Subjects & Themes

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Memory's Daughter

Memory's Daughter

also available: Paperback
tagged : canadian, death
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All in God's Time, My Sons

On Saturday, November 29, 2008 around 9AM, the vehicle holding my wife Maria, my four sons Andrew, Karl, Matthew and Lorenzo, my mother-in-law Rita, her sister Pas and Pas' daughter Marlene was struck from behind by a SUV. My wife had stopped due to mechanical trouble. The SUV, traveling at freeway speed and swerving into the HOV lane, collided full-force into the rear of the minivan carrying my family.

Karl, Andrew and Matthew sat in the rear seats, right-to-left.

Karl suffered a spinal cord injury causing paralysis below the chest, a laceration to the back of his head, a broken femur on one leg and a broken tibia on the other. His paralysis is permanent.

Andrew suffered massive trauma to his head, and irreparable damage to his brain. Andrew's time of death was officially 9PM that night.

Matthew suffered a broken neck. It took thirty minutes to get his heart working again, but the lack of oxygen did irreparable damage to his brain and heart. Matthew's time of death was officially 9PM that night.

Pas, Rita and Lorenzo sat in the middle seats, right-to-left.

Pas suffered a spinal injury, broken pelvis and a head injury. She has been released from hospital.

Rita suffered a spinal injury requiring surgery. She has been released from hospital.

Lorenzo suffered only a minor bruise on one thigh from his car seat seatbelt.

Marlene sat in the passenger seat. She suffered whiplash to her neck.

Maria was driving. She suffered minor impacts to her leg, a facial abrasion and ongoing emotional trauma.

The other driver was uninjured.

I was at work when I received the phone call from my wife in the hospital.

As though the accident, the deaths of Andrew and Matthew, and the injuries to those in the minivan were not enough to deal with, my wife and I also encountered overwhelming media attention during our time of grief. Maria and I soon realized the deaths of Andrew and Matthew, and Karl's paralysis, too, had affected a vast number of people, that number growing each day, beyond the effect on just our little family. It became evident God was working on peoples' hearts, the accident becoming a source of grace to guide the thoughts of many to Him. Observing the workings of grace strengthened my faith and helped me to recognize a greater meaning in the tragedy.

Over the days and months that followed, I found comfort in writing. At times, it seemed a battle waged between faith and emotion, but, the more I wrote, the more I realized the battle had more to do with each needing balanced expression; clinging only to faith denied my humanity, while focusing too much on loss and grief tended toward self-pity and the denial of faith and hope in God's promises.

I wrote (and write still) because I needed to for myself. Gradually, as more people began to read my poems and reflections, they suggested I publish them for others experiencing similar tragedies, or for someone who could possibly find comfort in them. In the pages that follow are the public statements released after the accident and all the poems and reflections written after the deaths of my much-missed sons Andrew and Matthew.

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Desire Never Leaves

Desire Never Leaves

The Poetry of Tim Lilburn
also available: Paperback
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Contemplation Is Mourning by Tim Lilburn

You lie down in the deer's bed.

It is bright with the undersides of grass revealed by her weight during the

length of her sleep. No one comes here; grass hums

because the body's touched it. Aspen leaves below you sour like horses

after a run. There are snowberries, fescue.

This is the edge of the known world and the beginning of philosophy.

Looking takes you so far on a leash of delight, then removes it and says

the price of admission to further is your name. Either the desert

and winter

of what the deer is in herself or a palace life disturbed by itches and


felt through the gigantic walls. Choose.

Light comes through pale trees as mind sometimes kisses the body.

The hills are the bones of hills.

The deer cannot be known. She is the Atlantic, she is Egypt, she is

the night where her names go missing, to walk into her oddness is

; to feel severed, sick, darkened, ashamed.

Her body is a border crossing, a wall and a perfume and past this

she is infinite. And it is terrible to enter this.

You lie down in the deer's bed, in the green martyrion, the place where

language buries itself, waiting place, weem.

You will wait. You will lean into the darkness of her absent

body. You will be shaved and narrowed by the barren strangeness of the

deer, the wastes of her oddness. Snow is coming. Light is cool,

nearly drinkable; from grass protrudes the hard, lost

smell of last year's melted snow.

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ths is erth thees ar peopul

ths is erth thees ar peopul

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On Wings of Moonlight

On Wings of Moonlight

Elliot R. Wolfson's Poetry in the Path of Rosenzweig and Celan
also available: Hardcover
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