“Keep on” by Chris Brown

"Sun-like Star with a White Dwarf" by Kevin M. Gill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A year before her death
a poet said she believed in me
She told me to keep writing
So now I walk a path
I search for words through tears,
and these words found you
This poet brought us together,
and we should thank her
She’s sweet,
hosting a party she can’t attend

A woman’s spirit guides my voice,
is that scary?
She who lives beyond the stars writes with me now,
is it odd?
She was a star herself
and scientifically, this is true of us all,
if we look back far enough, or forward

For 4.5 billion years
the sun has burned hydrogen and spun carbon
93 million miles away, her energy is enough
to roll a living planet in her wake
We rise from a molten ball of clay
single-cells, then aquatic beings, then little hairy apes
We survived an ice age lasting 100,00 years
That ice is still melting
but the age of fire is upon us,
and we apes take stock
We make, speak, write,
all the details we can muster
We keep these pieces close
Hoping it’s enough
Hoping to survive the harsh seasons ahead
All the while filled with doubts like,
Will I last a few more days, weeks, years?

A year before her death
a poet helped me believe in little things
Like me
I am short-lived, and so is my reach
I will burn up in time
In 4 billion years
When the sun expands into a red giant
and swallows the planets
All will burn up in time
So why, poet?

She who appreciates the details
has an answer
She guides us to the here and now
Even in death, she works
Breathing new life into tired minds
Smiling from beyond the void
Gently creasing folds of space and time
Sending signals clear as sunshine
Do you feel her now?

Poetry is history
living inside you and only you
Keep writing, little one
No matter how small it seems
Keep beauty in your heart, or send it to me
Record in ink, stone, electricity, air
Speak aloud and let truth wash over us
Justice does not come to those who wait
So begin
Peace is another word for lasting love
Love is another word for lasting peace
They grow together in the details of our lives
We are together still
and it took only a few words
echoing from the past

Years after her death
A poet lives on somehow, in me
In everyone she taught
In everyone who finds her
She is with us now, if you care to say hello
There is no debating this
It’s not an argument, but a dream
And you should know,
she did not perform some miraculous feat
There is no singular spell to keep a soul aloft
She did not win some universal lottery
nor secure a virtuous place in the galaxy’s vault
She saved me with a few kind words,
and I can’t help but do the same

The eternal is an ordinary thing
the courage of a woman facing cancer
the beating of my feet against the drum of the earth
the sun setting on a life and rising over a poem
We are ordinary things
We are small and sacred
and the stars have taken such care with us
Do not fear that moment when it’s all swallowed up
for we will be long gone,
out of reach and smiling
It’s in the details
that we transcend
It’s in each other
that we live on
Keep on, poet
Keep on


Published by ilysekusnetzwritingfest

Festival organizers, faculty, and staff here to help you get started writing and sharing your work.

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