Rhapsody of Courage

Rhapsody for Courage

to: Glenys


And as I sat reading Billy Collins

all through this beautiful autumn morning,

I listened first to the lawnmower next door

struggling through an overgrown lawn.

And as I did so the clouds, which have

only just come on the scene, scudded by.

I was, though, in the middle of thinking

about this when disturbed by the cat,

who, as she washed,  did so

with a particularly raspy sound and shifted

a little with the sun; a sound I may not have

heard had the mover not ceased its strange music.


The cloud movement increased and I thought

about the music of the morning. How the music

of clouds scudding was so pure, so high above me

and yet so beautiful as to make something within

me sing. And now the cat who may or may not

be aware of this has slipped further into sleep;

the sky now a total blue and silence give me

its beauty, its own very special sound. And the

cat stretches one lone paw toward that shifting

span of sunlight.


The cat is still sleeping, the sun has shifted into

a corner of the room and begins an afternoon ascent

up the wall when the phone goes; a sibling with news.


And what would be the music in that you may ask (as

we see you have come back to the poem:)  though yes

I did leave the poem for a long conversation. I left off

reading Billy and carefully, sadly wrote the final stanzas.


Our youngest sister begins her radiation treatment today,

another is having a hip operation. So, I come back for both,

but especially for the sister who is in and out of chemo or

radiation treatments saying, every time;  “No long faces here.”


That’s so god-damn difficult because the music of the morning

is now so different and yet she makes it so necessary to write on

into the late noon with No Long Faces Here and she can, and she

does make this sound both musical and courageous. This is the music

I now hear. A rhapsody of courage. Then on request, No More Visitors.

And this is when silence is at it’s most strange. But for you

No Long Faces.


Benita H. Kape © 4.5.2017


A Small Precis

Yesterday I read an article by the journalist Adam Dudding in which the brilliant New Zealand Photographer Marti Friedlander said that taking a photograph was like a poet doing a small precis of a poem. This is my poem in response to this wonderful and much loved artist.

Small Precis for a Big-Hearted Woman
To: Marti Friedlander

I look at you behind the camera around 1958;
could even be a little later. Like you say,
your energy and vitality.

I look at you behind someone else’s lense
fifty eight years on. And none of us
looking at you would say
anything within your nature
has much changed.

For you are handing out this legacy;
even as you receive an Honorary Doctorate;
to each and everyone whom you believe
have capabilities. Your courage is enormous.

It is this dedication and love of life
with which you so rewarded us.
The button is pressed. A marvellous
photograph taken.

Benita H. Kape © 24.10.2016