The Ravyn; Riding the Cyclone: The Story of Jenn...
by Erin Elizabeth Kelly-Moen
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
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Or, more likely, my 'need' saw her... I am always searching the skies for escape, for clouds, for help in dealing with life.
It's been a terribly dry winter, here in SoEast Arizona. Yesterday, though, brought clouds screw-balling across the sky. I went to pick up my kids at their respective schools a little after 3:00. As I drove up my dead-end street, the sky to the right started to unfold.
I saw a raven's cloud-head appear, and had to smile, since this is exactly what I had been yearning for! It was projected into a small area of left-over blue sky. As I progressed further, the most amazing sight came into view. This ravyn's head had uplifted, back-furled dove's wings! It made me cry, and laugh, at the same time. I craned my neck to keep the form in view, but, by the time I had collected my older daughter and gotten back into its sight-space, it was gone.
Today, I had to go into my janitorial job early, and, as my co-worker and I took a break to smoke a cigarette outside, the sun was just giving off a faint gleam in the sky over the mountains to the east. A slight sprinkle ensued. The smell was wonderful! Almost, enlivening...
Today, right after I picked up the girls and gophered them to the store, sitting in the Tahoe, waiting, the clouds, which had been milling all day, formlessly, brought the first-alert gusty winds, mixing dust with tailings pile particles, half-obscuring part of the townsite. After we drove the short way home, curving back into face of the storm, it started raining.
It was incredible! The moisture of wind-lashed coldness of rain, the drip-drip-wrapping sounds, the sight of birds converging on their tree-homes, the feel of Jenn-a-wing in the clouds, all gave me a sense of a circle, complete.
I hold the weight of Jenn in my mind, always, sometimes it as heavy as an earth, other times, as ethereal as a reality. I doubt I will ever come to terms with my own life and Jenn's life, much less the millions of pain-filled others. But, that's okay. I've always felt Jenn's friendship was a great gift to my searching soul. It's funny, how gifts can turn into prisons, and heavens. Stability is like a whirlwind of adjunct possibilities, squelched.
Again, my Bird of Rainbow Light, talking to, or of you, brings me a certain amount of calm, of less self-felt surreal insanity, I don't know why. Maybe because if you could get through what you did, I can get through me.
Love you, Jennbird.
The Ravyn has flown out of The Cyclone, and into death.....
About 2 years ago, I read a story so painful to me, I was affected in the deepest levels of my mind. I read and wept for 5 hours on a dark, moon-lit night, into the wee hours of morning. Two years ago, I was given a gift. And I would like to share its momentum.
Jennifer Sloan died Sunday, May 16, 2004. For her, a release from mind's hell, for us who knew her, a mix of denial and sorrow, and relief of sorts, for her.
I met a black bird one dawning day.
She was bleeding, her plumage
in tatters. Her eyes, oh, god,
her eyes had seen so much,
they were dulled, though not blind,
defaced by embittered kind.
I read this black bird's shocking story,
and I cried, openly wept,
offered my salted saddened thoughts,
hoping to repay, somehow, humanityís debt,
what others had ripped from her, without respect.
Her innocence and trust
I could not find, for they had died.
Fledged by despair, wrapped in acid thorns,
she tore herself open, poured her blood
into my heart. I was shaken.
Her agony became a weighty gift.
I felt bitterly blessed, painfully spliced.
She unknowingly changed my life, that night,
as I experienced her crippled mind.
I held the black bird to my light,
whispering love to calm her fright.
I wanted her to see her beauty,
with untainted sight. She sighed
as she explained to me what would not be.
I crawled within her dark black wings,
swept her close, and hopelessly grieved.
I heard my black bird sing her dirge,
slicing winds with tormented words,
her memoried eyes glittered with tears,
her spirit bleak with horrible fears,
yet, she shined so bright. I promised her
I would continually reach for skies
she could no longer see. And I wept.
She hadnít told me she was going to die.
Jenn's deepest wish was to have her poems, scribbles and experiences become a book. Our dearest friends at Poetry Pages, who loved and knew Jenn, myself included, compiled, edited and published her book in the last few months with Jenn's help, though she was weak and dying from cancer. It's title, "The Ravyn: Riding the Cyclone". Published by Lulu, it is available to mature audiences.
I also have a link to her website on my bio page here at AuthorsDen for anyone who would like to read her story there.
