Barbara Tifft


Has my usefulness ended?
Has the role I was assigned at birth
Caretaker, mother, etc. worked itself out of a job?
At twelve I carried the tray, hewn from a large maple, to my grandmother.
Tea kept warm in a mini pot, toast not too dark, strawberry jam on the side,
Scrambled eggs made with milk.
I watch her gum the meal furiously
So as not to choke.

At sixty, arthritic neck damaged from lifting
One too many, I watch the world spin.
Millions of words I always meant to put on paper, lost in swirls of color with no canvas.
I heard Mary Oliver ask; what is it you want
To do with your one wild and beautiful life?
This isn't it.
This isn't it.




What have I Done to me?

Surrendered to the Forces

I cannot see.

Like Emily,

Either the Darkness alters-

Or something in the sight

Adjusts itself to Midnight-

Led by the hand

Through knee deep snow-

To a Cold cabin.

Waiting out the Storm

This too shall Pass.




I heard about broken pottery repaired with gold

from my counselor who told me to pray on it.

The Japanese art of taking shards of vessels

and melding them back together gave me hope,

for myself. At first. But where do I find the

gold? Who can afford it these days? Is not part

of the reason I am broken in the first place

due to lack of gold?

So I pray on it and come up with this:

go to Michael’s buy epoxy and filler

and gold paint. Call the process Tintsugi

and when I am glazed over and repaired

I will fill my cup with hot Japanese tea ,

sit back, sip, admire the little scar line cracks

in the pottery, sip again, and finally bask

in my own goldless resilience.



God, did you grant me anything today?

The serenity to accept the things

I couldn’t change? Like, the reality

of being human, of dealing with the endlessness

of loss and confusion and depression.

Did you grant me the courage

to change the things I could?

Like my sad, mad, bad attitude

that self defeats me everytime.

Did you grant me wisdom to

know the difference?

If not today, will you grant it when I ask tomorrow

at sunrise, at the noon meeting,

and again at the end of the day?

Huddled with my young sons

on the sofa at the close of the day, hands clasped

asking together, once again,

for serenity, change and wisdom from

an unknown higher power,

we pray, hoping, that this help to be human

really exists.



When the world seems to conspire to keep you down, you must rise up, stand up for yourself and to others and proclaim and say my name.

I know from whence I came and who I am and what I aspire to be. I will not be defined by others. I know my values, what is right, what is wrong.

I will not let the perceived opinion of others tell me what my values are, what is right and what is wrong. In congruence with the powers of the universe I walk through my given moments in time. Say. My. Name.



Barbara Tifft

Barbara Tifft

Seeker, writer, empath, artist, earth traveler, lover of natural beauty and all things wild.