New Space

New Space
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cleaning In The Studio

                                          Classroom Studio

(Oct. 23, 2010, Jan Groenemann)

Saturday and feisty fall,
Outside my studio door
The wind blowing in with the leaves a fall thunderstorm
Forcing the chimes to scream more than sing
I find myself cleaning, clearing clutter
Pulling everything out, making it visible
Wrecking the order of my space
In order to discover and discard

Up on the top shelf in the far corner I find
Yellowed envelopes filled with written pages
I slide them out, taking a seat at an empty table
Here, reading from the mind of my much younger self
Young wife, mother of three small sons
One already diabetic
Trying desperately to keep a marriage together
That was destined to die

Hanging on, with my words
To a religion that ran low on regard
For a woman who needed strength
Who needed to know
It was OK to demand commitment
And respect and focus
Whose teachings of submission
Allowed for coping co-dependency

Even then I was optimistic
In my openly lonely situation
Learning to mother
Learning to give endlessly
Learning to love unconditionally
Learning to fly
Learning to let go
Let go, let go, let go

Filling black bulging bags
One after the other
Saying goodbye to the girl
The young mother
The submissive wife
The writer of religious themes
And stories, making space
Allowing for the changes that came

Giving birth to the woman
The mother of sons and grandsons
The friend to daughters-in-law
Loving unconditionally
Even the man whose side she left
So that the artist and poet
And mature spiritual being
Was allowed to emerge

I slide the writings back into the envelope
Even the one about “learning to fly”
And the poem titled “wife friend”
Even the girl, the young woman
Whose smile is still on my face
And whose belief that
In all things there is purpose
Still lives in my heart.


  1. Jan, you are so talented and still go giving.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. How incredibly insightful. I feel as if I know you and myself better. Thank you, Jan!

    I am a friend of Renee's.

  3. It's amazing the things that happen in our lives that we would never have imagined or wanted, but shape us into the person we are today.

  4. Thank you so much for the positive feedback. I write because the words flow out of situations and circumstances....but that they end up touching some of you who read them show how connected we all really are. I appreciate that you take the time to let me know.

  5. Wow Jan. Goosebumps, smiles, tears as I read the poem. You are such an amazing person. I am so glad you are my friend.