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Poetically Yours Ep. 50 - A Chance Encounter Can Mean So Much

Provided by Tracy Noel.

Know That You Are Loved

Welcome to Poetically Yours. This segment showcases poetry from northern Illinois poets. This week we feature Tracy Noel.

Noel is a native Chicagoan who returned to her Midwest roots after 20 years. She has traveled extensively, with passionate interests in native cultures and ecology.

In 1988, Noel received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Northland College in Wisconsin.
Since that time, she’s tried her hand at many challenges and occupations. They include tree-planting, cleaning up after the EXXON/Valdez oil spill, sustainable agriculture research, for-profit and subsistence farming in numerous regions, landscaping, catering, teaching, tour guiding, fisheries research and public speaking.

While living in Oregon for 14 years, she directed a small non-profit organization and a Youth Garden Project, educating about and advocating for healthy food production, food equality and preservation of natural resources. Meanwhile, she helped to develop a vibrant movement to support healthy and just local food production for local consumption.

In recent years, she has been a farmer and trainer for a non-profit training program that helps people rebuild their lives through food production. Presently, she teaches horticulture to individuals in custody.

A skilled boater, Noel likes to experience new places “from the water”. She gets most excited about sharing good food, spending time with family, hot summers, cold winters, sunshine and lightning bugs. And she is most proud when people call her a farmer.

This poem is a dedication to a woman named Yvonne Gregwor. Noel met Gregwor many years ago when she was farming. Noel wrote the poem “Know That You are Loved” after that encounter.

“Know that you are loved”

That's what she said

Without hesitation

With cheerful conviction

With no anticipation of anything in return

“Know that you are loved”

That's what she said, and that's what she meant to say

It was my ears that hesitated

Too reserved to quickly accept the concept

Unaccustomed to the words that simply suggest what is true

“Know that you are loved”

That's what she said, I learned,

At the end of every voicemail message

It was how she signed off

With intention to leave a mark of positivity

“Know that you are loved”

That's what she said, again

And I saved each recording

Listening again in dark moments

Replaying the suggestion of truth

“Know that you are loved”

It must be true

Of course


That's what she said.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.