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"Surviving Silent Storms"


Chapter 1
One

By Warren Rodgers

Author Note:In Memory of My Loving Wife Bev, whose love will remain in our hearts forever.


On one quiet street, in one sleepy town
Where neighbors are friends and children abound
One ragged pillow, another pristine
Rest on the bed in the house of her dreams

One side lays empty, deserted, unclaimed
Waiting the woman portrayed in the frame
One old alarm clock in silent display
Holds to the hope that she’ll come home today   

One book of poetry waits on her chair
One of her brushes still clings to her hair
One ray of sunlight strains weak through the gloom
Past the pink ribbons adorning this tomb

Once dreams and passion were shared in this place
Now they lay crumbled without her embrace
Once this old room was the refuge they'd share
Now it's four walls with a bed and a chair

One couple working to make a new life  
Honoring vows between husband and wife
One day she found a small lump in her breast
Fighting for life, she survived and felt blest  

One decade later the heavens fell down
One cell of cancer was once again found 
One daughter, one sister, one mother, one wife
lost in the woman I married for life

Never again can I touch her soft skin -
Hear her sweet laughter as each day begins.
Now in the darkness, I long to know why
One woman so brave and so loved had to die?


Two parents, four sisters, two children, one spouse
Still cherish that woman whose love filled this house
On one quiet street, in one sleepy town
Where neighbors are friends and children  abound

Another young woman has once again found...



 

Author Notes Simply put, this is the story of my wife who died in 2006 from breast cancer. How many more "Ones" have to suffer and die before we rid the planet of this scourge? It is a story that is much too common in today's world. I pray for the day when this poem becomes a relic of the past.


Chapter 2
No Goodbyes

By Warren Rodgers

As sunlight fades he hears a voice,
it calls to him in whispered tones.
It speaks the eloquence of truth,
from disappointments, he now owns.

The voice speaks clearly to his soul,
for fear has bound his heart inside,
without the one true love he had,
or on this earth will ever find.

He listens like a sentenced man,
with not a touch or whimpered hug.
No one to hold his hollow heart,
or answer echoes of his love.

He crawls a long and thorny path,
to wander days through dark despair,
familiar to the beast inside,
who mocks with glee at every tear.

The velvet skies reveal no light,
a darkened path portrays his loss.
His heart shall die a torturous death,
as sleepless nights become his cross.

On down of white he rests his head,
to dream the dream in lovers eyes.
When she once filled his empty heart
and life had shown him... no goodbyes.


Chapter 3
The Words I Should Say

By Warren Rodgers

Author Note:For Wendy, A beautiful spirit gone too soon, this one's for you!


By now, I should know all the right words to say
But now that I need them, they've all gone astray
A truth so profound it would comfort your loss
In words or a phrase that I once came across

Some saying I heard when I filled the same shoes
A magical phrase, full of wisdom and truths
Since I know the sorrow portrayed through your eyes
Why do I still struggle to find the replies?

I wish I could tell you the words do exist
And I could recall them, at moments like this
But if I could find them, they'd not last a day
No magic would live in the words I should say

The road you've been given has brought a high cost
The toll it has taken will not bear the loss
From one who is traveling the road you see now
My friend, take it slowly, you'll make it somehow

The love you shared with her will always remain
If new love should find you it won't be the same
Forever she'll hold a big piece of your heart
Though pain in your soul will not quickly depart

With every reminder, you'll feel her once more
You'll see all her gifts as  you had not before
The moments once shared as a husband and wife
The gift of your children she once brought to life

The sound of her laughter, the heart in her smile
A spirit determined to go one more mile
In there lies the magic to comfort your way
For I'll never find all the words I should say

 

Author Notes I wrote this poem to a friend who had lost his wife to breast cancer, as I had about three years earlier.
This poem was born out of my frustration to find the right words to say.
I just felt that after all I had been through in the grieving process,
I should have known exactly what to say to ease the pain of loss.
I am sure many can relate to this situation.
Thank you for reading and reviewing. Have a great day!
Thanks to cleo85 for the great photograph.


