Mentoring An Identity


mentoring an identity

( For poet, Carolyn Forché)

I stare at the mirror

and perceive what we share —

a Slavic heritage, the rustle

of words in-wait


and want that flies

from our cathedral-dark mind

to find a message and carry it home.


I listen to wind

dipping leaves in the rain-

wet gutters of a roof


and remember how

you soaked bread in oil tins

taking in the breadth

of a strange country


when you didn’t recognize

the ache in your spleen

or the scent in your voice

falling across the veranda.


You thought several things:

olives, almonds, that tremble

of long grass beneath the blade

of a scythe — and then kept looking

(as I do now)


through the window until

you ripened into a witness

knowing it felt right, sensing how

the reflection of others

might become your own.





  1. Wendy,

    Your poem makes me want to read Carolyn Forché.

    “the rustle

    of words in-wait

    and want that flies

    from our cathedral-dark mind

    to find a message and carry it home”

    The ‘rustle of words in wait’ fills the senses. Grand word weaving all the way through…

    “words in-wait’ and ‘want that flies’ not only creates energy, the phrase delights the ears.

    “you ripened into a witness”

    The poem builds on itself and fully engages the reader. I feel the influence of autumn,
    of the harvest, as I read of two poets who have indeed ‘ripened into a witness’.

    Excellent from beginning to end!



  2. Hi Sarah

    Thanks so much for your beautiful comment on this poem!! I deeply appreciate it!
    I remember reading an article once that stated how important it was to accept the natural tone of your own voice once it has been found and mentored through experience and exposure to others. Defining it is never easy; but I realized mine was often rooted in a language of image and empathy for those in conflict, especially women. The poet who helped me to discover this, was Carolyn Forche, whose work is focused on the “poetry of witness”. Her poems defining the human condition and reaction to circumstances in El Salvador, The Middle East and other countries are breathtaking in their scope of perspective, imagery and language.. She has in a way, mentored part of my poetic identity, inspiring me to grow into my own style, voice and vision . Here is a limk to some of her poems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And Sarah

      Jim and I wish you and yours a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving! Take care and enjoy the holiday with Bella and your family. God Bless all of you with health, happiness and hope!

      Again thank you for ALL YOU DO!!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just love the the rustle of words in wait
    and want that flies from the mind.

    Your voice in your work is beautiful and strong
    in telling the stories of women.

    Much enjoyed.


  4. Thanks so much Kerri!

    I am glad you enjoyed this poem and deeply appreciate your wonderful comments!

    Take care
    my best always,


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