Poems on Life and Longing by Chris-Ann Manning-Forde

“Chris-Ann truly has a gift. Her uncanny ability to pull you into her world, while evoking treasured moments from your own experiences, reflects empathy, and true craftsmanship.

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Her collection not only narrates her own life’s questions, but beautifully and effectively reflects how others may also perceive the world, but are unable to find the words. Chris-Ann has not only found her voice, but has managed to help us find our own.

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And while I struggle to choose just one as a favourite, perhaps “For a Time” and “Wander Away” most reflect my heart’s posture at this moment. How we so desperately try to be remembered, and to treasure the moments we feel time has robbed us of… Until we realize how fleeting this life can be.

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Thank you for having the words, Chris-Ann.”

Rachelle-Faith H., August 2020


Poems on Life and Longing

BY CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


Poems on Life and Longing. Copyright 2020 Chris-Ann Manning-Forde. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form, without written permission from the publisher.

Requests for permission to reproduce selections from this book should be emailed to: info@redumethod.org.

First published in Toronto, Canada by REDU Method Inc., April 2020.

Last edited, August 2020.

ISBN 978-1-7753882-3-4 (ebook)

Book design and composition by Chris-Ann Manning-Forde.


POEMS

01 for a time

02 to the marrow

03 wander away

04 butterscotch cheeks

05 toasted cotton

06 make it home

07 thirsty coast

08 bury me with your tears

09 coax the dead

10 when the world sleeps

11 time is all


01

FOR A TIME

For the names,

Ignored by history books,

And faces hidden from the clouds,

Whose memory lives

And dies with the passing of a few,

We will be remembered too,

If only for a time.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


02

TO THE MARROW

Sometimes,

We are afraid

To sit in the torrent of unknowns

Until the clothes stick to our skin,

Drenched,

To the marrow,

In questions.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


03

WANDER AWAY

Her mind,

It betrayed her.

It swore to collect and preserve every moment,

Catalogue them, meticulously, every fingerprint and iris,

Create albums she could see, even when her lids slept.

Who knew memories had feet?

Every day,

Her mind let a few wander away.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


04

BUTTERSCOTCH CHEEKS

I still remember your butterscotch cheeks

Wearing smiles threaded with mischief,

So I poured out my laughs,

Until tears cushioned the ground for you.

My joy tempered by your request for release, or healing or both.

Neither grass nor snow,

Clocks or new life, could bury my memories of you. 

I still remember.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


05

TOASTED COTTON

I never tasted your lips.

We were too young.

I assumed those sweet words, 

Stretching over your tongue, 

Were like toasted cotton, wispy and light like morning air. 

The splinters proved you a liar,

Drawing blood from a fragile heart,

Tender from no-thank-yous and kidnapped dreams,

Roughed up,

And cornered,

By lips that couldn’t resist harm,

Anymore than noon disguises the July sun.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


06

MAKE IT HOME

“Keep low,” she whispered,

Gently folding me between the dash and front seat.

“I will watch through the windshield,

Until we make it home.”

But I could already see the cars crawling. 

The horns, vulgar, deafening, 

Screaming at the tar-dyed ladders swinging wildly with helmeted men,

Dangling from helicopters struggling to float,

On suspended water,

While overworked engines dodged tear gas

And the stench of dead tires.

“Keep low,” she whispered again. 

“I will watch through the windshield.

We will make it home.”

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


07

THIRSTY COAST

The sand welcomed me home.

Its caramel body clung to my toes, 

Resting from the waves running to and fro,

Tagging the deep

Then thirsty coast,

Wide-mouthed,

Sipping,

The crackling foam melting on its tongue.

The life I dream of is guarded by heavy lids,

Conspires with nostalgia and tears in,

Like hurricane winds.

I’m sorry I left.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


08

BURY ME WITH YOUR TEARS

My little ones

With cheeks smooth as creamed butter,

The time may come

When your almond eyes watch

These well-worn palms,

Warm with love,

melt to ash like kindled branch,

And join the dust, finer than the grains between your fingers.

Hoard me in your memories, picture frames and stories.

Bury me with your tears in the sea.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


09

COAX THE DEAD

Grief.

She can coax the dead to drink

And make them green,

With hope.

Don’t rush her.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


10

WHEN THE WORLD SLEEPS

You are a shoulder for my head, 

And loneliness.

When the world sleeps,

I fill the silence with your voice

And slip prayers between your stories like fingers;

They hold me.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


11

TIME IS ALL

Could we exchange the warmth of our torsos?

Steep our big ideas?

Share words only whispers know?

Could we stop the minutes?

Let our belly-laughs bounce off the walls until tears play our lashes?

The beat, full-bodied and heavy, even the shadows dance.

Don’t stir yet.

Tea wasn’t grown in a day

Or coffee.

Espresso roast? Pour over or french press?

Time is all we have.

POEMS ON LIFE AND LONGING | CHRIS-ANN MANNING-FORDE


Acknowledgements

Rohan F: Thank-you for never being afraid of my thoughts, no matter how awkward, morbid, meandering or offensive. Thank-you for your honest words, unending support and being present in every possible way during the most pressing times. Thank-you for your ongoing encouragement with this project. I love you.

Samantha A: Thank-you for your encouragement, feedback and years of friendship. I trust you with my life. Thank-you for being a part of this project.

Roderic S: Thank-you as always for your detailed feedback and ideas. You are one of the first people I think of whenever I have a project on my hands. Most of all and most important, thank-you for your years of friendship. Thank-you for being a part of this project.

My children: Thank-you for inspiring me each day with your determination and growth. Your wide smiles, loud cries and wet kisses help me embrace my life in every way. I am more patient because of you.


About the Author


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