Chapter 4
Expressions On Her Face

By Warren Rodgers

Expressions painted on her face,
with longing glances cast.
Seen only by the ones who share,
her pain of recent past .

I see it in her searching eyes,
and lines of deep dismay.
On quivered lips that question still -
how long she'll have to pay

The grief she harbors deep within,
reveals a withered smile.
Which drops me back a step in time
to walk with her awhile.

Her only wish I can't fulfill -
to bring her mother back.
I'm just her dad, she knows by now,
the power that I lack.

Though special times will bring her fun,
when loving friends draw near,
there are those times her heart unfolds,
to cry a thousand tears.

I'll hug her tight to show my love,
as she stands tall and brave,
reciting sweetest memories
of all her mother gave.

She knows her mother's love remains
inside her heart, by grace.
And felt by all who've come to know -
expressions on her face.

Author Notes This is a poem about what I see in my daughter since her mother (and my wife) died almost 3 1/2 years ago. My daughter has down syndrome but is high functioning and very capable of many things in life. While she leads a full and happy life, there still are those times.... This poem was written over a year ago. Thanks for reading and reviewing my work.

Many thanks to snopaw for the use of the beautiful artwork.


Chapter 5
My Poem Too Late

By Warren Rodgers


My poem has arrived too late
But still I feel compelled to write
With hope my words will resonate
Wherever you reside tonight

I wish my eyes could watch you read
But you were called to heaven's gate
Though with your heart you spread the seed
My poem has arrived too late

Your gift of love grew in my heart
To warm me in my darkest night
I know we now live worlds apart
But still I feel compelled to write

I should have penned "I love you so"
In pillowed notes to demonstrate
My love for you still overflows
With hope my words will resonate

My poem cannot take the place
Of heartfelt notes I failed to write
I hope it finds your warm embrace
Wherever you reside tonight

 

Author Notes A Cascade poem is a form created by Udit Bhatia, is all about receptiveness, but in a smooth cascading way like a waterfall. A cascade poem usually does not have a rhyme scheme and is written in verses of three lines. I have chosen to write in four line verses with a rhyme scheme so I'll call this a modified quatrain cascade poem.

A cascade takes the first line from the 1st verse and repeats it as the last line of the second verse.
Then the second line from the 1st verse repeats as the last line of the third verse.
The third line from the 1st verse repeats as the last line of the fourth verse.
The fourth line from the 1st verse repeats as the last line of the fifth verse.
I have chosen an a-b-a-b rhyme pattern WITHIN each verse.

Many thanks to jgrace for the artwork entitled "Hands Of Love".
Thank you for reading and reviewing, I hope you enjoy!


Chapter 6
I Happened By This Way

By Warren Rodgers


One textured stem adorned in rosy red,
held in my hand; a singular bouquet.
I place upon the ground for words unsaid,
to simply state, I miss you still today.

I could have come when flowers bloom in spring,
when songbirds sing enchantments in my ear.
I could have sought a soothing from the sting,
that lingers long beyond my saddest year.

I hoped you would be waiting by the stream,
near granite etched in stark realities.
I did not find you in my waking dream,
I only felt the chill of winter's breeze.

Just lonely clouds and spirits in repose,
were witness to my walk with you today -
along with one young withering red rose -
so you will know, I happened by this way.

 

Author Notes Written in iambic pentameter (10 syllables per line) with a rhythm of da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da Dum. Minimal punctuation.

Written after an unplanned visit to my wife's resting place.

Many thanks to lindansteph for the artwork from fanartreview.


Chapter 7
A Snowy Walk

By Warren Rodgers


Beneath a barren moonless winter sky,
a sudden snow seeps slowly through his hair.
His careful strides keep drawing ever nigh,
the path two hearts once left their burdens bare.

