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© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2016

I love nature. I love dawn and dusk, and the twilight times. I love fanciful stories, myths, and fables. I love the magic of that wonderful place where they all meet-childhhod. Whether it is the dew drops of a magical early autumn morning, a blanket of snow enshrouded in the darkening purple shadows of whispering winter pines, the sound of freshly green blades of grass singing in the after math of a spring rain, or twilight shadows of a summer evening giving refuge to the scurrying of fairies with lightning bug lanterns, playing hide and go seek with the moon, I love it all. It is a gift, instilled in me, from my mother. But like fairy dust, in a blink of an eye, it can be gone all too soon.

But, in those rare magic moments-of slivers of moon and glistening of snail trails, of quiet star mornings in winter tales, I reach for a small piece of it, a small piece of my mother, to hold close to me, always.


 Childhood Pretend

Much realer than real,


Magic of childhood pretend 


Too soon, comes to end.


Girl with Dog at Lily Pond © Jo Hewitt

Girl with Dog at Lily Pond
© Jo Hewitt

Wilma, With Love

© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2016

With Love, Wilma

With Love, Wilma

This past spring, in the 3rd month of the year, it was the 3rd anniversary of my mother’s death 3 days short of her 97th birthday, 3 years short of her hundredth.

Over the years I had asked my mother things about her life. Evidently I did not ask enough or I have forgotten; questions do arise. I think, “Oh, I’ll ask Mom.” But it is too late. She had shared the events of her life, facts and observations of the facts. But I wanted to know what she thought and more importantly, what she felt. One time on a road trip I asked her some things. She relayed facts of events. When I pressed her for what she thought and what she felt in those moments of her life, she stopped talking to me, turned her head and stared off to a vacant horizon. She either wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me what she felt.  One of the few things she shared was when I asked if at some point she became ill, in a vegetative state, what  decision she would like me to make for her.

Starting off as a sickly baby, she had her share of hardship. I don’t think I could have gone through what she went through: 11 children, childhood diseases at a time when one suffered through and prayed no one died, sewing their clothing, canning their food in addition to a full time job teaching. Money struggles and a lack of robust health, and the death of three of her children before her own were added to that. The heart and soul of a naturalist and artist, a free spirit, buried beneath the heap of the demands of life, struggling for air. I think of her as a marathon runner. Maybe she didn’t have the luxury of thinking or feeling, but had to focus: one foot, then the next, to keep on going.

Still I wonder. I want to know. Still.

It’s too late. She will never tell.


Wilma With Love


Oh Weakened Wilma!

Yellow, puny, sickly baby, small.

Did they cuddle you, love you, 

Give you all?

Not enough mother’s milk for you to feed.

Not enough to meet your need.

Give her the summer milk they said.

Might as well, as well she’s dead.

Oh Weakened Wilma, what did you think? What did you feel?

It’s too late. You never will tell.


Oh Wistful Wilma!

Did you find delight of dew on naked feet?

Did you run through meadows 

Or fields of corn

To catch the sky above 

You and flowers of the same earth born?

Did you greet the sun of morn

Or the stars of night?

Did your heart mourn the fall of leaves

Or autumn birds in flight?

Hay loft above, straw below,

Did you day dream, hay dreams

To a bovine low?

Oh Wistful Wilma, what did you think? What did you feel?

It’s too late. You never will tell.


Oh Wondering Wilma!

From open fields to opening your mind,

Beginning at home, then off to school  to learn.

What will you find?

A new love, for knowledge, you yearn.

This drive, this quest, a thirst, your soul burns.

Science, nature, Latin, literature, art.

Elementary, high school, to university.

Valedictorian. Your hallmark. 

Valē. Embark!

Oh Wondering Wilma, what did you think? What did you feel?

It’s too late. You never will tell.


Oh Winsome Wilma,

In this new, college town place

Did you know how much your world changed,

How much your life would be re-arranged?

Someone would not see a plain Wilma Jane face,

But a smile to beguile and rile

A force that would your past erase.

Unintended, unexpressed flirt.

Could you understand love,

Its joys, its hurt?

Oh Winsome Wilma, what did you think? What did you feel?

It’s too late. You never will tell.


