The tapestry of the life of a medically complex family

Archive for the ‘poem’ Category

First Poems

In trying to participate in the NaBloPoMo Blogroll this month, I guess veering from their first suggestion mightn’t encourage me to keep writing this month. My first poem I remember memorizing may have been “Hickory Dickory Dock”… It has been a very long time. I have memorized so very many and written many more since then.

When I was a child I went to a parochial school so we memorized many poems, prayers & other religious  litany. During my time in elementary school, I also wrote many poems. I remember being the student chosen to write a poem for an Easter service, and having it done up in calligraphy by our class’s most talented artist.

One of the poems I wrote in elementary school was accepted into an “American Poetry Anthology” when I submitted it during late elementary or early high school. I don’t remember which one and have not ever seen a copy of the text but I remember the poem. Short and reflective of where I was in my life at the time:

This little flower, Alone on a hill

Watching & waiting for a message of God’s Will

Be like this flower, Ye children of God

And watch, It is not a bed of flowers on which your feet trod.

[Gretchen Kirby, circa 1976]



Birthday Gifts for an SN Parent

This week, our children’s hospital featured a post on their blog about things you can do to support a parent of a child with special needs. The post stimulated me to write about what I wish for for my birthday:


A wish list from the Mom, of kids with special needs

Does not include a teal blue box or collegiate-grade of tweeds


My dreamy gift tomorrow could cost nary a cent

A telephone, a short car-ride, and time with me is spent


A person with a weed-whacker who braves the overgrown

Who weeds the bed out front, and trims the flora sewn


Do you do laundry? Or could you play, be fun?

If you could sit & play a while, I could get some laundry done.


Can you pick up prescriptions? Almond milk? Vanilla for our cake?

If you brought meat & veggies o’er, I’d take the time to bake.


But you need not even venture out, to show me that you care

Reach out, e-mail, accept my child, remind me that you’re there.

LTR- with Rib Graft Poem Foolery

When your subglottis is narrowed

and various trachea parts are bowed,

a reconstruction’s what you need

an ENT can do the deed.

He first will harvest one mid-rib

And cartilage he’ll have for gib

He’ll graft the narrows, do his best

and then you’ll need some mighty rest.

A day sedated, maybe two,

Until the nurse awakens you.

The stent he placed will take a ride

and in your trachea reside-

for a week or weeks, it will depend,

you’ll hunker down until the end.

Bronchoscopy for its removal

Repeat in a week to assess the upheaval.

The goal is air will better flow

just as it is supposed to go…

Perhaps dilation will be next

until you pass his airway test.

Then with healing finally comes

your voice escaping cross your gums!

Celebration, joy, elation!

Worthy all that consternation.

LTR with rib graft cures

some SGS in trach of yours!

Trach Parents' Prayer

Now I lay me down to rest

2 weeks of laundry as my nest

If I don’t sleep before I wake

I pray for nursing and a break

If I should sleep before new day

I pray this back pain goes away.


Please guide my heart and make it true

Watch over all my children do

Please clear their trachs and hold them so

No obstruction from below

Watch over them as they lay sleep

Safe and healthy please do keep.


Gretchen Kirby, 11-06-2010


Not Asked For

I know you did not ask for this
family arrival, challenged, challenging.
I know you could not say yes
when asked to do more than you can.
THEY did not ask for this
Abuse, separation, alienation from birth
They did not ask for their challenges
to be a burden by birth and adoption
I asked for this
to welcome, to love, to hold
I asked for this
believing in their potential-
in their right to the support needed to achieve it.
I will continue to ask
continue to work toward their successes
continue to strive for their acceptance in this world that did not ask for them.

When professionals ask for you to do more than you can…

“How are you?” people ask
but they don’t want to know

Floundering, suffocating,
ready to blow

“Fine” say your lips
while the thought bubble reads:

‘I wish there were some way to meet half our needs’

When some try to help
provide lists, recipes

They realize so little
see no forest for trees

When I say “I can’t”
they reply with “poo-poo”

They “know how it is”
and it’s “easy to do”

I hear how I *chose* this-
no right to complain

While they lay the track
that will derail our train

I know that I’m whiny – with no right to be-
but please don’t diminish what it’s like to be me.

-Gretchen Kirby