A time when common dreams began to wed,
above the storm still stirring in her breast,
when voices shed their fear and simply said -
each day we have together will be blessed.

But, in her wake, his sorrow still amassed,
as drifting doubts descended into grief.
How could his faith emerge from what had passed?
How could he disavow their shared belief?

He thought of all the hardships she endured;
it seemed the universe had called her out,
but faith had always left him reassured,
if faced with death, she'd surely have some clout.

As many questions lingered close behind,
belief was always fractured by the facts.
How could a God so loving and so kind,
allow this damn disease to stop her tracks.?

His winding path had led him near the church,
where vows proclaimed there'd be no compromise.
But now his love had left him in a lurch,
with fields of fresh pink ribbons neatly tied.

As bells arose to gather in their fold,
the clarity of choice rang crystal clear;
re-gift the love that cowers in the cold,
or live his days in solitude and fear.

As swirling winds smoothed out his tracks behind
soft snowflakes served as cushions for his tears.
the guilt and strain survivors hold inside,
was melted by the love she gave for years.

Though shuffling feet now slow his aging stride.
a warming hand entwines his hopeful heart.
Restoring faith that grows from deep inside,
to grasp the gift of love once torn apart.

 

Author Notes I've had this unfinished poem in my folder for nearly two years and I just finished it last night. It will be ten years since my wife passed away from breast cancer and I have moved on in my daily life. Now I feel it is time to move away from this subject in my writing so I am vowing to myself to put this subject aside and write on various other topics. There is so much more to write about and I feel that I have much more to offer. Thank you for reading my poems, I am very appreciative of all of you and your support of my poetry.

Thank you for reading and/or reviewing my poem. Have a great day or night wherever you reside on our blue marble. Rodger :)

Thanks to tecpilot of fanartreview for the beautiful photo!



Chapter 8
Beyond

By Warren Rodgers

This road extends well past my journey's end,
but here I wait, beside your stoic stone.
If only I could speak to you again,
I may just find the spark to go alone.

September's sun cascades in amber rays,
yet still I wonder why they won't come near.
Who placed these wilting flowers in our way?
Who scribed the date that took my love, so dear?

In dormant fields, I search the autumn skies,
no comfort do I feel through thinning trees.
Yet here I'll stay until the sun replies,
or perish in the numbing winter freeze.

Author Notes Thank you for reading and reviewing.


Chapter 9
Laps of Hope

By Warren Rodgers

Old gravel grinds beneath my soles -
an isolating sound at night.
I walk the track without the hand -
whose hold has clutched a higher height.

Amidst the crowd, I disappear,
the thought of cancer slows my pace.
I thumb through chapters rich with life,
re-living those I can't erase.

I partner with my solitude,
my friend, the darkness, hides my tear.
Emotions well inside my heart,
and trickle out my worn veneer.

Surrounded by my kindred souls,
who've gathered here from far and wide,
our crisscross steps relay batons,
if only through our hearts inside.

Our breath hangs in the cool night air,
as luminaries light the names
of all those hearts that graced our lives,
now frozen in our picture frames.

Just then, a little girl appears;
"Hey mister! would you like a drink?"
Her smile aglow, she'll never know -
she gave me life in but a blink!

Author Notes Last weekend I walked in a local Relay for Life event to benefit cancer research. These are just some thoughts from that experience in recalling all the wonderful people who sadly lost their lives to this dreaded disease, including my wife. I try and participate every year as do 1 out of every 100 Americans.

Thank you for reading and reviewing.

A special thanks to britjill for the wonderful artwork.


Chapter 10
Mid- September Morn

By Warren Rodgers


As sunlit streams come blazing through the pane
and lead me back, this mid-September morn,
within my heart I hear no sweet refrain,
and now it feels like you were never born.

I gaze upon the back-yard of your dreams
where once a garden flourished from your care.
But over-growth has blurred your sculptured seams
and left no sign that you were ever there.

Old fragile frames of film within my mind,
replay the scenes, too brief and long ago.
Within these silent walls I cannot find
the joy I felt before you had to go.