In closing, I share this piece I wrote this morning. Jenn's story is powerful, poignant, horrible, shocking, brave and, overall, so human. I will miss her *s*(her way of smiling), the smile you felt in your mind and heart. These were her last words to me, in a private message.
"all hugs are most welcome erin *hugz* i really don't have a time frame ... i guess without treatments ... which i have halted as of march 21st ... it could be months ... or it could be years ... i'm going with years ... but i have a sinking feeling it will be months ... please know that you need do nothing for me ... you have already done enough just by being who you are ... a kind word and a smile are worth more than the contents of every bank vault in the world combined twice over ... and these you have already given freely ... and i will thank you forever ... be at peace my friend ... and perhaps someday we will meet ... beyond the sund'ring sea"
Because my user-name is Moongem at the Poetry Pages, Jenn called me 'Moonie'. It always made me smile. PP has gifted me by giving me an honorary 'moderator' title, with moderator abilities, on her forum, 'The Ravyn's Nest'. I visit, occasionally, to 'talk' to her, tell her I think of her, and see her in the sky, never on the ground, in the form of clouds. Whenever I visit, I cannot help the tears that spill down my cheeks. It is nearing a year since she died, and I am just as affected by her life now as I was then, the difference is she cannot 'comfort' me when I would write her of my terrible sadness I felt for her life.
I miss her, her spirit, and her beautiful *s*, still.
Not This Time
Dedicated to Jennifer Sloan
I look ahead to future-colder, Bird.
Your past presented filled me with hot fears,
for sanity seemed skewed, from what Iíd heard.
And now, Ravyn sings no more. Damn, the tears
scorch my cheeks, eyes continually weep,
though she scolded us not to mourn. See you,
World! How compassion and need cannot keep
a tindered spark alive? Salted eyes, do
you view her in blue-bold skies? Want to fly,
by tying your heart into tangled wings?
So many things are left unsaidÖ How high
can desolation reach? Unheard life brings
complacency. But not this time, Black Bird,
all will read the pain carried in your words.
This piece came a few hours later. When you have cyber-friends, you cannot be there physically, can only wonder how there lives are going in reality's time. Had I been with Jenn, still my thoughts would be of hers.
I Wonder Your Thoughts As You Lie Dying
I wonder your thoughts as you lie dying, love.
Did your memories pain you still? Once,
you had told me you accepted your death,
but I knew you were scared. Scared
to stay alive in a body scarred by kind.
Did you hate them still, love? I do,
and I ever will, they, who savagely spirit-killed.
I wonder your thoughts as you lie dying, love.
Did you hate yourself, still? Scarred
and bound by ugly bars of anotherís hand,
you felt ashamed, dirty with filth.
Did you see his face in your daughterís smile,
and the savaging continue, commandeered by self?
I felt you cloak your eyes, love, lest pain overspill.
I wonder your thoughts as you lie dying, Jenn.
Did you feel the love that you held? Shocked,
we gathered you close, felt heart pounding still
with fear, not of death, but of living.
We leaned on you, who passed on comfort,
wryly smiling; still, you held. I hope you find
serenity, love, for alive, I never will.
I will think of you when I lie dying, Jenn,
as my heartbeat slowly stills.
Erin Elizabeth Kelly-Moen
Photo by Erin Elizabeth Kelly-Moen
© Copyright 5/20/04 †††††
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|Reviewed by D. Vaineo
|Erin, My eyes are filled w/tears after reading your memoir of your dear friend...I believe certain people come into our lives to show us certain things of life and also to help ease our life's difficulties while what they are facing cannot be compared to what we once thought to be major...was really minor.
Thank you, Erin
|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
I'm sorry for your loss. What a stirring, beautiful tribute you've penned to her; eloquent; moving; well done.
(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
|Reviewed by Sandie Angel
|People who died of cancer accepted life as it is presented to them. They are very brave.
Bothh my parents, and my mother-in-law, they were all died of cancer, but all through their life they had uplifting spirits. If ever you have a problem and feeling sad, you go to them, and in half an hour, your problems seemed like it wasn't there anymore.
Your friend Jenn is now looking down at your from heaven, and is so proud and happy that you are writing these heartfelt poems for her. What a wonderful supportive friend you have been to her!!!
Erin, thank you for sharing this!
Sandie May Angel a.k.a. Sandie Angel :o)
|Reviewed by Gordon Rosenberg
|i believe you did (saw Jenn)...warm thoughts for you, and for Jenn.|