Inspired by change, challenge and creativity

Poetry Sunday-This Holy Vessel

the women


This Holy Vessel



This holy vessel now in decay-

The shell cracked, withering.

Paint peeling, boards warped.

It’s sailing days gone.  Beached now-

Bleached and rotting in the storm’s spray.



I see its bolder brash days.

Sails full, catching the wind,

Riding the rough waters.

Strong masts unbreakable-

Now bent, broken, gone.



Strewn upon the shore

Are memories of youthful journeys.

Abandoned, alone-

No longer able to navigate

The vast ocean seeking adventure.



Do not look with pity upon these bleached bones.

They sing of joyful times-a life well lived and loved.

There is a spirit still residing here,

Inspired and still inspiring.

Strong of will even as each wave takes a bit more with it.



A holy vessel now unconfined,

Free to travel the oceans, the heavens and reach the stars.




© Donna Donabella 2015



If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I do write and group prose and poems around the same topic.  And this poem is a culminating piece to my other posts where I have been contemplating about aging….my aging, my mom’s and big changes in life in general.



I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

holy vessel collage

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  



If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 





Special Note:  The pictures here are of my mom at different stages of her life.  The first picture, is the one I call “The Women”.  My mom is in the center (at her engagement party), and is surrounded by her sisters on the left, and my dad’s mother and aunts on the right.



In the collage you can see her when she is near 60 (around my age) with my dad, as a three year old with her sisters, and then as a high school graduate.  The picture at the bottom is when she was about 9 yrs old at her First Communion.



I leave you with a few words additional words about aging.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

holy vessel

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

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  1. April 26, 2015    

    I find old family photographs to be inspiring. I do not know whether it is because of the people in them or because of the wistful feelings conveyed by the sepia tone. Yours are wonderful accompaniment to your words.

    • April 29, 2015    

      Thanks so Gabriella…I love old photos too perhaps because of the stories they tell.

  2. April 26, 2015    

    lovely, personal piece… I read more into it than aging… the spiritual side of life which sometimes the wind leaves the sails or women who once had engaged in church involvement and now so many are too busy… there is a lot between your lines … nice job

    • April 29, 2015    

      Absolutely…when I was writing this piece, so much came to mind and ended far from where I started….so glad you enjoyed it.

  3. April 26, 2015    

    It is good to remember, I think, that in every older person we encounter there is also the person who had those ‘bolder brash days’ and those encounters and adventures in ‘harsh water’ and sometimes I think it is those days that they might like to talk about – as those were the ‘good old days’ in so many ways. Very nice photos.

  4. April 26, 2015    

    Inspired and still inspiring.
    Strong of will even as each
    wave takes a bit more with it.

    Mothers are such an inspiration. They give and they never take. In the process they lose out a little but they always have something for everyone!

    Wonderful take Donna. A great haibun it is!


    • April 29, 2015    

      I am so pleased Hank….my Mom is definitely my inspiration

  5. April 26, 2015    

    This is so beautiful… the entire effect of the pictures along with the haibun.. is completely mesmerizing 😀
    Loved it!

    • April 29, 2015    

      What a wonderful compliment Sanaa…thanks so much!

  6. April 26, 2015    

    that is an encouraging verse… focusing on the real adventurous journey once the one here on earth is over

    • April 29, 2015    

      Now I like your take Claudia…an encouraging verse.

  7. April 26, 2015    

    I love this.. We are all aging, but the memories are strong. I like the image of a moored boat. I can see its withered bones fading,

    • April 29, 2015    

      That image came to me with the first line…and then the rest just flowed….so glad you really loved it Bjorn.

  8. April 26, 2015    

    These words sing to my soul and make me soar with delight. I just turned 38, and started getting my first silver hairs… I look at them and smile because my dark brown hair and I have collected to many tales. We shall tell them in silver… and tell them better because of it.

    Thank you for this! ♥

    • April 29, 2015    

      Many hugs to you Magaly….cherish each silver hair.

  9. April 26, 2015    

    “Do not look with pity upon these bleached bones.

    They sing of joyful times-a life well lived and loved.

    There is a spirit still residing here,

    Inspired and still inspiring.

    Strong of will even as each wave takes a bit more with it.”

    i love this poem, and the above verse resonates with me (another woman in my sixties) as my spirit still feels eighteen. {smile}

    wonderful photographs of your mother ~ before i read that she is the woman in the center of the first photograph, i looked at her and thought THERE’S a woman who is special and full of life!
    Do not look with pity upon these bleached bones.

    They sing of joyful times-a life well lived and loved.

    There is a spirit still residing here,

    Inspired and still inspiring.

    Strong of will even as each wave takes a bit more with it.

    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh my heart is singing with your words of praise and love for the poem…thank you!

