Poem for Karen

A poem I wrote for my dear friend Karen who died last night surrounded by love and music, as she would have wanted it. She will live in our hearts and minds, our beloved friend.

You have been my mountain, a warm rock to lean my back against

when winter was in my bones.

You have been the wide song on a slow summer morning

calling to the magpie.

You have been the tune to whistle me home on those long dark nights

when I had forgotten my name.

You have been a still point,

a constant in my life,

like a tall tree on the horizon.

I never thought you would leave so soon, or leave such a big hole in my heart.

The acorn of our friendship started small and quiet at the back of the garden forty years ago. Each moment shared, grew a new bud, turned another season;

bending together in the garden plucking warm strawberries,

and tasting red summer,

laughing, and sometimes crying, over cups of tea on wide verandahs,

warm sun on our backs on cold winter mornings,

and cool water on brown skin, swimming in the creek on long hot afternoons,

and always the music, and the singing, floating through the days and the years.

Your big arms and practical hands always doing something,

gardening, cooking, weeding, typing, tuning, strumming, holding…

And now our friendship stands tall and wide at the Western window,

shading me from the hard sun.


I will cry for you when you are gone. All the sweet tears of remembering

these quiet moments shared.

My good friend, I will miss you.

Goodbye. 26.3.14


  1. It’s so sad when the ones who are the most caring are the ones who get taken from us too soon. I Have a friend that is terminal and only has a couple of weeks. 37, a four year old , a husband with ms . She has spent her whole life making sure everyone else was alright. So sad 🙁 sorry for your loss guys 🙁

  2. Beautiful, moving poem Rita. The photo is beautiful as well. What a special thing that Karen was well enough to come to your book launch and make a speech. So sorry for your loss.

  3. such a lovely poem Rita, thank you for sharing your memories and feelings so beautifully. Karen will live on in our hearts through her generous spirit, warm friendships and the music she brought into so many of our lives. My thoughts are with Teal and Jack and all who loved her

    1. Thanks Kate, yes Karen’s generous spirit will live on in so many hearts and her music was a gift for everyone. We are all holding Teal and Jack in our own aching hearts in their deep loss.

  4. I left the region some years ago, and was unable to keep in touch. Was shocked to hear the news late yesterday.

    Thank you for expressing with such delicacy the vibrancy, constancy and truth-of-being that was also the Karen that I knew. Such an honour to work with this amazingly talented and compassionate and patient woman. I miss her keenly; even more now I know I can’t catch up on my next trip ‘home’.

    Truly, a woman of worth. May her memory bring blessings to all who knew her and to all whose lives she touched.

  5. Hi Rita ive met you with Karen we walked around the Yack gorge together. This peom is beautifull you can feel the history you two had together. Karen would have loved it. I hope we get a chance to talk about your work with the Ibrain one day


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