Though years have tucked fond memories away
I must move on and bid this place adieu,
for all that's left are photos on display
and glimpses of the garden you once grew.

Author Notes Eight years today since my wife died from breast cancer. I write a poem each year to honor her life, her love and her optimistic spirit. As I read back over those poems, they give me comfort and strength. Time to sell the house and start fresh somewhere else. Thank you for reading and reviewing my poem. Constructive critique welcome.
- Rodger



Many thanks to Angelheart for her terrific artwork!


Chapter 11
Mine To Keep

By Warren Rodgers


There is an ache that's way down deep
It drains my soul and steals my sleep
It cuts my heart with claws honed sharp
And drowns the sound of heaven's harp

What started on the day she died
now swims the crests of tears I've cried
I now exist within the ache
That clings to every breath I take

A constant flow of pain and doubt
From all I'm forced to live without
Looks out through my old teary eyes
With no disguise or answers why

I lost her once to heaven's care
I'll not give up the pain I bear
Although the ache cuts through me deep
It's all I've left ... and mine to keep.


Author Notes minimal punctuation was used

Thanks to Surmed for the beautiful artwork.


Chapter 13
Out To Sea

By Warren Rodgers

I feel you in the waves that break,
unfolding gently by the scores.
Forever will each rippled wake
arrive from distant shining shores.

As dusk unrolls her amber skies
my steps pursue your constant rush.
I close my eyes to lay with you,
immersed inside the growing hush.

Surrendered to the silent swells,
on cresting caps of memory,
I wish the waves would wash aground,
and roll me out upon the sea.

Amidst the solitude of night
I feel your life still lives within.
But every breath I'd sacrifice,
to bring you back from Heaven's whim.

As dawn arrives to light the sky,
the surging tide has rushed away.
I'm grateful for the grace of light
to guide me through each golden day.


Author Notes a,b,c,b rhyming in iambic tetrameter (8 syllables per line)

Inspiration gathered from a song by Barry Manilow entitled "Lay Me Down" in 1975. A little known song that I always felt was one of his best and has stayed with me for all these years. Thank you for reading and reviewing. Happy Mothers Day to all the mom's out there. Enjoy the day!


Chapter 14
Peace In The Stars

By Warren Rodgers

My feet caress the warm wet sands
As waves arrive from foreign lands
The sky begins to lose its blue
And soon my thoughts return to you

I send my gaze into the sky
And feel a tear escape my eye
The clouds depart like sheets of lace
As if entranced I slow my pace

My worries of the world give way
As night descends to end the day
The blackened canvas pierced by lights
That twinkle like your eyes at night

Although I know it's just a game
I choose a star without a name
And place you there as if a shelf
That only serves to soothe myself

My endless bits of fairy tales
Will comfort me when all else fails
Though feelings are not hard to find
They're kept as mem'ries in my mind

For all the stars could never start
To hold the love you gave my heart
Nor could the moon in fullest shine
Restore the life that once was mine

Beneath our universe so vast
I've learned true love will always last
Kept in my heart you'll always be
The love that's now a part of me

Author Notes Many thanks to Angelheart for her unbelievable artwork!

Thank you for reading and reviewing.

Many thanks to the contest committee for choosing my poem to win the contest!
My first contest win on Fanstory!


Chapter 15
The Stone

By Warren Rodgers

Gray streaky clouds paint the big country sky,
as strong northern gusts whip the icy cold air.
The snow-covered gravel quiets my steps
as I turn down the path, of my lonely despair.

Beside the small church where she worshiped her faith,
framed by a cornfield now flattened and bare,
my eyes meet the stone where I go to embrace,
the love in my heart for a life we once shared.

They flood through my mind, like a river untamed,
the memories of her, which are drifting away.
Kept in the boundaries of this humble place,
the wind and the trees will keep them at bay.

