you, so much!!

If only we had sent poets to the moon... imagine...

SarahA said...

Imagine! I can you know.
I am liking your words written, very much.

'What hope is there now for us
To learn what was lost
When they came down in ash rain
What hope is there now?'

My fav of the whole.Good write, you.

christopher said...

Rachel, Thanks for your reminiscence...

Columbia In The Air

Things come apart now
hear the rattle and crashing
shriek of hull rending
while my pilot cries
and the others stare amazed
at the glow around
us, the bright deep blue
appearing in widening cracks.

We watch as time ends.