Healing Arts
Poetry M - Z > Walsh, Kathleen

By Kathleen Walsh

Joe's Hydrangea

I water your hydrangea
It’s blue like your eyes
Although I wouldn’t know because
The picture in my inherited closet-office
Is too dark to do them justice
But I’ve heard they were so blue

I remember when your family came
I didn’t cry or console or
Sign the card that passed around beforehand
I had no right but I
Took their picture when they all stood around the hydrangea
I don’t think they got my name

Now I’ve never met you, and I
Don’t claim to have any stake in the pain
Of your departure but I can say
Without a doubt
I will water your hydrangea
Every day


About this Poem

The poem is about an 18 year old guide who passed away last summer. There was a hydrangea planted in his memorial, and it was my job every morning to water it. Although I did not know Joe, we worked at the same company and was well known in the small community of West Forks, Maine, where we worked. This poem is about grief from an outsider's perspective, the grief that I felt over the tragic loss of this young life but didn't quite know how to express it, or even if I had any right to. I hope this poem serves as a comfort to those especially who have lost children, that their children's memory deeply impacts many people, even those who did not know the child directly.


About the Author

Kathleen Walsh is a student at Bowdoin College in Maine where she is studying English. When not studying Kathleen works as a raft guide on the Kennebec River.

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