Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Poetry Review Special Feature: "Carmen" by Ellen Denton
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased is present "Carmen," a previously unpublished poem by Ellen Denton, a freelance writer living in the Rocky Mountains. Her short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies covering a spectrum of fiction genres. She has a strong fondness for speculative fiction, with work appearing in Suddenly Lost in Words anthologies, a Jusanni Productions print anthology, and others, and forthcoming in Daily Science Fiction. She was one of the shortlisted finalists for the PK International poetry competition, and has had verse that appeared in a Binnacle publication. Her creative non-fiction has been published a number of times in Publishing Syndicate anthologies and elsewhere.
The ocean brought her in to me
the ocean took her back.
Carmen died last night. She was 96.
She had, during life, visited 42
different countries, every US state,
survived 5 separate and distinct
bouts with cancer, and had 4 children
who didn’t visit or call her. Even
on Christmas. Never
A bad word to say about anyone,
she had the spirit of a seafaring bird.
Visiting her was always like a walk
on the beach at dawn. Star-fish, shells,
and stones, wonders of the sea
left on glistening sand
by the incoming tide.
In death, if she could tell me
one thing now, she would say:
Turn off that open faucet of inner tears, girl.
The tides of life may wash something away,
but they always bring something new in the morning.
Poet’s Notes: Carmen was a real person. Her indifferent children were real. The cancers were real. Her death was real. She rose above it all with this amazing good humor and grace. I only met her by chance when I was visiting someone else in a senior care center, and came back to see her many times, because no one else did.
Some people move around in our lives like ghosts. Carmen, even dead, is more alive to me today than many people that still walk this earth. She was a grand lady with a child’s heart – a true spark of light gone from the world.
Editor's Note: Elegies are often too personal and lack the universality desired for inclusion in a literary journal. "Carmen" is an exception. Sadly, I believe that we probably all know someone like Carmen. It is worth giving all of us a reminder. There are nice elderly people out there who have been all but forgotten, as Mrs. Denton's breathtaking use of enjambment between the second and third stanzas drives home.