Sunday, February 24, 2013

Memorials for Gail

Gail Larrick's life was celebrated during a beautiful memorial service on February 22, 2013. The memorial continues as more wishes, thoughts, and shared memories continue to arrive.
Photograph by Luna Zeffer

Gail's 98-year-old mother, Beatrix Larrick, spoke these prayerful words upon hearing of Gail's death:

"She's left a lot of things to remember her by, especially her poetry.  I pray that she has had everything in life that she wanted - a good life - and that she will be happy.  I remember her hair, so beautifully crisp and curly...."

~a slideshow created for the memorial~

This poem was sent by a member of the Zen Center community: 

The Well of Grief
Those who will not slip beneath
     the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through its black water
     to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,
     the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering
     the small round coins
          thrown by those who wished for something else.

  -- David Whyte
      from Where Many Rivers Meet


Friday, February 15, 2013


Rest In Peace, Gail Larrick--friend, poet, seer, woman
Our beloved Gail passed away peacefully at 12:25 a.m. on Thursday, February 14, 2013, in Santa Rosa, California after a sudden illness. Sisters Lois and Judith and longtime friend Rudite were with her, chanting and singing in several languages as Gail crossed over to the other side.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Gathering words. Calling in the senses for a memoir.  A Chubby-size Ohio girl slips from a log, cold splash into creek, fragrance of decay of autumn leaves, spin of color, water.  Snow ice cream. Daddy tramps around outside the farmhouse in big boots, making broomstick reindeer hooves in the drifts to keep Santa real for another year. The metal clang of shovel in coal bin, the tumble thunder of stoking the furnace, our feet on cold registers upstairs as we wait for warmth. The jagged sky and the smell of lightning in torrents of spring rain, no count between lightning and the thunder that follows. Tornado retreats to the basement, to the corner away from the big tree, which one day falls on the corner of the house. Green fields burning to gold and dusty gray in the heat of August. One sunburn at Ocean City so severe the grownup girl can wear no clothes and holds her arms away from her body for three days. Fortune teller on the boardwalk describes her first boyfriend as the man she’ll marry, his description separate from the boy himself, who stands beside her. Flashes. Memory? Or fiction…?

Photograph by Luna Zeffer

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Three Triolets


The journey took her ways she’d never been,
a single traveler all alone.
Dry Sonoran, Pecos flood, starry spin—
the journey took her where she’d never been.
The Great Plains opened wide and she breathed in.
Alone, she found that she was not alone.
The journey took her ways she’d never been,
a single traveler all alone.

The Farm Across the Road From Ours

The farmer’s daughter they called “slow”
had a love, a secret love, hers, hers alone.
Across a field of winter corn, dry as bone,
the farmer’s daughter they called “slow”
stood in snow against the fence to watch our lane
waving at my father as he left for school.
The farmer’s daughter they called “slow”
had a love, a secret love. Hers. Hers, alone.

The Open Gate

She sleeps. She sleeps and sleeps and sleeps and sleeps
and she won’t wake, I think, till she slips away
in silence, soft like drifted snow, and deep.
She sleeps. She sleeps and sleeps and sleeps and sleeps.
Beside her bed her daughters listen, weep,
and teeter: Do they want her to go--or stay?
She sleeps and sleeps and sleeps and sleeps and sleeps
and she won’t wake, I think. She has slipped away.

Poems by Gail Larrick
Photograph by Luna Zeffer 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Redwood Listens Longest

For centuries the stately redwood rides
times passage as its breathing pace,
in ecstasy of wind that sighs
from branch to branch in its patterned lace.

How the fallen tree its centuries traces
circles of time, ring by ring.
The lives of those who led the human race
circle campfires, thrones, the seas--and sing.

Now the fences, the cabinets of wood
claim its life before a century's time
as though harvest, diminishing, could
be forgiven, as a sonnet's slanted rhyme.

Time makes no empty pause when its witness dies

for sake of good fences--and will never rise.

A stumbling first sonnet by Gail Larrick, in a workshop on the form
led by Lee Slonimsky 
Photograph by Luna Zeffer