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Poetically Yours - An unexpected loss

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week we feature Sarah Smith.

Smith grew up in Rockford with her grandmother, and her uncle who was a teenager at the time. This poem is about Smith’s uncle, Matthew, who died in a freak accident at 19 years old and left a gaping hole in what she calls an “already fractured family.”

It's been about 25 years since the accident. Smith says losing people is hard, and she hopes her words can help other people find sense in loss and grief.

Here’s her poem “The Passage of Time.”

I rock my infant in my chair,

soft and calm as summer air

He's newly born, has much to learn

but I have time to teach him

I watch my baby learn to fall,

he's learned to walk and learned to crawl

He's still green, but his mind is keen

and I have time to teach him

I watch my child learn to dance,

enraptured by his first romance

He's gotten big, though thin as a twig

and I'm short on time to teach him

I watch my boy learn to fight,

learn to stand for what is right

He's all grown now, and I'm so proud

but I'm out of time to teach him

I feel the pain as my son dies,

through strong and ancient family ties

He met a foe he did not know

for there was no time to teach him

  • 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.