To honor a dear friend who passed from this earth recently, a wife and mother, teacher and artist, an inspiration to many of the indelible link between justice and compassion.

I remember this thin wiry girl

hair braided back from the fire in her eyes

looking out with an unrelenting question

on the stubborn visage of injustice

demanding equal time in the sun

nourishment for the wild flowers

beside the rusted tracks of a long gone train.

She was a force to be reckoned with

more comfort to the hard luck hill jacks

than the elite through which she passed

her presence a singular virtue

discouraged at times but not deterred

walking in fire with the grace

of a street wise angel

seeing through the masks and misery

with a flaming promise to somehow

make art of us all.


11 Responses to “Kathleen”

  1. Bill Dare says:

    So much creative fire shared through the Sacred Feminine; and you caught a beautiful remembrance of a dear ember burning brightly. She’s once again elicited art through you, Don, and thus lives on in the Spiritual sanctuary of your Heart.

    Thanks for a brief glimpse of her fire & grace. Beautiful. Paint on Poet…

  2. Somehow I’ve always known her this sister of Fire and Water although we never met. Blessing upon your words.

  3. Robin Bryant says:

    The inviting warmth of her heart, and the spark in her eyes, are
    glowing within me, . . and will be forever. Thank you Kathleen!

  4. dennis lopez says:

    Nicely done Don,
    I love that last line, conjours what we all should be doing. What a great gal, you knew that sitting near her at the DOW Chemical demonstration
    in the big top at ND way back in the day. She just wasn’t going to take any more BS.

  5. I’m reminded of John Denver’s “Song For All Lovers, about his environmentalist friends in Alaska ” dancing in the moonlight. When one has a passion for a thing they are indeed a “force to reckoned with”. I love that image of her you capturing her essence with a vivid word picture. It is what I love about the human heart- to connect on a deep level.

  6. Jude says:


  7. Pi Chay says:

    May the spirit of Kathleen tarry in my heart and then expand ever outward.

  8. Reading about this sister of fire, I felt an upsurge within me to once more change the world with the fire of human protest. But wait…deep breath…this time it is with the fire of Love, Cosmic fire, shaped and directed by grace, that follows the upsurge into the world of the stuck and silly.

  9. donna says:

    Your tribute for a dear compatriot and friend of your conscience gave me a shining glimspe of Kathleen, a transforming, love-driven spirit for justice and compassion. Your poem continues Kathleen as our persistent inspiration. There is glory here and there is sadness, Kathleen will not be forgotten.

  10. T Johansson says:

    Powerful, powerful piece, Don…

    Through my eyes, some of your very finest work ever! Poets are cool.

  11. I don’t know how you could etch such a profound portrait in so few and disparate words, but you sure did…

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