One More Time

She poses, one hand at her waist, one lifted as if to invite a question. One skate blade poised, toe and tip to ice. The other is ready to propel her body into motion.
She stands there, frozen, every muscle straining then relaxing, waiting. Then it comes, gentle notes drifting out of her deep and buttoned coat pocket.

Arms move with grace to the music only she can hear. Sturdy legs propel her forward, around in a steady half spin, and stop. She bows to the woods. There is no human in sight to witness this dance on ice. The snow-ladened evergreens shimmer in the bright sunlight, the naked birch is unafraid to bare all its beauty.


More notes come. Arms and legs now work as one to propel her form across the sheet of ice. The air smells of cold crystals, mixed with sun. Her own breath reveals its presence in puffs of white.


“Count Mary Ann.” She speaks to herself in the quiet.
“One, and two, then stop. Three, then four, and glide.”


Bare fingers stretch to the sky as one, a gentle turn while holding speed. One leg lifted ready, arms controlled but relaxed. Speed perfect, she punches the ice with power. The tip of her skate kicking up an ice shower. For a split second she is free of the earth, then down to touch the ice again. One rotation, but well done. Balance perfect, arms out and poised. The tones from her pocked lifted with her to spin and again down, slowing. Now they resemble the slow trickle of a stream, gentle and playful.


Wind sends the naked branches into a gentle clatter. Her steps become skips across the ice. Build speed, turn, then building again.


“One more time!”
Her heart beating faster, her breath fogging the air behind her, her toque threatening to fall away, but ignored.
“One and two and, oh!”


The blade of her skate finds ripples she had carved in to the ice some days ago. The uneven surface jolts her sideways and down she falls. Bare hands stop her face from touching the ice sheet. They are red from cold. The air chilled them as she moved through her dance and now pressed to the ice, it stings. The surface a beautiful shimmer but biting.


A deep sigh pushes itself from her chest out in to the daylight. She closes her eyes. An unexpected fall. Checking her lumps. One, two, three, four. Jared, but all in the right place.
“It’s okay, Mary Ann. One more time.”


She pushes herself up, a slide and a momentary wobble are evidence her internal rhythm needs righting. Once firmly on the blades of her skates face to the sun, she checks her pocket. The phone is still in one piece. Time to start the song over again.


Ruby red fingers fumble for a moment as again a guest of wind rattles the branches. There clatter is the only sound until in the distance, a dog barks. The others will come soon, there is a need to hurry.


One more time around before the boys take to the ice, sticks in hand. James has promised to bring her hockey stick out for her. She will soon need to change her white skates for the black pair, waiting by the rough-cut log stools.


Breath in, breath out. Pose, one hand on waist, one hand in questioning greeting, toe out.
As the notes once again hum from her pocket, just for her, so starts her dance, only viewed by the trees that line the west side of the rink.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Searching

Infinite scroll
while you’re searching.
To fill the black hole
you’re searching.
She gave you a like
in friends, there’s a spike.
You’re searching.

“Time to have lunch?”
“No, I’m searching.”
“In a time crunch?”
“Ya, I’m searching.”
Not sure how to stop,
on comments eavesdrop,
while you’re searching.

Are you numb to the loss
while you’re searching?
It comes with a cost,
all this searching.
The people out there
could never compare
to the ones who still wait,
while you’re searching…

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Starving Overtime

I miss friendships, caress
the playfulness of nudge.
Without my heart is lonely,
dailyness a dragging trudge.

I miss compassions touch,
cupped in empathy.
The knowledge only passed
in arms of sympathy.

I communicate my love
with handshake, hug, and kiss.
When it’s withheld,
I feel myself dismissed.

Even though I know
right now is not the time.
I fear for every heart,
starving, overtime.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Hummingbird of Green, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Original painting by Mary Grace van der Kroef.

Do you hear the hum?
Do you see them come?
Darting here and there
Flitting everywhere

Figure eight in flight
Flashing feathers, bright
Tantalizing hover
Then darting off for cover

Tinny glory beam
A mesmerizing seen
Living dancing jewel
Fed by natures fuel

Hummingbird of green
Ruby Throated sheen
The glimmer of your hue
Beauty that is true

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Raptor King, The Bald Eagle

Simple practice drawing. By Mary Grace van der Kroef.

Feathered glory
talons tight
wingspan stretched
ready for flight

A power house
the Raptor King
awe inspired
words you bring

Confidence
through every pore
predator
to your core

Using winds
heights to soar
gliding close
to sea and shore

Eagle Master
of the sky
no need to ask
the rhyme of why

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

This week marks a new chapter in the life of my family. We have started homeschooling. We have chosen a unit study on North American Birds. Mothers can learn too! So I have stretched my artistic wings while teaching for the first time.

I rarely start my writing with a set theme. But here is to trying new things and learning alongside my children. Baby steps, my friends. Simple beginnings, better endings.

Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Shimmering Soul

Quivering shakes
Trembling wakes
Heartaches
It’s a soul that breaks

Unseen hands
Wrap like bands
Sheltering strands
Hold in commands

Pain never leaves
Held through the heaves
Endurance receives
True love perceives

Quietly bold
Young growing old
Old but won’t fold
True strength behold

Because of the care
Because one was there
Through the unfair
Of Him now aware

Shimmering soul
Life has a toll
But now you are whole
With God in control

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Water Sport

Water splashes up with joy
Bottoms down in playful ploy
A splash is meant as a decoy
The failing grin just makes her coy

Water sparkles on the skin
Drips from wildly grinning chin
Eager for the game to win
Awakes my child deep within

Join her game and water sport
Sidelines leave our fun to court
Don’t doddle, life is short
Come and join a child’s cavort

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020