Keepsakes of the Heart: Poems from Interweave’s November Writing Circle


Dear Friends,

Susan Maitner facilitated our November writing circle. I want to share the note Susan wrote about it. While I couldn’t join the group that day, what she said helped me imagine being there:

"Building on the group’s signature sense of welcome and kinship, our November gathering offered wonder, surprise and celebration as we explored the theme of “Keepsakes of the Heart”– the meanings they have for us, the forms they take, and the ways they ultimately express the hopes, joys and sorrows we hold in our hearts.

Be it an item of clothing… a word of encouragement or the recollection of that liberating someone who helped us let go when the time was right, we experienced the multitude of ways that our shared keepsakes are potent links that have the capacity to open our hearts while strengthening, deepening and celebrating our bonds with one another." 

Special heartfelt thanks to Susan for facilitating and to everyone who shared their stories that morning.  And to those who share their writings here: Nancy Burgas, Sue Edmondson, Eileen Gerety, Stella Humphries and Susan Maitner. Each of the stories – uplifting, multi-faceted, inter-connected – like prisms swaying in the sunlight, bouncing light everywhere. 





 The Treehouse

By Stella Humphries

As a complete surprise we have found ourselves blessed by the gift of a 250 sq ft live-in treehouse. It is totally gorgeous – built in 9 days.  Needless to say, there was no time for anything else during that time.  I have been thinking that my most vibrant keepsake of the heart today is the experience of that surprise build to which I was in the background (baking brownies and making hot chai at 4 pm for the worker bees).  The keepsake is the indescribable energy of the experience to have these folks here:  — there was such a loving joyfulness among the crew, such mastery of craftsmanship, such harmony among everyone, such engagement of respect for each other and us — a deeply moving totality which will indeed live in my heart – and the beauty of the little treehouse is just the manifest form of this magical unity and expression of human spirit. 




By Nancy Burgas

Every day I am grateful for living

and I am grateful for you

and I am grateful for living with you.

So we really do not need a day set aside for gratitude.

Yet we order the fresh organic turkey

prepare the port-flavored cranberries

stale the French bread days before the feast

so the sage dressing is just so

try a new less-sweetened yam recipe

bake the pumpkin pie from our Halloween decorations

and begin to cook early on a Thursday morning.


A sanctioned celebration of gratitude

with just the two of us

toasting once again

our great good fortune

at having found each other

so late in life.



The Different Threads Running Through My Life

By Sue Edmondson

Today there are many new and wonderful threads running through my life.  There was a time, however, that was not so.  For many years I felt not wanted because I could not hear or speak well with confidence; nor was I secure within myself. When I was born my parents were told that I would not be able to walk, talk, or hold my head straight.  Dad would say, "You are not college material."

It took many years of hard work and determination to be what I am today.  When I came to Summit over thirty years ago, to the Unitarian Universalist Church, I found friends who were so encouraging and helpful.  Because of this I have overcome most of my fears of how people judge who I am; how they judge me by my actions and what I do.  Friends and family helped me find a new life.  

Finding and believing in oneself is not an easy task.  For me it took years of being to become what I am today.  

One of many examples is that at the age of fifty, I took the GED and went to the College of Saint Elizabeth. I graduated with a BA in History. What a sense of accomplishment and joy I felt in myself.



It Takes a Lifetime

By Eileen Gerety

It takes a lifetime

And on the way

We’ll gather keepsakes

That’ll brighten our day


It takes a lifetime

Sometimes we hear

“You’ll never do it…

Couldn’t be more clear”


It takes a lifetime

To hurt and to grow

To pick up the pebbles

And then to know…


It takes a lifetime

To learn our worth

And when we’re “done”

There’s more to unearth!


It takes a lifetime

To lose and to love

Unlocked by poetry

Life fits like a glove!


It takes a lifetime

Doesn’t have to be so

Life can be joyous when

Depression not in tow…


It takes a lifetime

Whether 9 or 30 years

When we can let go

And release all our tears


It takes a lifetime

To really know me

To acknowledge my truth

And finally sail free


It takes a lifetime

Keepsakes on the go…

Knowing now we can

Rock our very own show!



By Susan Abbott Maitner

Stopped in my tracks

I cannot write


your stories

your courage

your memories

your grace


Each of you a treasure:


a flower unfolding

a sail unfurled


A wild and wondrous wind


To carry me home