BethAnne Kapansky – Green Lights

June 30, 2014 | By | 12 Replies More

It was the year I swallowed the ocean
into the whale of my belly,
then begged with drowned terror
to be spit back out.

It was the year you plucked
the strings of my heart teaching them
to play your tune,
then took your sheet music and left
while my symphony tried to play on.
Some days I’m still searching
for the missing notes.

It was the year I realized what
it meant to love men for whom
I would swim channels,
who wouldn’t jump in a pool for me.

I know now they have spent
their entire life pretending, petrified
someone will discover their secret.
They don’t know how to swim.

It was the year I learned how to
gather the ashes left from your back draft
and rekindle a spark within
my tear sodden wood.

It was the year I learned how to
resurrect myself from the crucifixion
of careless hearts who scratched their itch
of lonely against my splintered post.

It was the year I understood why
Gatsby stood on the dock staring,
believing in his green light.
Heart ceaselessly beating with hope
against the current of his past.

It was the year I watched
my green light go out.
I learned what love is,
I learned what love isn’t.

It was the year I learned
sexual generosity is no substitute for
emotional availability,
and no woman will ever find
peace with a man who does not know
the woman inside himself.

Who has forgotten
heart’s necessity of breaking
to make room for more love.
Who has forgotten
why Jesus wept.

It was the year I stepped more deeply
into the whole of me, carrying my full.
A resilient heart learning to find light
when green lights go out.

It was the year I learned
even on the most creased of days
still I lift my proud chest and happy heart,
kissed in assurance of being,
to the gift of sky as my melody sings
I am.
I am.
I am.

*Author’s note- The last 3 lines in this poem are inspired by a beautiful quote by Sylvia Plath which reminded me we can always find redemption, reinvention and restoration when we embrace the full knowledge of self. “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

BethAnne Kapansky has lived in Alaska the majority of her life and can often be found on top of the nearest mountain or running through the trails in her beloved woods. Her work has been published in Journey of the Heart: Women’s Spiritual Poetry Project, The Elephant Journal and When Women Waken. She is inspired by nature, love, the stories of women, and the beautiful journey of becoming more fully human. She can be found at

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Category: Knowing, Poetry, United States of America, When Women Waken Literary Journal

Comments (12)

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  1. A beautifully written piece with such a powerful message.

  2. Nosipho Gumede says:

    You’re such a great writer BethAnne. I am a fan, I really am!

    • BethAnne Kapansky says:

      Oh thank you so much Nosipho- I appreciate you taking the time to leave such encouraging words!

  3. Naomi Shaw says:

    Beauty in the brokenness. I love this piece.

    • BethAnne Kapansky says:

      Yes… beauty in the brokenness. One of the best places to find beauty I believe. 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Marina Sofia says:

    Sounds like a year of profound learning – a little joy, a lot of pain, and quite a bit of wisdom… Beautiful poem.

  5. Marie Mader says:


    In reading your creative writing, I walked the journey with you. It shows how we learn about life and love while we shore ourselves up with the disappointments. I love your writing. It is emotionally stirring!

    • BethAnne Kapansky says:

      Thank you so much Marie, I so appreciate your feedback. Thank you for reading and walking with me!

  6. A richly sustained poem by poet, Beth Anne Kapansky. She makes excellent use of imagery, particularly in the first four stanzas with her swimming and musical analogies.

    The poem successfully sustains drama as it moves toward its emotional core. Not a small feat!

    The poet’s use of J. Gatsby on the dock is very stirring, as well.

    Good writing!

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