Julie Jo (A Requiem)

Julie Jo (A Requiem)

A Poem by Linda Marie Van Tassell

People raised on love see things differently than those raised on survival. ~ Joy Marino


Julie Jo was strong by nature,

but the cancer whittled her bones.

A gentle and fragile creature,

she was rubbed thin by grim grindstones.

Her mind was cloaked in fogs of gray

with intermittent bursts of light.

In those moments, I felt the fray

sitting beside her through the night.


She told me of her troubled past,

the weight of the burdens she bore,

how all the years went by so fast

like rushing whitecaps to the shore.

Her children never came around,

and this filled her soul with regret.

Nine pairs of feet that walk the ground,

but none of them visited yet.


She was so young, a child herself,

unprepared to be a mother.

She quickly became someone else

swapping one drink for another.

She shattered dreams against the wall,

cursed the mouths that needed feeding,

could not let them get close at all,

could not stop her own heart’s bleeding.


She worked until she could not stand,

fell off the cliff into the sea;

but no one took her by the hand

magnifying her misery.

All she knew was struggle and strife.

She was always about to break.

She even tried to take her life

and was ashamed of that mistake.


Her breath could not blow out a flame.

Morphine bedded her into dream.

Against the odds and all the same,

I called each child perchance to deem.

I left messages for them all.

I prayed they’d come for Julie Jo,

but nary one returned the call.

I held her hand as she let go.

© 2023 Linda Marie Van Tassell

Author's Note

Linda Marie Van Tassell

My Review

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I am left wondering how they would justify their absence to themselves, the way humans have a nasty habit of doing, in a way to justify their own excuses.
We all have pain etched in memories, yet too many are too quick to judge, which you have not done by leaving blame to others thoughts.
Beautifully written, about someone who was real, no matter what other people told themselves.

Posted 1 Year Ago

As usual, impeccable meter and rhyme. This one seems to be about a real person whom the poet knew, one who knew a life of hardship and struggle. Apparently she herself was partly responsible for her problems, tried to solve them through the jug, a path that does not work. She must have had something going for her, though, because the poet did all she could to help. Sadly, it was not enough. Too many end up this way.


Posted 1 Year Ago

This is wonderfully written! I know this feeling. But I did not allow my mother to know it. I was her primary caregiver the last five years of her life. I am the youngest of her ten children. Two were lost right after birth. But I was left to fend for myself and mom. My job ran 24 hours a day seven days a week...sometime weeks without a call from any one of my siblings. They had "lives". After mother passed, I had to find my life again because it had become her. I have no regrets in my duty fulfilled. But I will never look at anyone the same who claims to love me. Talk is cheap and blood is often weaker than friendship and thinner than water.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

1 Year Ago

I completely understand. Thank goodness she had you for a son and that you stepped up when she need.. read more
How tenderly you've written this poem.. words that whisper a tragedy. Your poor, dear friend. But what a tribute.. and best of all may I say, not one judgement. Far more importantly: supreme friendship, affection, love. You're there in her eternal shadow now, dear you.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

1 Year Ago

Thank you, Emma. I would hope that we'd all face our flaws in the end and feel remorse for any wron.. read more

1 Year Ago

Have lost too many Linda, Surely we use our own hurt however, whenever, to try to help and understa.. read more
Linda Marie Van Tassell

1 Year Ago

Thank you. :)
What a heartbreaking write this is, Linda. You are an angel to have been there for Julie Jo. Her children will regret the fact they never came to see her. She told you her story and with your words, she comes alive for us. May her memory always be a blessing to you as you were a blessing to her! Lydi**

Posted 1 Year Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

1 Year Ago

Thank you, Lydia. I don't think anyone should die alone.
yes, at least she had you...such a sad story in this poem...and your lines are done so delicately...
subtle rhyme and such loneliness expressed.
Alone is such a sad state of mind and body.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

1 Year Ago

Thank you, Jacob. This, for me, reminds me of when I found my father's unmarked grave. It made me .. read more
At least you were there. Such a sad and lonely story that brings a tear to the eye of the reader. The only small slice of happiness was your presence at her side to hold her hand until the end. You have expressed the sorrow of this situation deeply with your wonderful poem today.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Linda Marie Van Tassell

1 Year Ago

Thank you, Will. This one is really personal to me for a multitude of reasons. I hope others can f.. read more

1 Year Ago

You are welcome my friend. I am sure many will find this relatable to situations they have faced. Fo.. read more

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7 Reviews
Added on March 8, 2023
Last Updated on March 8, 2023
Tags: Julie Jo, Requiem, Linda Marie Van Tassell, Abuse, Alcohol, Regret, Cancer, Death, Alone, Forgiveness


Linda Marie Van Tassell
Linda Marie Van Tassell


Poetry has been my passion since I was about fifteen years old, and I love the structure of rhyme and meter moreso than just randomly throwing words upon a page without any form whatsoever. Whi.. more..


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