Oh Wandering Wilma,

What was this love, this vow? 

Was it somehow

A  deal with the devil?

Constant upheaval.

Far from your family home.

Another year, another town, another house, another baby-child,

Love’s illusions defiled?

Your emotions involute, to a dark inner alone.

Oh Wandering Wilma, what did you think? What did you feel?

It’s too late. You never will tell.


Oh Wearied Wilma

Moving mouths and moving trucks or vans

Packing, unpacking, reaching, empty hands.

Sugar, eggs, milk shortage.


Chipped dry beef gravy

Or hash on 

White bread.

Stomachs grumble to sleep in cold bed.

Not really enough to eat.

Worn out shoes or no shoed feet.

One house with floor of ice

On winter days and winter nights.

Children sick, was it five or six?

Diseases, was it four or more?

Diapers and vomit on beds and floor to clean.

Two weeks of quarantine,

With you to care, just you alone.

Tired, exhausted to the bone.

Oh Wearied Wilma, what did you think? What did you feel?

It’s too late. You never will tell.


Oh Widowed Wilma

You are at no one’s beck and call.

There is no one there. At all.

After years of giving your life time blood

To children, dying son, dying husband

Can you answer to one, your heart, instead.

Is it time to pick up brush and pen,

to pick up palette and paint,

Begin again?

Orange, red, gold.

Splattering autumn pigment so bold.

Wispy fingers of dawn clouds so faint,

A trace of light, a trace of your soul.

Oh Widowed Wilma, what did you think? What did you feel?

It’s too late. You never will tell.


Oh Waning Wilma,

Did the days begin to run one into the other?

Did monotonous time becomes your new master?

Slowly sucking the flesh of your days,

Faster and faster?

Did your heart running free

Stop, look back to see

The empty place,

The missing arms, the missing face,

The voice, words that at times were gruff?

The clock tick-ticking behind the chimes. 

Was it perhaps enough? Was it time?

Oh Waning Wilma, what did you think? What did you feel?

It’s too late. You never will tell.


Oh Waiting Wilma,

What will your heaven be?

What will your heart yield?

Is it the rose fingers of dawn

bejeweled with lingering stars of night?

Is it golden blue sky 

over purple drenched field

From which the winter crow takes flight?

What did death’s summon bring?

Did souls with loving arms around you ring?

Oh so many things I should have asked

before your invitation to death’s dance,

Before the adorning, death’s sunken mask.

Now I could not ask. I could only sing

and hold you, for this transitioning.

A silent wail,

I felt the rift in Heaven that morning night.

Your winter’s birds taking spring flight,

Lifting the veil. 

Oh Waiting Wilma,

What did you see?

What did you feel?

It is too late. You never will tell.


Girl With Kittens In Berry Basket. By Wilma J. Russell circa 1930

Girl With Kittens In Berry Basket.
By Wilma J. Russell circa 1930




Haiku and Loku Days-Thistle

© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2016


Thistle Blossom-ç Jo Hewitt 2016

Thistle Blossom-© Jo Hewitt 2016

A test of courage and finesse, there was a game we played as kids-sitting on a thistle. Early on as I was learning the names and attributes of the weeds around the farm, were they friends or foes, I learned to distinguish the thistle from another weed which, for awhile, I confused with the thistle. I don’t remember what the other weed was, but the thistle has stuck with me. I was amazed that from a plant so hard to touch, to hold, emerged such a beautiful and elegant blossom. And later, it transformed into wisps of magic, silken seeds, whispering farewell, off to the unknown, on the cooling winds of the shore of autumn.

I understand why it is looked upon with such disdain as a vile plant. I know it is prickly. But the blossom is so lovely and the seeds so soft, like butterfly wings and gossamer with dew. I defy the common wisdom; I let a few grow and bloom among my roses.

Life is not so unlike the encounter with the thistle. There are people who are prickly, who are hard to know, and stand alone on the edge. Maybe, given a chance, they will begin to bloom, to yield something special. Maybe life is like maneuvering to sit on the thistle. One has to have courage, finesse, to maneuver to find a way to sit on, or stand and function among the prickles of it all.