I place my lone flower in front of her name,
and silently chastise the wind in my hair.
In forced solitude, as she closes my eyes,
my heart yearns to keep all the love that lies there.

My fingers retrace, her name and the date,
etched in the stone that awaits me one day.
The wind dries a tear as it runs down my face,
seen just by the stone and then taken away.

Her spirit drifts through me, and settles within,
my heart bears the loss, from the saddest of days.
I utter her name to the cruel lonesome breeze,
and speak all the words I once found hard to say.

The wind and the branches portray all my sorrow,
as leaves rustle by me, to cuddle the stone,
my soul seeks relief, to continue the journey,
away from this sad place, I'll go it alone.

I turn down the path, the wind pushing forward,
entrusting the stone to stand guard o'er this land.
Forever proclaiming one good woman's life,
and love she gave freely to one lucky man.

Author Notes Thanks to lindansteph for the beautiful artwork.
Since the day I wrote this poem, it has proven to be very cathartic for me. I am sharing it in hopes that it will help others at the same point I was when I wrote it over about 18 months ago. Rhyme scheme throughout is A-B-C-B.
Any other rhymes are unintended and coincidental.


Chapter 16
A Simple Note

By Warren Rodgers

One day I wrote a simple note
It ended "I Love You"
And placed it 'neath your pillowed head
Before the sun broke through

I left for work before you woke
You called me on the phone
You thanked me then but now I am
Bereft by death, alone

Today I found it in the drawer
That cuddles near the bed
It marked a page inside a book
Of poems you once read

But now the note was faded by
The idleness of years
The pinkish shade it started as
Grew darker by my tears

Beside my words from years before
Inside the heart you drew
You wrote the sweetest simple words
"I'll always love you too"

Author Notes Even the simplest things can trigger feelings when the one you love is lost to death.

Many thanks to Angelheart for her amazing artwork entitled "Love Notes".

Thank you for reading and reviewing.


Chapter 17
Worlds Apart

By Warren Rodgers



I cannot whisper in your ear,
and see the smile that lit my heart,
your image framed in stillness here,
for now we walk in worlds apart.

The curly locks that slowed my hands,
caress my nights and draw you near.
Although I reach and cry commands,
I cannot whisper in your ear.

You tendered love in ample shares,
and made your life a work of art .
I long to touch your golden hair
and see the smile that lit my heart.

You lived your life in beauty's grace
though tears run deep, my eyes see clear.
It's lonely in this idle place,
your image framed in stillness here.

As time erodes a mound of grief
dawn's warming rays propel my heart.
I've told the breeze to turn a leaf,
for now we walk in worlds apart
.

Author Notes The Cascade Poem was invented by Udit Bhatia. This form repeats the lines from the first stanza as the concluding line in each succeeding stanza. It may rhyme or not, but there is no set rhyme scheme. Theepoem must always have one more stanza than the number of lines in the first stanza. I have chosen to write my poem in iambic tetrameter (8 syllable lines) and abab rhyme scheme.

Thank you for reading and reviewing my poem. I hope you enjoy. Have a great day.
- Rodger

Many thanks to helvi2 for the beautiful artwork.




Chapter 18
One Last Tear

By Warren Rodgers


When autumn leaves wear hues of gold, and streams 
of sunrise splay in shades across the lawn.
My heart recalls that day our whispered dreams,
took flight with you one mid-September dawn.

The browning leaves still leap from high above,
believing in the promise of the breeze,
with hopeful hearts that crumble, craving love,
yet still a piece clings tightly to the trees.

But now eleven autumns swirl in blue,
the promise in the air is dead and done, 
tonight I'll tumble, through my time with you;  
tomorrow I shall rise and face the sun.  

I'll not allow my love to linger here -
this autumn, I have shed my one last tear.  

 

Author Notes English (Shakespearean) sonnet for my dear wife, who passed into a better place, but all too soon for those who were lucky enough to love her.


Thanks to everyone for reading and or reviewing my work.
all the best,
Rodger


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