Spotlight: Catherine A. Mackenzie
It's an amazing day to share with you the work of someone I find highly talented. Today - on the Jimmy Broccoli page and website (to be posted later) - it is an honor to share with you the poetry of Catherine A. MacKenzie!
I was introduced to Catherine's poetry just a few weeks ago. Catherine's understanding of and viewpoints towards some of the more difficult (to write about - and read) subjects - like death and grieving are not much different from my own, so - when I'm reading her poetry - I'm reading it from a viewpoint I'm familiar with - knowing we are not alone in our emotions (and in our grief) can be (is) a powerful thing. And - she writes about these topics (and other topics) exceptionally well.
Catherine in her own words:
Cathy’s writings are found in numerous print and online publications. She writes all genres but invariably veers toward the dark—so much so her late mother once asked, “Can’t you write anything happy?” (She can!)
She’s published two novels: Wolves Don’t Knock and Mister Wolfe. Two volumes of grief poetry commemorate her late son Matthew: My Heart Is Broken and Broken Hearts Can’t Always Be Fixed. She has also published other books of poetry and short story compilations, all available on Amazon or from her.
Cathy lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Here are two poems written by Catherine A. MacKenzie - and I know you'll love them as much as I do! ______________ The Night My Father Died (in memory of my father)
My father lies in the sterile bed, White sheet stretched to his chin, Tubes and wires crisscrossing like Venerable veins. The nurse exclaims, “My, how tall you are.” When he peers At the voice we see his fear, and He shakes his head defiantly. Too astute, he knows the end is near.
We, his children, gather ’round, Quiet and reverent while we wait, Obedient—the way we were raised— Awe-struck, never seeing death before. We don’t know what it looks like, Don’t know when it will come, while My father, a wise man, comprehends His fate, and we wonder how he knows.
My mother stands, too, holding The limp hand of her dear husband As she has for forty years. She’s Calm, hiding flooded emotions, knowing There’s no magic cure, no good fairies To arrive at night, and I marvel at her Strength for surely she knows death Will dawn to seize that hand from hers.
None of us knows what to do, what to Say, how to act, how to pretend in Front of my father, in front of my mother. Death is novel yet grotesque to us and To him, never utilized by us, and we Wonder what will happen, where he'll Go after his last breath. Will he live to Chance a breath again?
And when he takes that final breath, that Last gulp of life, will he know it’s his last? Or will he think there’s another smidgen And another and another? Though my Father’s an intelligent man, I still ponder His shrewdness while he waits for the Unknown, while we wait for death to Crudely snatch him from our lives. ____ Thunder Rolls (in memory of my son)
Traipsing over soggy grass To stand by phony greenery, Umbrellas useless against Whipping wind, Ripping rain Successful at masking tears.
Flashbulbing penetrates black skies, Forcing us to unload Spineless shields That expose breathing souls, Yet freeing us to remove the sham To reveal a pit of naught.
Thunder claps and booms At the lowering of the urn, We are still and silent, Drenched and deafened like dead, But, no, we are alive and well Save for undying grief.
The blighted day a scourge As are all cancers, An unnecessary death Though deaths keep life alive. Oh, for a significance Of the tumultuous service.
Ah, later, the interpretation: The deceased was Heaven-bound, A comforting consolation prize. My son, my child, Father, uncle, cousin: The thunder rolled...
(Note: Apparently, if there is thunder during a burial, it's a sign the deceased is destined for Heaven.)
Photo: Catherine A. MacKenzie.