Had I not had the threat of cancer
I would not have known the love that surrounds me
That envelops me as a comfortable blanket
As astonishing as believable…
So much loving is awe-inspiring
With flowers everywhere in my bedroom
And letters to be treasured.
What beauty in the caring and love
I could barely accept it
It is so overwhelming.


Through me you have the gift of life.
Breathe it, smell it, taste it,
See its beauty.
Feel its sorrows,
Have fun,
Laugh and dare.
Be grateful that you live in a country
That lets you say what you please,
That gives you a chance.

Well then, it’s up to you.
I’m just a link to your past;
You’re the future.
Treasure your precious minutes;
Spend them well.
If a member of your family falters
Give him a hand.
If a member of your family
Has something good to celebrate
Pat him on the back – for me.

Harriet Levene Axelrad


Time is whirling me around
Like the ball of earth turning.
A vision I see of grief
Then one of knowledge and joy
Fading into sensual ddreams.

What meaning has it for me?
Not the facts I have amassed
Nor the journeys I have made.
There is more, much more.

To live is to love,
To reach out to another
And enter his soul.


A poem fell from a star
And zapped my pen.
I don’t know how
And I can’t tell when
I awoke in the night
And found it there
Though as a newborn
It lay cold and bare
I clothed it with adverbs
I moved it with verbs,
I fed it on vegetables
Fruit, nuts, and herbs.
To my admiration
It thrived and it grew
I now have the pleasure
To give it to you.


The calendar ticks off my waning years
The little child inside me squeals “It lies.”
I’ll cut and draw and paint and dance and write
And try to please nobody but myself.
I’ll make some paper planes out of my poems
And sail them into never-never land.
I’ll watch the colored shadows on the wall
More beautiful than prisms they reflect.
I’ll put an autumn leaf into a vase,
I’ll listen as the mountain-side slides down,
I’ll feel the velvet on the hand-made book,
I’ll glide and twist to rhythm in my head,
I’ll stop to gaze upon a perfect shell,
I’ll find a child who will explore with me.


The sands of time are running out for me
At times I do rejoice in sipping life
But there are times when I am filled with fear.
When I am gone what will they say of me?
She raised some caring progeny
She passed along some family history
She made a vase, a poem, a bamboo sketch,
She made a long commitment to the arts
Extending sight to those who wished to see.
She loved not wisely, but without regrets.
She was her children’s clearinghouse
Uniting them long after they left home.
Her children’s brood link her to time ahead.
Her special friends brought comfort and delight.
Her treasures were her books, art, souvenirs.
She kept a little earth to cultivate
Which overlooked the ocean and the hills.
She roamed the world, nor lost her quest to learn
And people, not possessions, were her main concern.