Saturday, April 30, 2011


Let's start with some poetry:


Solemn smiles in gilded frames,
Sins protected by solid names.
Picasso concepts held hostage by words,
Moons fleet then turn into broken birds.
Weathered willows with dew adorning –
Self-harm apprehended by early morning.
Predisposed as futile servants of the sun –
In a dichotomous world, there will be only one...
One of a thousand faded flames,
Bartered souls – to maids from dames.
Intuitive spirits sequestered by doubt –
Children sink, are orphaned and posed to pout.
Desperately seeking what cannot be sought –
Take heed, eager viewers, she cannot be bought!
Though frightened to feel and frightened to fail… Battered-beaten-bold Beauty isn't for sale.
--K. Roessler

copyright 2005 by Kathryn Roessler

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sonnet For My Newborn

-- for all of my Mommy friends!

Newborn's Sonnet

His grin flashes like lightning,
His eyes – a fathomless storm of blue.
His smile shall dance upon your mind –
Linger there, and captivate you.

Each movement is pure and raw emotion,
Each cry – a siren that shatters the night.
He weeps, and my heart ceases to beat,
His laughter is effervescent light.

My baby slumbers and the universe rests,
And life is so new at the start of each day!
My son, my world, my perfect creation,
Steals nearly each of my breaths away.

This song is for you, precious child of mine,
My heart, love and life shall be forever thine.

--K.Roessler  7/2008



Ironic - persistent, redundant, the failure of time,
Chasing a trail of blood circle- c's,
Beauty, shamelessly clinging to hopes
Illustrating madness' epitomes.

In-eloquently, she is labeled a "fool,"
By those who would respond in despair.
The wiser admire she who survives -
In a cage, enduringly gasping for air.

Perhaps this endurance is greater a curse,
Willingly sentenced to Eternity's strife.
Regardless of whether death shall prevail -
There will always be greater beauty in Life!

--K. Roessler 1/1/03

A Mini-Version of My Grandmother's Story

OOPS!  I am now following myself!  Is that OK?  Not arrogant, I swear :)

I posted this mini-tale for my beautiful friend, Wendy, who is battling cancer and taught me to BLOG.

I call this a mini-tale because it only skims the surface of my wonderful grandmother's story.

I want to share (a portion of) my grandmother’s story with you. At 69, she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. She was given 3-6 months to live if she was lucky. But my Grandmother was a fighter, survivor and a real hoot, if you knew her.
I was only 13 when she was diagnosed but I became a grown up that minute. I went to every chemo session with her. They were usually 6 hour infusions in a room with other patients. My grandmother was the house entertainer! She would chat-up and cheer-up every single person in the room, they were mostly older men and women but we also had two 12 year olds. They had a TV but on the days my grandmother and I were there? It was a Part-ay! She sang, I sang with her… I journaled furiously while she entertained. I was writing her story while she lived it. I have a closet full of journals. I have kept them since I was 9 years old (that’s also when I started writing poetry).

My grandmother was my mother, father, everything. She took care of my mother, my sister and me. I always felt like my mother was just my out-of-control older sister. She is a "smiling dragon of barbed innuendos." (--quoted from Katherine Mosby's "Twilight."). But that’s another story. Anything I know about being a good wife or mother or person came from my grandma.

When my grandmother lost her hair (she loved her hair and even when it was old and gray she kept it long and wore it in carefully arranged bun), I wept for her. She didn't cry or complain; she laughed and said, “Well that’s a relief! One less thing I have to fuss over and deal with! Let’s go find a classy wig!”

That was my grandma’s spirit. She handled the grit, and pain and every ugly, grueling aspect of cancer and chemo and sickness with grace and humor. I sobbed crying for the greatest role model, friend, mother, teacher, counselor, and priestess that my grandmother embodied. She looked at my sister, my mom and me and said, Mark my words: I will fight, love, laugh and LIVE through this for years to come. I will prove the doctors wrong; I’m going to live a heck of a lot longer than 3-6 months. They will NOT put a timeline on me, my life, or my vitality!

And she did just that. She (we) lived through a full hysterectomy, almost weekly grueling chemo sessions, treatments, appointments, and 2 more surgeries. I was 13 when she was diagnosed and given 3-6months to live. She eventually passed away a month before my 16th birthday.

When they said it was ‘her time,’ they moved her to a hospice suite (her hospital room with a room attached with a cot and a couch and a reclining chair for my mom, sister and me to sleep in). The doctors told us she would be passing that night or the next day. She hung on for two WEEKS. Every bit the proudest of the proud Fighting Irish/from Queens, NY hanging onto to each moment left on Earth. Those 14 days in the hospice suite were the hardest. All of the nurses, night security, cafeteria staff, orderlies, basically every hospital employee knew that the term “visiting hours” did not apply to my mom, sister or me. I was on summer vacation between my sophomore and junior year in high school so I was there almost 24/7 with her.