  10. April 26, 2015    

    Love your closing lines. My mother passed away five years ago, but remains a strong inspiration for all of us who knew and loved her.


    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh Elizabeth I am so pleased this poem meant so much to you!

  11. April 26, 2015    

    there’s so much life and memories written on us as we age..

    • April 29, 2015    

      I agree Nataša…a wonderful perspective!

  12. April 26, 2015    

    I can feel the reflection in your words as they dance on the page of days past. Even in the aging process you can still experience adventures while you might not journey out on a rough sea, you can still feel the waters near the shore. They still call, but in a different wave.

    • April 29, 2015    

      Truedessa you are perceptive….I think I was reflecting on my aging as I have been seeing my mom failing and trying to cope with aging herself.

  13. Kerry O'Connor Kerry O'Connor
    April 26, 2015    

    Old black and white photos seem to tell their story far more eloquently than the over-manipulated glut of photos that are around these days. This is a charming poem, tender and sincere.

    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh thanks Kerry…I struggled with what photos to use…glad I chose widely.

  14. April 26, 2015    

    I enjoyed this so much Donna. It really tickled me to see the Italian girls on your side of the family and how different your Dad’s side was. Nothing like beautiful Italian girls! Wonderful poem, heartfelt and creative, a meme we recognize. Take good care!

    • April 29, 2015    

      It is amazing how different the Italian girls are and were….amazingly hot tempered too. Glad you really enjoyed it Susan.

  15. panchali panchali
    April 26, 2015    

    ‘A holy vessel now unconfined,
    Free to travel the oceans, the heavens and reach the stars.’…..Life’s valuable lesson of dealing with aging–the conviction and logic has come out well. Good one!!

  16. April 26, 2015    

    do not look upon these bleached bones is very primal

    Things Could Be More Reliable

    • April 29, 2015    

      It felt strong and primal as I wrote those lines so glad it came across to you too.

  17. April 26, 2015    

    yes inspired and still inspiring…they seem to be made of love, always giving and live in every land…they are truly God’s best gift to us who are lucky enough to have them in this life…everything is so soothing about this post today Donna..beautiful….

    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh I am so happy that you found the poem beautiful…and I feel lucky to have such a special mom.

  18. April 26, 2015    

    I love coming here as I think so much about the aging process…for myself and my mom…this is absolutely beautiful and so right on…That last sentence…AMAZING. I also enjoyed reading the other comments and always enjoy learning something…so I had to look up Haibun…was only knowledgable of haiku. Thank you!!

    • April 29, 2015    

      I just learned about haibun too ….so glad you are enjoying your visits….and wow I love that you feel the poem is amazing! Big hugs…..

  19. April 26, 2015    

    For me there is a real yearnignsense of life here, Donna – which os fully and bravely realised… It touched me… Thank you With Best Wishes Scott

    • April 29, 2015    

      Wonderful Scott…it pleases me that the poem touched you!

  20. April 26, 2015    

    We are all vessels too. Sooner we will all be memories too but some will still remember how we lived our lives. Great metaphor about life Donna 🙂

    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh totomai so very true what you say here…the metaphor was inspired by my mother so I feel it is so very special!

  21. ZQ ZQ
    April 26, 2015    

    Simply beautiful.

  22. April 26, 2015    

    I’m stilled by the beauty of this, Donna…..just don’t have words.
    Powerful. Moving. Tender and loving and warm and raw.
    How you honor her with these words.
    Thank you for sharing,

    • April 29, 2015    

      Jennifer your comments always touch my heart and bring me tears of joy…thank you my friend!

  23. April 26, 2015    

    Eloquent – with very intense images – and yet, life affirming. Well crafted. A pleasure to read.

    • April 29, 2015    

      Thanks Wendy….I am glad you felt it life affirming…

  24. April 26, 2015    

    What a moving poem!

  25. April 26, 2015    

    The sadness of this poem is in the awareness of both the narrator and the subject to aging. The first is sad because of the changes observed and of a life drawing to an end; then there is the feeling of the subject who knows they are the same person they always were that feels they are still themselves but they can no longer do things and be the person they once were. Great post.

    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh I love the synopsis Robin…so glad you enjoyed the post!

  26. April 27, 2015    

    What matters is whether we lived all those years. Very Well written! Such a beautiful lines :
    Do not look with pity upon these bleached bones.
    They sing of joyful times-a life well lived and loved.

    • April 29, 2015    

      I loved those lines too! So glad you enjoyed the poem.

  27. Such a hauntingly beautiful poem and post 🙂

    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh thank you Deb…how lovely of you to say so!

  28. April 27, 2015    

    Hello Donna, beautiful words and poem.Life can be like a vessel.. It is good to remember the joyful times.. Lovely photos of your mom and family..have a happy Monday and new week ahead!

