Monday, March 4, 2013

Poem of the Week~All At Once

Amy Barlow Liberatore, who writes at Sharp Little Pencil, wrote a wonderfully poignant poem this past week about her childhood. Amy says her mom was a lot of fun, and that she and Amy's grandma are "why I'm the sharp little pencil I am today". 

On her blog, Amy writes: 
"Wage peace. 
Sow love. 
Always stand up for the disenfranchised.
Never run out of words." 

And, luckily for us, Amy never runs out!


She drank to forget
But when she drank
she remembered
as though reading from
a volume of Dickens,
reciting a poem
by Gwendolyn Brooks,
exhaling a road song
by Woodie Guthrie
Slowly, no rampage,
these ramblings; recalled
in a trance of romance and
morbid, mothballed memory
all at once
Cloistered as she and I were
in our clapboard ranch house
To me, she was home
To her, this house,
this home meant a range,
a fridge, a freezer,
a coffee pot, a yard
a car, and especially
a bathroom that locked
all at once
“Back then,” as it always
started, these old stories,
“back then” was a
cumbersome load
carried by a little girl
whose mother would
disappear mysteriously
in the middle of the night
and come back weeks later
haggard but much calmer
after being committed
all at once
She told me of
late-night runs from
the landlord and the
perils of being the
only girl with an
absent mother and
a drunken father
and a brother who was
sent off to Auntie Ruth’s
All this turmoil
milling through her mind
In a gaze hazy with
absolute truth
all at once
She confessed it all
I was her eight-year-old
confidante, her committed,
codependent kid and I
maintained that role
until she died. It’s hard
being all things
to one person
all at once
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Thank you, Amy for another wonderful write. And for your long-time loyalty to Poets United. We love you!


  1. Wow Amy!
    She vivid and real~
    I love Amy's poetry
    she rocks the emotional core

  2. Oh, I enjoyed this so much! Amy, a wonderful poem. Sherry, a great choice.

  3. It is indeed a wonderful poem! I have been an admirer of Amy's for a long time now. :)

  4. Wow!!! Full of emotions... and I can feel it... a wonderful piece!!!

  5. this is great piece,inspiring enough to make me write a poem after long time.

    1. Amy here. If this piece inspires you to write a poem after a long hiatus, the whole process was worth it! Peace, Amy

  6. wonderful! the flow of verses echo the thoughts so well...

  7. Lovely feeling and you can touch the emotion. I like this and the vivid memories

  8. that's so close to the bone, such amazing writing

  9. Growing up in a house of pain...powerful.

  10. Amy, I loved this--I love how clear your portrayal is-

  11. This is a perfect share for the day. Amy is a brilliant artist and writer whose work I have followed for quite some time. She gets to the heart of her topics each and every time she pens a piece; and she addresses issues and social circumstances that scream for attention. She is amazing.

  12. Great poem Amy and as Kim says, perfect for today ... nice to read your work again - you've been a little silent lately (I know why but still, I'm happy to see you back)...Good pick Sherry, as always

  13. Love this poem. So raw and powerful. Amy is a wonderful poet!

  14. Absolutely loved reading this poem. Must read some of her poetry now. Great choice, Sherry. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Exceptional choice! I'm always happy to see fine work being supported.

  16. Amy is exceptional and powerfully honest.

  17. Well, y'all, I am simply busting with happiness. Sherry had to email and alert me - she just had a slight operation on her ankle, so send her good vibes. She does so much for all of us.

    Your words are all so kind. I'm proud to be a member of Poets United, and I thank you all for your warmth and sincerity. I think my Mom would have liked this one, too. She was all for telling it like it is, even when her side of it was unflattering! Peace and love, Amy

  18. Glad I had the chance to check this out. A sharp, powerful, poignant experience...


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