Poetry Friday: Forgive My Guilt

November 4th, 2011

“Writing can be much more than a school task,” writes Kelly Gallagher in his new book Write Like This. “Writing can be used as a vehicle to express ourselves as we negotiate the journey through our lives.” Using Robert P. Tristram Coffin’s poem “Forgive My Guilt” as a model, Kelly asks his students to write a list of thins they regret. His students then choose one item from their list and begin writing. Kelly shares his own version of the poem with his students. Read his poem and then head over the Stenhouse website to preview his book online.

Forgive My Guilt
Kelly Gallagher

Not always sure what things called sins may be,
I am sure of one sin I have done.
It was not a single incident, but a series of events,
All involving my sister,
Who eventually lost her battle with drug addiction.
Two siblings, raised in the same household,
But, oh, so different. So different.
It didn’t start that way, of course.
We were close before the drift,
She slowly pulled away from me, from us,
Each year, a little farther away from our childhood
Until the relationship that was, wasn’t.

Walking through stores, at ballgames, in restaurants,
I see young brothers and sisters laughing, playing, talking,
It makes me happy and sad.
I silently wish them well, knowing how things can turn.
Looking back,
I wonder if I should have been kinder,
Whether I should have put my anger aside.
My sadness has lessened, but it never disappears.
I could have offered more love.
I should have offered more love.
Too late now.
But I have hoped for years,
That my sister, Cathy, forgives my guilt.

Entry Filed under: Poetry Friday

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Linda Baie  |  November 4th, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Looking back to see if there was one more thing to have done is such a human thought, as in ‘what if’ or ‘I wish I’. Kelly has expressed this so poignantly. Thanks for sharing about this and the book. It looks good.

  • 2. laurasalas  |  November 4th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Very moving poems. Students love to see behind the teacher uniform, and it really impacts them when we share stuff like this. Bravo!

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