In some ways, we are not so different than the thistle. We start out in what ever soil or rocks in which we landed. We are tender and green, but sometimes develop prickles as we go through life. Hopefully we get a chance to bloom and show the world our potential and beauty.  And in the end, our essence, like silken sunlit seeds, wisps of spirit, lift away on the wind.



Green growth, purple hope 


Thistle-prickle, silken seed, 


Wind-seed send-begin.
Thistle Seed Pods in Sunlight -© Jo Hewitt 2016

Thistle Seed Pods in Sunlight -© Jo Hewitt 2016

Pothole Season

© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2016


Winter is almost over and while we await the appearance of our illusions of spring, we have begun that annoying little in between time-pothole season. Anyone who successfully makes it through this season is ready to tackle any slalom competition. Some years, the city is better than others in dealing with this annual phenomenon of potholes popping up (or sinking in) like a rash of inverted mushrooms through the pavement, asphalt eating car killer spores. One year they were so bad at a major intersection near my home, I referred to them as a series of recreational finger lakes, the largest of which I named Lake ——–(insert the name of the mayor of your city here).

Maybe a local radio station could host a contest to find the largest pothole in the city, offering a huge $$$ prize. But since this is one of the places in Murica that hasn’t had a booming financial recovery yet, and if you happened to have had a mayor that diverted municipal funds to frivolous projects constructed by his campaign contributing cronies instead of spending it on neighborhood improvement and educational and real economic and job creation opportunities, some of the good citizens might just make the holes bigger in order to win the prize. Well, there you go. Anyway, I wrote a little song, sung to the tune of “Springtime in the Rockies”.

Pothole Season


Well, it’s springtime in my city, 


Potholes dot every road again. 


I tried to steer around them,


But I think my car fell in. 


The axle’s bent, broken, and mangled.


And so is every rim.


Yes, it’s spring time in my city. 


I need to be towed, again.
Pothole Sign


© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2016


We had been snuggled in a quiet snow over night, winter stepping quietly back in to softly cover us. We awoke to a winter world flocked in gentle white.  The SSB Drever and I went for our walk this morning. At one point, a slight wind whipped the flocking of snow off a tree from across the street. It landed on us and on the pavement like dainty dollops of cream. We paused our steps to just to be and to enjoy this beautiful offering.

I don’t know if March came in like a lion or a lamb. We had experienced temperatures near 70* last week, (single digits the week before that) and now it was cold again. Yesterday was blue sky and cold sunshine. Today, more of an early February feel with big flaked snow. In a few days it will be back in the 60’s and close to 70 again.

It is almost as though winter has a passive-aggressive relationship with us, maybe not unlike some of our relationships with people, relationships with the seasons of our lives. Somehow, you know that, no matter what it was-passionate, intense, violent, calm, serene, disengaged- there are subtle signs it is coming to an end.  Even though today is blanketed in snow, spring is peeping through in the change of light and tips of green poking through the thinning layer of dead leaves. There are signs when other relationships-people, places, and our place in time- in our lives are coming to an end and change is on the way. We see them, but we don’t. We just keep going on thinking whatever is will always be.

Not unlike a person taking the significant one out for dinner to soften the blow of ending a relationship, or to deliver any bad news, maybe winter wanted to leave with a soft memory today. A gentle day to obliterate the memories of harshness and cold. Maybe at the end of it all, all the memories we have will have softened like this gentle winter day.

Whispered Winter Farewell



Snow Covered Tables At Henry's

Snow Covered Tables At Henry’s -© Jo Hewitt 2016

Soft fluffy flocking 


Freely falling off, downward, 


Soft, whispered farewell.

Uzbeki Traveling Band

© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2016

My  neighbor is in and out. I keep an eye on her house for her. Sometimes she tells me when she will be gone, and sometimes she forgets. One time I kidded her, in a most random fashion, that I was concerned she had been kidnapped by a band of Uzbekis.  She was out again and this word play came to mind.

The Uzbeki Traveling Band 

She left the ole’ homestead land
To take up, so they say, as I understand,
To ramble with an Uzbeki balalaika,
Tanbur, an’ tambour traveling band.


Each member wore a matching cumber band,
Rosey cheeks and skin well tanned.
With dancing feet and waving hands,
They whirled and twirled; the music outward fanned .


