Robb Jackson, originally from Huron, Ohio, and transplanted to Corpus Christi, Texas, died on February 23, 2013, from complications of open-heart surgery. He was sixty years old.
Robb was my dear friend and soul brother who was one of my closest confidants and advisers. He was instrumental in the creation of the Therapeutic Writing Institute in 2008 and headed the editorial review board for my 10-book series on expressive writing. (He died just a few months before the first three books came out.) We met when he asked me to be his mentor/supeervisor in his poetry therapy studies. He was an exemplary trainee who taught me at least as much as I taught him, and it was a true pleasure to support his credentials training. He was awarded the certified applied poetry facilitator (CAPF) credential in 2005.
His British wife, Vanessa Furse Jackson, speaks at the Journalverse today on her healing journey through poetry. Vanessa will read three sections of a poem, “Halsdon Mill Cottage” that is set in the same landscape as this “cycle of poems” by Robb. The cottage has been in Vanessa’s family for generations and was a frequent respite and reunion spot for their family visits to England.
The love story of Robb and Vanessa transcends time and space, and I like the idea that they are together at Halsdon Mill Cottage today.
A Day of Rain
pastes the sky in gray that closes in.
A thin veil, greening the hazels
forms crystal drops on every leaf tip,
proves a lens to focus thoughts that
spread their crowns up through the air
rejoicing at such good fortune.
A day that moistens rosebuds–even
my beard drips as I walk in the woods
gathering tinder to dry by the Rayburn
for our evening fire & glasses of cider.
I’ll study the way that evening falls,
heightening the chill that hardens the rose,
that babbles the brook, that hisses the wood
on the coals that eventually leap orange & red
flames, the evening glow the lamp yellows.
You’re making a salad in the kitchen;
my feet warm by the fire. I have nothing
better to do than listen & think, praying
for those I love. I will rest here like this
knowing that everything outside this
valley has been quietly tucked away
for this time of renewal in this place
of rest. Welcoming thoughts that deepen,
discernment grows & my little fire hisses
as it grows hot, warming us with its life.
(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.
- Write about a day of rain.
- Write anything that bubbles up in you from reading this poem. If it’s emotionally difficult, set the timer for 10 minutes. Take a break, read what you’ve written, and decide if you want to continue. If so, set the timer for another 10 minutes. Repeat.