    • April 29, 2015    

      It is wonderful to remember those joyful memories…

  29. April 27, 2015    

    What a glorious tribute not only to your mother but to the glory of aging. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words and images, Donna.

  30. Judith @ Lavender Cottage Judith @ Lavender Cottage
    April 27, 2015    

    A lovely poem and creative heart mosaic of old family photos.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Donna.

  31. April 27, 2015    

    What a great expression for the journey of life.

  32. April 27, 2015    

    I love that the spirit still resides, Donna. Beautiful writing. Love your tribute to your mother and to the journey of growing older 🙂

    • April 29, 2015    

      That spirit is so important for our journey…so glad you enjoyed the tribute Torie.

  33. April 27, 2015    

    WHat beautiful words, and I love the photos of your mom. xo Laura

    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh aren’t you so wonderful to say so Laura…thank you!

  34. April 27, 2015    

    ‘memories of youthful journeys’ – nice, they warming up the hearts; it’s hard to take changes for many, esp. aging….

    • April 29, 2015    

      Aging is one of the hardest changes we can experience.

  35. April 27, 2015    

    Wonderful photo and lovely poem.

  36. CC CC
    April 27, 2015    

    Beautifully developed metaphor throughout!!

  37. April 28, 2015    

    Beautiful poem, Donna. I always like the quote that goes along the line that “growing old is a gift denied many, and not to be taken for granted” So true!

    • April 29, 2015    

      Pat that is a perfect quote and oh so true…I am so grateful for my life.

  38. April 28, 2015    

    Great minds think alike!! OMG I am amazed to find us again on a twin track…..ageing beautifully……could we possibly accept anything less? It some how feels like we might be the first generation to have the luxury of our personal reflections and creativity. Aren’t we so lucky? I’m enjoying so much all the changes you are grappling with btw and how wonderfully!

    • April 29, 2015    

      I couldn’t believe how alike our paths are right now Catherine…similar thoughts…and yes we are lucky to be able to reflect about our lives, our aging. I was thinking that women of my mom’s generation and older never had a voice. We are their voices.

  39. April 28, 2015    


    I loved understanding the ageing of a life, through your poem. Your mother is beautiful in all stages and ages of ther life, in those magnificent photographs..Influential and setting sail along her pathway. Leaving memories for others to enjoy and even follow..This reminded me of how much I miss my own mother so much, even after twenty years..


    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh Eileen such sweet words about my mom and yours…thanks for these lovely thoughts.

  40. April 28, 2015    

    Better to be a worn vessel than an empty vessel – life leaves it’s marks…all of which i hope eventually leave us with something good

    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh I agree Jae Rose…wear your scars, wrinkles and life right out there for all to see.

  41. April 28, 2015    


    I think this may be my favourite poem of yours so far, in the short time that I’ve ‘known’ you, perhaps because for the last couple of years, I, myself, have become more aware of our time on this earth, entering middle age, and watching my own parents step into their new stage, too.

    ”I see its bolder brash days.

    Sails full, catching the wind,

    Riding the rough waters.

    Strong masts unbreakable-

    Now bent, broken, gone.”

    The stanza above is what I see on my mother’s face, still, and I can still hear the vitality in her voice, but her movements are slower. Simultaneously, I get glimpses of my own personality in her reactions, her thought process and her expressions. You have so eloquently and exactly described the human voyage; thank you, my friend!

    Beautiful photos of your mother, in all the different stages of her own wonderful life.


    • April 29, 2015    

      Oh Poppy I am overwhelmed by your glorious words…I think this is one of my favorites too! Thank you so very much.

  42. April 28, 2015    

    I love your prose, to me it speaks of the ‘Spirit’ 🙂

    I also enjoying seeing the photographs of your Mum through the years 🙂

    • April 29, 2015    

      Cherie how lovely of you to say so about my Mum….and the poem.

  43. April 29, 2015    

    Beautiful poetry, Donna. I sense sadness and longing and trying to cope with changes. My best to you and your mother as you face life’s challenges.

    • April 29, 2015    

      The beauty of the poem I think Beth is so much can be read here….with aging there is definitely coping with change s my mom is dealing with now. Glad you enjoyed it Beth.

  44. April 29, 2015    

    Very powerful and raw and honest…. I am going to be 60 next year and for some reason it seems to be some kind of important marker…. Senior citizen? I think of that now but I don’t have your gift for prose…

    • April 30, 2015    

      I agree it is a important milestone Michelle…you are one year ahead of me. I hope to mark that year in a special way, but not as a senior yet…maybe not until social security kicks in will I think of myself as senior…maybe ‘aging adult’…I’ll have to think of some ideas and that may be another blog post topic 🙂

Favorite Quote This Week:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” ~ Aristotle


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