Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: unanswered questions

Staring at a blank page

Staring at a blank page
Wondering what lies within
This relentless transition
From life on earth to whatever
Comes next

This morning’s air is heavy
With unanswered questions
More waiting in the wings
And the invisible fog of
Not knowing

I hear the clock chiming out
The hour of the day and wonder
What day and hour it is in the
Brief picture of my life
On this earth

Surely this isn’t what You meant
By numbering my days
Though I do sometimes long
To return to the womb and
Start over

Today is already half gone
Never to be relived and likely
Never grieved just forgotten
A small yet significant piece of
Your great puzzle

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 June 2019
Photo found at

seeping through pores

Seeping through pores
The virus takes root
Invisible at first
A sense of not being
At home or abroad
In this sea of strangers
Wandering in and out
Filled with good will
They come and  go
Dry and desolate
A thought takes root
Without reason
The only welcome visitor
Whose words unheard
Make perfect sense
In this dying hope for miracles
That never arrive on time

In recognition of our most recent national upsurge in suicides attempted and/or completed, and in honor of family members and friends who ended their lives on this earth, or made the attempt and failed.

Always a thousand unanswered questions. Always a sense of ‘what could I or we have done differently?’ Always a desire to go to sleep and hope for something better when I wake up.

Multiple resources are available online. Hotlines and chat rooms are open night and day. Sitting there, waiting to be used. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 June 2018

caught unawares

caught unawares
poised between heaven and earth
pilgrims journey home

When will the sun set?
Who will return tomorrow?
Will the bridge remain?

steady footsteps
drum softly in fading light
glowing with promise


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 June 2017
Photo found at – Burmese Foot Bridge at Sunset
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Revelation

Letting go my desire for survival

I’m missing the routines
that keep me steady
and grounded.

Living moment to moment—
So happy to be with her again,
my daughter.

A little off-balance in my daily life—
Grateful for a quiet mid-day
so I can write, eat, be with myself and rest.

The rain has stopped and the sky is brighter.
Still feeling the edge of cold damp air
on my hands, legs and torso—
Wore my wool undershirt today
and flannel-lined jeans.

I want to mother her—
The thought of end-of-life stuff
gives extra meaning and urgency to our visits.

Have I been faithful to her?
Always such a distance to travel
for such a small bit of time.

Is it time to practice letting go—for good?
Whatever that means—
I’m not sure.

I’ve never done this before.
Neither has she—
So many unknowns.

It’s hard to see through tears.

Just being alone for a few hours in this house
feels sad—too empty,
too quiet.

What will it be when she isn’t here—
Or when I’m not here?….


I wrote this journal entry during a recent week-long visit with our daughter and her husband. Our first visit with them since I learned I have Chronic Kidney Disease. Surprisingly, the words sing to me–sweetly and sadly. No rushed or distressed cadence. Just the leading edge of a reality unknown to me as a mother.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 May 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Survive

I just want to know….

Is this part of a plot?
Or is it an impromptu interlude
Patched together
From bits and pieces
Intended to look and sound
Like the real thing.

How long can this farce endure
Before it becomes sick reality
Gorging its maw with
Shreds of a dying dream?

Is it too late to go back
To the beginning
When fun was funny
And leaders knew when
To keep their mouths shut
And their hands to themselves?


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 May 2017
Response to WordPress Prompt: Farce

I Years had been from Home


~~Dickinson Homestead, Amherst, Massachusetts

In this narrative poem, Emily Dickinson seems to have a real destination in mind. Yet she focuses almost entirely on her internal fears and consternation. What’s going on? My comments follow.

I Years had been from Home
And now before the Door
I dared not enter, lest a Face
I never saw before

Stare stolid into mine
And ask my Business there –
“My Business but a Life I left
Was such remaining there?”

I leaned upon the Awe –
I lingered with Before –
The Second like an Ocean rolled
And broke against my ear –

I laughed a crumbling Laugh
That I could fear a Door
Who Consternation compassed
And never winced before.

I fitted to the Latch
My Hand, with trembling care
Lest back the awful Door should spring
And leave me in the Floor –

Then moved my Fingers off
As cautiously as Glass
And held my ears, and like a Thief
Fled gasping from the House –

c. 1872
from an 1862 version

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

Emily doesn’t tell us precisely why she’s going Home. She’s been away for Years, and seems to have left something there–“a Life I left.” What might that mean? Perhaps she means she’s moved on and doesn’t want to become entangled in her old life. Or maybe she’s looking for something missing. I don’t know. She doesn’t get that far.

Instead, she describes the gripping, painful internal storm that erupts as she approaches the front door, prepared to ask her leading question. It’s as though she suddenly realizes the importance of this event—what it might cost her. Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea.

Emily’s poem reminded me of an experience I had several years ago. Though the circumstances differ, the experience raised similar feelings in me.

I was in Savannah for Dad’s memorial service. That afternoon a number of family members drove out of the city to my favorite childhood home, the scene of happy and unhappy memories. The old colonial-style house looked out over a tide-water river that still beckons to me.

Hoping for a glimpse inside the house, a few of my younger relatives went up to knock on the door and ring the bell. My heart froze with a feeling I can’t even name. What would I say if someone came to the door? I felt fear, confusion and consternation.

No one came to the door. I breathed a sigh of relief, yet still felt strange until we got in our cars and drove away. Though I loved seeing the river and the outside yard, I had no desire to meet the new owners or see the inside of this house. It contained too many convoluted memories and secrets.

Emily begins by calling her destination Home. By the time we get to the end of the poem, this Home has become a House. No longer the place it was, and not a place she needs to revisit.

The ending might sound comical if it weren’t for the magnitude of her fear. Fear, it seems, that she or her life  might get high jacked in the process. And so she flees like a thief.

I’m left wondering whether something was stolen from Emily in that House she first called Home. Or perhaps she left that life behind and doesn’t want to lose the life she now has. Either way, I applaud her courage.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 January 2017
Photo of Dickinson Homestead found at

My heart


My heart
Beats poetry
Words fail

When music stops
I die inside

Does God sing for me?


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 1 November 2016
Photo credit: DAFraser, July 2016, Rhine River
Cormorant taking off in early morning light

unread mysteries all of us

unread mysteries all of us,
tantalizing and elusive

Several days ago I read a beautiful, evocative poem Read the rest of this entry »

A Formal Family Portrait

Ed Renich Sr Family photo

This is the only formal portrait I have of my father’s family. It was taken in the early 1930s. When I was growing up, it was framed and sat in a prominent place in our house. Back then it was more a curiosity than a valuable piece of family history on my father’s side.  Read the rest of this entry »

Just Yesterday

Just yesterday
I saw them
One hundred white crosses
Shoulder to shoulder
Rows of them planted
Right there in that yard
Beside the Armenian church Read the rest of this entry »

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