We were granted a small miracle from heaven one of those days in the hospice fortnight. One night, my grandmother woke up! She had been heavily sedated with morphine to keep her comfortable, was fed through IV, and the doctor’s said that, theoretically, it was impossible for her to be conscious or coherent enough to sit up and talk the way she was. It was truly a miracle. It lasted about an hour, but in that time she talked to my mom, sister and me each in turn and alone. This, of course, what after she sang, “Let Me Entertain You,” to the room.

I don’t know what she said to my mom or my sister, but I will never forget what she said to me. “Kathy, you are quirky and brilliant. You have a strength in you that is special that your mother and sister don‘t have. Take care of them, I worry about them but I know you will be fine, we are survivors. Always stay close to your sister and mother and be strong.”

With that, I told her I loved more than anything in the world and would be fine. That if she saw grandpa (her long-since-passed husband), hitch a ride to heaven with him. We’ll be OK, you can go now.

I, of course, was not OK and many, many mistakes in the years that followed. I don’t regret any of them because they have made me who I am today: a strong, quirky, brilliant, survivor. She passed away shortly thereafter. I stayed awake for the next few days straight to give her the only departing gift I had to offer, an eloquent eulogy worthy of what she meant to me.

The day of the funeral, in a big Catholic Church, I thought I would pass out as I walked to the lectern to read my eulogy. I was certain I would falter, and cry and just as I was about to turn away from the microphone and crumble, I felt HER holding me up at that podium. I was embraced by a warm strength that I know came from her… I read every word clearly and from heart. I wish I had not lost that eulogy, I wish I had made a copy and not left it on the lectern to be thrown out… but I do remember two quotes I began and ended it with:

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
DIE NOT, poor Death; not yet canst thou kill me!”
-John Donne (intro poem to John Gunther’s “Death Be Not Proud”)

…and I finished it with a verse from Longfellow’s Psalm of Life:

“Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate -
Still achieving, still pursuing!
As we learn to labor and to wait.”

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sleep Well My Sweet

: I wrote this when I was 14


I have but now to talk of dreams,
And Lover's love of what it seems.
Not of truth, but lies I speak,
Out of favor, love is weak.
If brawling love makes loving hate,
What, then, dust thou dost create?
Parting not, is sorrow sweet?
In parting thus, a freezing heat.
Love starts no deeper than one's eye -
Star-crossed choice : do or die,
This tangled web that we are weaving,
-A heartless effort in deceiving!
Still walking sleeps that cease to end,
Oppressions tears, that pretend-
Provoked madness, most discreet...
In groaning sadness, "Sleep well, My Sweet."

--K.Roessler circa 1996

Exoneration For My Mother

An Important Exoneration for My Mother:

I need to clarify something very important...

My mother and I have a very long history of a love/hate relationship.  There were many things she did (and sometimes still does) to hurt me.  I want it to be clear that I have been equally hurtful in retaliation to her. 

I do believe she was a poignant contributing factor to much of my self-destruction endeavor that lasted from age 9 until age 23 (when the pregnancy with my first child saved me from myself).  But I know, that even when I couldn't feel it, she has always loved me.

There are many ways in which she has changed over the past 10 years.  We are still love/hate friends but I cherish the relationship we have worked very hard on growing.  There are many holes in it that will never be filled... we still have a tendency to hurt each other in ways that no one else can.

We have both worked very hard to heal a very co-dependent, often broken relationship.  We will never get all of those kinks worked out, but the point I am trying to make : we both have made countless mistakes.  At the end of the day (or maybe a few months), she is now and ever shall be my Mother - and even though we sometimes need distance from each other, there is Nothing I won't forgive her for...
...and I think (and hope) she feels the same about me.

--K.Roessler 4/29/11

More Poetry


Mercury dancing in autumn rain,
Twine, intertwine - a footprint stain.
Falling swiftly, through leaves October -
Fizzled to stay safe-sane-and-sober.

Firm captive in opaque, endless night -
Ceaselessly waiting for dawn’s first light.
Imprisoned in seventh circle of hell,
Fearing eternity in venomous cell.

Tethered to Earth - but there she goes,
The beautiful, luscious, violent rose…
Out of the shadows, out of her plight,
Into brightest light - and out of your sight.

Bound to break free before she feigns -
Tethered by only Manmade chains.

--K.Roessler (Sonnet 2011)