Poems for Cynthia

I have been holding these poems in very close. They are personal and sad, all about my friend who died at the end of December. I wrote them in response to Robert Lee Brewer’s November 2013 Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge.

Here’s the dedication I wrote:

This chapbook is dedicated to my cherished friend

Cynthia Rayvis Godofsky

November 5, 1946 December 28, 2013

At the outset I decided to write a poem about Cynthia adhering to the daily prompt no matter what it was, hoping that my words might help keep her alive at least until the end of the challenge. Thankfully I was successful in weaving Cynthia into each daily prompt, and she kept rallying throughout the month.

As you will see from these poems, she had a lot of love in her life and constant loving care during her last days. I’m sure that love helped keep her alive almost a month after the challenge ended.

I thank Cynthia and her family for being my muses for this November 2013 PAD Chapbook Challenge (all poems written from November 1 to November 30).

 Cynthia will be forever in my heart. 

Now that I’ve shared several of these poems with her husband and he’s given me the okay to share them around, I feel free to post a few here. I include the prompt along with the poems.

An Appearing Poem

My friend has
so much life in her –
as mother, grandmother,
a career as a judge
and a husband
who appears to love her
endlessly. Now
she appears to be leaving
him and us.
Nearing the end, some say.
It appears she only has a few days.
Others say she’s slowly
crossing over.
From all reports
it doesn’t appear to be good.
But I won’t take their words,
or how it appears to them.
I want to see for myself.

I’ll let you know
how it appears to me
after I visit with her
this afternoon.

An Inanimate Object Poem

I hide from everyone’s sight,
surreptitiously poking into her vein
performing my mission as best I can
to take away her pain,
and give her days,
maybe even months.
But you know I didn’t ask to be here.
How much can one tiny needle do anyway?

Because the problem is
pretty soon, no matter how much help I am,
my drip after drip after drip
will slow down her heart
and stop her brain function.

Well, maybe that’s a good thing
I’ll even take away her worry, her panic, her fear
when it’s her time to go.

The photo model for an ekphrastic poem

The photo model for an ekphrastic poem

An Ekphrastic Poem

They almost meld together
as one at the water’s edge.
Six adults standing tall,
with four little girls
dressed in identical blue
and white sundresses
basking in love
under the Hawaiian sun
and wispy clouds.
They are together in health
perhaps for the last time,
smiling so wide you can feel
their happiness,

The mother in the middle,
their arms around her
to give her strength
and her arms around them,
in her striped flowing dress,
absolutely glows.

A Forget What I Said Earlier Poem

Forget what I said earlier.
It doesn’t seem imminent at all.
We just saw her
and she’s talkative and clear,
telling us to rearrange
the chairs so she can see us better,
using her hospital bed’s remote
to raise her head and upper body
to an almost seated position,
and making sure we know
her sister and brother-in-law,
her daughters and granddaughters,
will be with her for the duration.

She told us they talk about
the good and bad times
and what will happen after she dies.
Yes, she is still in charge.
So, forget what I said earlier.
This woman has a lot of life left in her.
And why not?
With such a loving family around her
every minute of day and night
she’s got good reasons
to stay alive.

A Mechanical Poem

I don’t look at death
as mechanical
but maybe it is.
Once the gradual decline
into weakness and
prolonged sleep,
the dying part, is over,
a point comes
when all that is left
is to flick a switch
just like turning off a light.



  1. They touch me so, your poems, Madeline. Thank you, dear friend….shared sadness, shared sweet.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Dear Dody,
      Thanks so much. These few are part of a longer chapbook collection. Maybe I’ll post a few more later on. I so much appreciate that you’re touched by my poems. xo

      • I knew cynthia from college. We were roommates and became close friends. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding to Irv. We stayed in touch and saw each other over a 35 year span. I got to LA a lot from the east coast for my work, so, we met for dinner quite a few times. I visited her homes, she visited mine.
        We had some wonderful times together before we were married. We had a wonder trip to Wasington DC together.
        I had not been working in LA for a few years so, we didn’t keep in touch then. I had no idea that she was ill, and I never thought she would be. I happened to be in Arizona visiting a friend on December 30, 2013, and I looked her up on line , I thought maybe I’d call her. It was at that point, that I read her obituary and that she would be buried the next day. I was in total disbelief and shock.
        Your poems moved me. I am sorrowful. I wish I could speak to her again. I can hear her voice.

        • Madeline Sharples says:

          Dear Marsha,
          Thank you for your note. I wish I could speak to her again as well. As you know I loved her very much and miss her. We are still in touch with Irv. They were our very good friends for the last 20-25 years.

          • I have not been in touch with Irv yet. Even though, I , myself , lost my own husband of 35 years , to a heart attack 10 years ago, I’m finding it difficult to call. Now that I’ve read your post , I will call him.
            I think of her girls, without their Mom. I didn’t know her daughters ,but, she told me what they were doing every time we spoke or were together.

Speak Your Mind