Necklace on a branch

A string of warm walnut tears hang off a branch

In a stream of light,

like prayer beads

separated by

The blood drops of coral.

The forest path

Where everything begins and ends.

Next to me

a gathering of trees,

New leaves

Adorning their branches.


a graveyard

of fallen trees

And the song of a displaced bird.

The burrs no longer stick to the edges of clothes ,

As I walk ahead to a clearing

Where sun has taken the place of the shelter and shadow of trees.

The necklace fades into the hush of new leaves

– a shucking of skin

Like a butterfly

– leaving something behind.

By J. Hamilton



For my father

It feels so strange to think

That the lost time I saw you,

My son was on the brink of 2.

And 2 years later,

My daughter came into the world.

I had no doubt that she had already met you

And that the last place she slept

Before coming into this world

Was in your arms,

In your world.

Today the trees are in bloom,

The leaves of the maple

Are young still

And hang on trees

Like sleepy butterflies in their glossy purple skin.

Everything seems to have awaken.

The pink azaleas seem giddy as their silky petals gently sway in the warm wind.

Ella is packing her soft leather ballet shoes

In her black tote,

Pinning her golden hair into a ballerina bun.

Ross is on his way home,

With the sun shining in his sky blue eyes.

His hair is still the same colour as it was

When you last saw him.

Strawberry blond.

And his lashes

White and long

Like drops of sunlight.

Today is your birthday.

Today as I think of your grandchildren

And catch a glimpse of a Robin briefly landing

On the pale green leaves

Of the red limbed dogwood

I remember your birthday. By j. Hamilton



I am finding solace in the soft white blanket that once lay neatly folded

At the foot of your bed.

The pale pink Roses seem to float against smooth fabric.

I lay next to you once, my head on your shoulder,

This blanket warm against our skin.

I felt so safe there

In that space beside you

Listening to your breath,

As it quietly reassured me

You were still here.

Now as I feel it wrapped around me

I wish it was,your arms

Embracing me.

Your voice wishing me


Instead of the darkness drawing me into its vast empty

Breathless shadows

Where night lives. By J. Hamilton

The moment you became a butterfly

My mind replays the moments before your death

And I imagine you separating from the silk membranes of your pupa

And moving effortlessly

Beyond the confines of a cocoon that could no longer keep you safe

And here you were

Free at last

No longer broken

But whole

Moving toward a new sun I couldn’t see

But through my tears

I could somehow feel.

By j. Hamilton


Listening to the tin of rain on rooftop

It sounds as if rain is tumbling into copper pots,

A kind of music.

I thought of you again today

And missed the bed I once crawled into to be next to you.

What I would give to smell your soft talc

To feel you smooth my hair.

And to fall asleep next to you

With my legs close to my chest,

The same position I adopted inside you

Before I was born.

I felt so safe in that cocoon

Of fresh sheets and warm blankets,

Listening to your quiet breath draw me to the peaceful darkness of sleep.

I remember the rain falling on your window,

And how wonderful its music seemed in the haven of your room. There

Fears seemed to dissolve into their own darkness,

And pain became something that was almost absolute

Because you seemed to somehow turn it into something different


It was as if that pain

Turned into a butterfly

And drifted into the sky.


By J. Hamilton

On the anniversary of my mother’s death

This afternoon

In a cafe

With my daughter

I watched how ribbons of light

Seemed to fall around her,

A warm and an exuberant embrace.

She closed her  eyes and smiled and I


Can you feel her too? Her warm embrace

In golden strands of sunshine .

My mother,

Kissing your hair

As the glow of light flickers across your  face.

It is the anniversary of my mother’s passing

And in these sweet moments

I feel

Her near you

Touching your hair in long, soft strokes.

The light is her parting gift

On this cool March day.

-by J. Hamilton