Wild Goose Poetry Review

Contemporary Poetry, Reviews, and Commentary

Glenda Beall, “Two Buttermilks for Pamela”

with 12 comments

Glenda Beall

I knock but know she can’t hear me.
The TV blasts through the door. I turn the knob,
walk into the kitchen calling
Meals on Wheels.

I set her institutional lunch
on the counter. In the other room,
like a gray mourning dove,
she’s perched before the screen.

I approach gingerly, afraid I’ll startle her.
She looks up with a wide smile.
Don’t get up, I say. I brought your lunch.

Ninety-four years old she lives alone,
in a mobile home on a twisting mountain trail,
her son a stone’s throw down the road.

Struggling to her feet, she pushes
her walker toward me,
Oh, thank you. A hundred times thank you.
I enjoy so much the buttermilk. It keeps me going.
I get two, you know.

We inch our way to the door.
Hope you enjoy it, Mrs. Lawrence.
She takes my hand, speaks to me
as if we were dear friends,
Call me Pamela.

Author’s Comment: For several years, here in the mountains of western NC, my husband and I delivered Meals on Wheels to people who were disabled or elderly and could no longer cook for themselves. I was struck by the loneliness of many of them, like Pamela, who often saw no one all day except the one who brought him or her a hot meal. We encountered some emergency situations. A woman had fallen, and she could not reach her phone to call for help. She said she didn’t panic because she knew a “Meals on Wheels” volunteer would be by before too long. By donating a couple of hours of our time one day a month, our own lives were enriched when we saw their faces as we gave hugs, smiles and some conversation that brightened the days of folks like Pamela.

Bio: Glenda Council Beall published a poetry chapbook, Now Might as Well be Then, in 2009. Her poems and stories have been published in numerous journals, including Wild Goose Poetry Review and Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Beall is the owner and director of Writers Circle Around the Table, a studio for writers in Hayesville, NC. She serves as the Clay County Representative for NCWN-West and is a member of the NC Poetry Society. She manages two blog sites, http://www.glendacouncilbeall.blogspot.com and http://www.profilesandpedigrees.blogspot.com

Written by wildgoosepoetryreview

June 19, 2014 at 9:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

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  1. Very moving—a perfect turn at the poem’s close.

    Phebe Davidson

    June 19, 2014 at 8:17 pm

  2. I always relate to Glenda’s perceptive work–gentle, sharp, and always compassionate. Lovely poem.


    June 20, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    • Thank you, Joan, for your kind words. I am enjoying your book of poems so much.

      Glenda Beall

      July 7, 2014 at 3:13 am

  3. Glenda, I think Meals on Wheels is such a god-send! It feeds more than the body, as you well know. God bless, Hattie

    Hattie Sheehy

    June 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    • Hattie, my friend, thank you for leaving a comment. Yes, Meals on Wheels does feed more than the body. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to feel what we did when we were volunteering.

      Glenda Beall

      July 7, 2014 at 3:15 am

  4. Ah, Glenda, you keep surprising me – “like a gray mourning dove, she’s perched…” Thanks for this.

    Maren O. Mitchell

    June 28, 2014 at 11:37 pm

  5. Lovely poem! I too love the dove image.


    July 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

  6. You and your husband did more for that lonely mountain woman than you probably realized. God bless you. Doing acts of kindness is what life is all about. Taking the focus off ourselves and our worries
    and loving the less fortunate.


    July 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

    • Thank you, Donna. Doing that work for our community was good for us as well. I miss it.

      Glenda Beall

      September 7, 2015 at 5:51 am

  7. Glenda, in this poem you exemplify the secret of life’s happiness. How profound this is! Beautifully written!

    Joan Howard

    September 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

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