To the music both humble and grand, 
She danced with her heart on worn out rands,
On rock and sand and village meadowland.
Such their music journey spanned.


Watchers watched, drinking tea with gha’nd.
And when hearts melted by music strands,
Singing souls began to understand,
Why she traveled with the Uzbeki band.


They traveled the earth,-silk, sea, and sand.
Then, the day was done; it was time to disband.
They loaded the caravan well manned.
And she returned again to the ole’ homestead land.
Klavdy Lebedev Plyaska 1916

Klavdy Lebedev Plyaska 1916

Redolent D’or

© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2015

An historic vibrant neighborhood is precious, glittering golden in autumn light. It is not just the sights, the sounds, but the smells. The SSB Drever and I walked in such a neighborhood today, the arms of the changing air wrapping around us, the falling leaves flitting down, waving before our eyes, flirting before dancing with our feet. The dusty, musty smells, fingers of earthy musk reaching up to us, inviting us into Autumn’s spell. Even the remains of vibrant Summer’s green succumb to the heady musk, numb to that which is to come.

 Redolent D’or


Woodruff in Autumn-© Jo Hewitt 2015

Woodruff in Autumn-© Jo Hewitt 2015

D’or Redolent 
Delicious Scent
Days Diminish to
Dusty Debris
© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2015

Small Town Girl Moves to City.  The headline should continue: And Changes the City. Well, at least my neighborhood. Tammi Hughes, as Executive Director of The East 10th Street Civic Association for 13 years, has given her time, energy, and really, her heart and soul in the growth and change along this section of East 10 Street and its neighborhoods, in and out of the office. On a personal level she has reached out to help people, anything from finding a place to live, mowing someone’s yard when that person couldn’t (me and mine), and comforted hearts when people have suffered at the hands of crime, poverty, and the other ugly children of ignorance and injustice.

It is hard to put on a super hero cape everyday and fight the good fight.  Tammi Hughes, yes you, I want to say thank you for all that you have done, for the community, with all the positive changes you have helped bring about, and for me, as my neighbor and friend, for being there.  (By the way, I took our super hero costumes to be dry cleaned so we can take a little break.)

Tammi Hughes, this one is for you.


The Spirit of East 10th Street

Star drop music night,


Dream and deed meet, dance in light,


Soul Light East 10th Street.

The Spirit of East 10th Street

The Spirit of East 10th Street by Jo Hewitt 2015

© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2015

Calamitous life events. During mine, I asked someone, “Does the pain ever go away?” “No,” he said. “But eventually you find a way to put it in a little box and store it away where it doesn’t hurt as much.” Another friend likened the hurt, the painful memories, to a stone in your pocket.

Stones in your pockets. You revisit each stone, taking it out, turning it over and over, looking at it from every side, scrutinizing it, analyzing it, holding on to it, holding on to the pain and then putting it back into the dark to weigh you down, you not ready to let go. Maybe you hold onto it because you feel you have nothing else to hold or hold onto.

You take it out again and  again. Each time cutting your heart on the shards of  broken illusions. But each time the edges smooth a little and then a little more until the stones of sorrow diminish, slip away, stone after stone, your life pieced as a path cobbled from those sorrows, from those stones.  The stones that had weighed you down were stepping stones, all along, to lead you to your life.


Stones in My Pockets

Time’s fingers reach for,
Turning over and over,
Stones in my pockets.
Rounding edges of
Heart shards aftermath pain path, 
Stones in my pockets.
Time alone softened stone
Let go echoes cobbled stones
Fall from my pockets.
Pebbles by West Country Photographic

Pebbles by Westcountry Photographic


© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2015

The SSB Drever and I were walking the other day.  The humidity is up and it is hot by eight. It is mid summer again. The din of cicadas is in the air again. They are emerging from their shells, mating, and dying, leaving their progeny, again. Cycles upon cycles. Emergence. Shedding shells. We rest still where grass meets concrete.



Winged green meets concrete
Din of time lies still, passage
Silent marks our clock
Cicada at the edge of concrete and grass. © Jo Hewitt 2015

Cicada at the edge of concrete and grass. © Jo Hewitt 2015

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