– 5/08/19

      Hosted by Kath Abela Wilson

      My Maltese mother grew up in Egypt, in an international community and spoke five languages. When I was in grade school in New York, she started weekly meetings in our home, gathering my friends together. We made things and donated to causes, often little bookmarks with poems that my father, a poet and journalist, taught me to make. Mother loved life, lived as long as she could, 95 years of inspiration and then:

      my inheritance
      her will
      for peace

      ~ Kath Abela

      Ο Ο Ο

      Butterfly in Spain (Photo by Grace Galton)

      Nicholas Klacsanzky

      the wind offers
      a song

      *Haka is a Māori dance that is performed to welcome guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions, or funerals.

      We are all interconnected, both physically and metaphysically. When someone or something dies, who he or she was gets reinserted into nature. The nutrients and matter we leave behind might even end up as part of the food other people or things consume. People’s memories of us and the work we leave behind stays in the consciousness of others after we pass. No one really dies, and perhaps no one is ever born. It is just a transformation of existing matter and energy into another type of matter and energy.

      whale vertebrae—
      memories of father
      fading to white

      Love can keep memories only for so long. Luckily, I see my father more and more in myself. I am carrying him in my laugh, my poetry, my jokes, sense of adventure, yearning for unifying religions, desire to meditate.

      Ο Ο Ο

      Ralph, the day he proposed (Photo from Grace Galton)

      Grace Galton

      All our sorrows, joys, tears and laughter will pass like clouds. I dedicate my work to my beloved husband, Ralph who brought so much beauty into my life.

      after the funeral
      all the dead stars
      still shine
      now I understand
      the twinkle in his eye

      early morning mist
      blurring the view
      or just a stinging in the
      corners of my eyes

      down the mountain
      the sun on its way
      to tomorrow
      without you

      concert in the park
      a butterfly and a rose
      do they know the band
      is playing our tune?

      Ο Ο Ο

      Hibiscus (Photo by Carol Raisfeld)

      Carol Raisfeld

      Missing her everyday, how I wish I could call. My daughter and I reminisce…so many beautiful moments to remember.

      the color of mother’s lipstick
      when she was young…
      in full bloom, my daughter
      wears the same hibiscus smile



      Mom’s melodic voice at night, “remember, sweet dreams always.” She only wanted us to be happy. During dinners we each made up jingles about our reheated leftovers with mom joining in. She was beautiful. I always wanted to look like her; long red hair and hazel eyes. Teasing, dad would kiss freckles on her nose.

      Her memory seemed shorter each day as our names and faces faded in no special order. Late afternoon she swept spots of sunlight while humming a child’s song, a lullaby with no name.

      At mom’s funeral one by one we spoke of her love… memories a good life brings.

      outgoing tide
      she blinked and life
      drifted …
      sand in a paper cup
      pouring out dreams


      two together
      tiny shells overturn
      in the tide

      Ο Ο Ο

      A purple orchid on the front porch

      Marilyn’s purple orchid (Photo by Josette D’Orazio)

      Josette D’Orazio

      The first time I was invited to Norman and Marilyn’s home I was taken with the bamboo forest they created in their yard. It was a lush and private place where one could sit and enjoy a tranquil setting.

      bamboo garden
      unintentionally neglected
      shivers in the wind
      the empty bench waits
      for a new beginning

      The backyard was a container garden full of potted plants. We shared a Chinese Elm. I believe Marilyn’s garden was an extension of herself. After her death the plants needed to find a new home and my husband and I adopted them. Though they are all healthy and wonderful in their own right, the tiny purple orchid is the plant that keeps Marilyn alive in my memory. It’s not a spectacular plant, it’s quite small, when I brought it to my home I wasn’t sure it would make it. With a little love and light it grows and blooms; it is an encouragement which keeps me thinking of my dear neighbor and nothing is really lost.

      a tree brought us together

      the fence was built around it
      without expectation we created a bond

      we tended that tree’s needs
      holding much of your garden in my hands
      those years are held in a small purple orchid

      Shared Chinese elm tree (Photo by Josette D’Orazio)

      Together: Quotes and Credits

      Nicholas Klacsanzky is a web content specialist by day, and a poet and writer by morning and night. He hosts the blog Haiku Commentary, which is an extension of his father’s work. His father, George Klacsanzky, created one of the first journals of haiku in America and was pivotal in spreading haiku in the Pacific Northwest. Nicholas lives in Kyiv, Ukraine with his wife and pug.

      Grace Galton lives in the UK. She says: “Over the years since losing my beloved husband, Ralph, I have written many tanka for him. I holiday abroad quite a lot and each time I take him with me in my mind and discuss all the beautiful things I see with him, just as I used to when he was alive.”

      Carol Raisfeld lives in Atlantic Beach, a barrier island close to New York City. Her hobbies include sailing, chess, sculpting, painting and boxing. She holds US and foreign design patents in interactive toy design. Her poetry, art and photography appear worldwide in print and online journals. Carol is a worldwide anthologized poet and winner of several international awards.

      Josette D’Orazio lives in Pasadena, next door to the home of her artist-poet friend Marilyn Zammit and her husband, the renowned artist Norman Zammitt whose lives and friendship she honors with her poems and prose above. Marilyn, who frequently participated in Poets on Site in Pasadena, introduced Josette to the group. Josette attends weekly meetings, and has published her work in anthologies and journals. She publishes her cherita (a six line, lyrical story form) in the “cherita journal” published in Singapore and U.K. Josette says: “I am grateful to Marilyn for introducing me to Poets on Site it is yet another dimension of my
      life that I will keep her in my memory.”


      We welcome and encourage your response, especially in the form of a short poem, by leaving a comment below.

      End of article

      We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.

      Some wealthy, hedge fund owners, and local journalistic charlatans, have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.

      While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.

      You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.

      Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)


        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

          See all articles


      1. Lucy Redoglia says:

        Marilyn Zammitt was my mom’s cousin, and, as she and I liked to point out, we were “first cousins once removed.” I knew her all my life and saw her on occasion over the years I was growing up in Pasadena. She took beautiful photos of me and my three girl cousins in her backyard on two separate occasions when we were young.

        We reconnected a few years ago when I moved back to LA after many years in Northern California and then New York City. She was so kind, generous, and interesting; and I enjoyed spending time with her at her home. We worked on a wikipedia article for Norman together for several months and published it online maybe a year before her passing. I knew she was sick, but I had no idea she’d go so quickly, and I long to see her or speak to her one more time. She lives in my heart now and the hearts of so many others. RIP Marilyn.

        • Kath Abela Wilson says:

          Dear Lucy,

          Thank you so much for finding this post about Marilyn and writing here. I would love to talk to you some more. We are in touch with her family and I have her last photo in our gallery exhibit in our home. She used to come to our poetry meetings. Thank you for telling us about all you did together. I know how you feel. We miss her too, and all her positive sweet energy she shared so freely. My email is poetsonsite@gmail.com
          Please write me there and we can decide what to do!

          Love Kathabela

      2. Kath Abela Wilson says:

        Dear Dianne thank you for this sibling tanka! And apprciatiion and inspiration. It is one we all can feel and identify with. I would love to feature your poems again on one of our themes
        in 2020 for sure, or late 2019!. This is a perfect way to remind me and share!

      3. Beautiful poems!

        wearing mother’s scarf—
        I can almost smell the scent
        of her perfume

      4. beautiful poems all!
        tanka prompt: sibling

        we fought
        like cats and dogs
        all those years ago
        what I wouldn’t give
        for a do over

        Rest in peace, my troubled sister, Renee.

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *