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  • Denise Frakes

Leave a poem behind when you clean out

April is National Poetry Month. When was the last time you read a poem? Really read it.

March 28, 2013 My mom and I were cleaning out my Great Aunt Velma's home. She had passed. I had flown in from Washington to spend the week with my mom in Holyoke, Colorado, cleaning out one extraordinary life.

This was one of the hardest and most joyful clean outs I've every done. My aunt Velma was a curious soul. Most of her home was thoughtful and simple...except when it came to words and memories. Letters, cards, post cards, books, newspapers, articles, pictures, notes...these were kept in abundance. My mom and I work well together but this was tough!

As we were going through piece by piece, mindful to honor our aunt and also needing to be timely because we only had a week. It was emotional and draining. Were we getting rid of too much, not enough? Were we honoring our aunt, who was so much more than the things left here? I don't know, we were doing our best. And then we got to the old china/desk cabinet. As we were cleaning out, we found this poem taped to the side. From here on we knew we were doing just fine. We will forever be grateful to the one who left this note. We guess it was Aunt Velma...but who knows maybe it was from her mom our Great Grandma Biddle or???

This is one poem that changed my life and I read...really read. We danced to this poem! It released us from doubt.

I would be glad of fingers

Not too ruthless

but impersonal

would weed out little keepsakes

I have kept for years

Scrapbook poems

letters, useless gifts

Once dear with sentiment

greeting cards

and other bits of old remembering

I have no need of them

They clutter up my desk

But once I start

to clear them out

and pause to look at them

my hands are stayed

Nor can I bring myself

to throw one single thing away!

I would be glad of fingers

tender but impersonal

would throw my little

Long kept things


Written by: Lou…… (un-readable)

Look on the right hand side of this will see the poem taped to the side.


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