Poem of the Day, April 20: When I was 58, Patricia L. Grant

Pat Grant was an extraordinary woman who flourished under the most challenging of cirumstances. When I met her, she was new to Denver and eager to start training in poetry therapy. She asked me to serve as her mentor/supervisor and began the long journey for certification as an applied poetry facilitator (CAPF). She joined our Denver cohort group of poetry therapy trainees and was off to the races.

The wheelchair races, that is. Pat was quadriplegic from a fall in her own home that severed her spinal cord. After years of rehab she had reclaimed partial use of her right hand and, with the assistance of a wrist guard, was able to write somewhat legibly and mark texts.

Pat discovered herself as a poet at the age of 58. She dictated long and passionate poems to her dedicated aides, who transcribed them and then read them back to her so she could edit them. She wrote dozens if not hundreds of poems.

Pat was accompanied to all of our training groups and her facilitation sessions by her devoted husband, Bob. We teased him that he would be the first to receive a CAPF-A (for assistant) for fulfilling all requirements of training!

Pat died unexpectedly, the night after she had her red hair styled. Bob later said that Pat would never have gone to meet her Maker without having her hair done up.

After her death, Bob created a collection of Pat’s poems for her friends and family. He writes in the introduction:

This book is dedicated to the memory of my beloved wife, Patricia Grant. She was a noble, strong and courageous woman who let nothing stop her as she pursued her dreams, even when at the age of 40 she broke her neck in a freak accident leaving her quadriplegic. The poems describe the depression, sense of loss, recovery, and then moving on with her life.

This offering describes her joy at writing her first poem.


When I was 58

When I was 58, despite all
programming to the contrary,
I discovered I did have at least two
creative bones in my body.
and…and
I wrote a poem, and another and
another and another.

Had the world stopped spinning on its axis?

Was I really writing poetry?

Yes – yes – yes

When I was 62 just when I
thought all discoveries had been made,
I discovered the world of poetry therapy.

Viola!

Here! I am setting sail,
catching the wind, voyaging into
unknown waters.
Taking risks,
loving the adventure of it all.

-Patricia L. Grant

(c) in the name of the poet or assigns. Used for educational purposes and for the promotion of the poet and personal growth of the reader.

Journal Prompt:

Write a poem or a journal entry about something you unexpectedly mastered that gave you great joy.

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